When I went through the initial information-gathering that ended up producing the sadly neglected Acme Novelty Archive site, I contacted the student newspaper at the University of Texas to see if they had archives of back issues available for perusal. My plan was to scare up some of the student strips that Chris Ware had published in the paper while attending the University.
I love seeing the early work of cartoonists, as it adds the extra dimension of the craftsman’s learning curve to the narrative. A great example of what I’m poorly explaining can be found in the earliest volumes of Fantagraphics’ Complete Peanuts, and less-familiarly in “‘Lil Folks” and “It’s Only a Game” – collections of Charles Schulz’ pre-Peanuts and parrallel-to-Peanuts work, respectively.
Unfortunately, my communications with the staff at the Daily Texan never really went anywhere. One of the weird perks of writing about something on the internet, however, is that every so often, someone will read it and send you glimpses of exactly what you wanted to see in the first place. Such is the case with an anonymous gentleman who sent me the following scan of the original art for one of Mr. Ware’s Daily Texan strips.
“Here’s a scan of a strip Chris Ware did for the Daily Texan back in 1988. Sorry about the quality of the scan, but it was done through glass and in two parts. I’m not going to unmount it in order to scan it.”
“I’m pretty sure that “Bande” was the name of many of those Daily Texan strips, all of which featured the semi-circle head guy. Chris didn’t always put the word Bande as the title though. I have others with no title, and one that has the title “Komix”, but they all feature that same character.”