Category: Chris Ware

ACME Novelty Archive

     A few years ago I saw a ‘Peanuts’ tribute strip by Chris Ware somewhere. This past January, when I wanted to find it again, I couldn’t remember where it originally appeared. I figured there would be some easy way to check a database of comic book works online and come up with the source, but it turns out I had overestimated the present state of such databases on the internet. I found good starting points in the CBDB Comic Book Database, the Lambiek Comiclopedia, and the Grand Comic Book Database; but none of them listed the work I was looking for. I decided to start compiling a bibliography of Chris Ware works as I hunted, and as I seemed to stumble upon new works every day, I ended up spending three months building up a mammoth listing. Finally, in early May, I found what I was looking for – ‘Top Shelf Asks the Big Questions‘ contains the Peanuts strip and an essay by Ware.

     Many fans of the work of Chris Ware are
already aware of the href=””>Acme Novelty Warehouse – an earlier
site that set out to keep track of where Mr. Ware’s works appeared.

     The Warehouse hasn’t been updated in ages, so I plan on keeping an
unofficial, updated record here. I’ve imposed a loose order on my findings thus far, but i’m open to suggestions in that department. In addition to the sources listed above, I’ve borrowed liberally from the original Warehouse site which was put
together by Lars Magne Ingebrigtsen, with help from Gus Mastrapa,
Anthony Perna, Todd Morman; Michael Rhode’s href=””>Comics Research
Bibliography; the Fantagraphics Website; and various listings that appeared in the newsgroups years ago.

     I don’t claim to own even 20% of the material listed here, so I have no doubt that the listings are rife with errors. I’ll be keeping the comments on this post open indefinately so that anyone who has further details, an addition, a correction, a clarification, a link, or an image can simply post a comment below. If you have images to send, you can email me here. I’ve bought a domain to make it easier for people to navigate to this bibliography: (should redirect here in the next few days), and I’ll probably come up with some dopey little icon to denote that the information has been confirmed with an actual copy of the item in question.

     A technical side-note: I know I went about coding this in a backwards sort of way, from a usability standpoint, at least. If anyone out there is knowledgable in some sort of database protocol that would make this easier to maintain, and wants to help out, by all means, let me know.

All images (unless otherwise noted) are copyright 1987-2004 Chris Ware.

Thanks: Chris Hope, Chris Merritt, Ken Parille, Alvin Buenaventura.

Nerds: Heads up.

     There’s a two-page Chris Ware strip in the issue of the New Yorker that’s on stands right now. Ware also did a cover for the New Yorker in 2000. I looked up the credit to see if that might have been another George Wilson credit, but it wasn’t.

Feb 16th / 23rd issue.

Chris Ware Trivia Update, Pt. 2

     One of the benefits of having a girlfriend who is a librarian is that you can say: “Hey, would you see if you can find out about this ridiculously obscure thing for me?” Sometimes, I don’t even have to ask. After reading my previous post about the Chris Ware / George Wilson dual identity, she managed to unearth another ‘George Wilson’ work. This effort appears in the February 2002 issue of Esquire Magazine.
The artwork appears in a section called ‘Lost Arts,’ and Ware contributed a faux book cover (‘The Lost Arts – A guide to the things our grandfathers did so effortlessly, but about which we know slightly less than squat’) and three strips: ‘The Lost Art of Carrying a Handkerchief,’ ‘The Lost Art of Standing Up When a Lady Approaches’ and ‘The Lost Art of Sword Fighting.”

The Lost Arts - Cover.
The Lost Art of Swordfighting.
The Lost Art of Standing When a Lady Approaches.
The Lost Art of Carrying a Handkerchief.

     Another interesting thing she found was that another George Wilson did the cover interior illustrations for a handful of Hardy Boys novels. Initially I hypothosized that this was where the pseudonym came from, but on further investigation I’m less sure. Worth mentioning, though.

     Supposedly there are two more Chris Ware works floating around credited to George Wilson, so if you happen to stumble upon one, let me know! In the meantime, we have this to look forward to:


Edited by Chris Ware
$24 US, hardcover
Coming in April

     Issue 13 is a Very Special Issue. We might say that a lot, and we mean it
every time, but this time we really really mean it. This issue is all
comics. It is edited by Chris Ware (author of Jimmy Corrigan: Smartest Kid
on Earth), and features so many artists to know and love: R. Crumb, Art
Spiegelman, Daniel Clowes, Lynda Barry, Los Bros Hernandez, Adrian Tomine,
Julie Doucet, and on and on. The issue also includes essays from Michael
Chabon, Ira Glass, John Updike, Chip Kidd, and others. Hardcover,
clothbound, with an enormous dust jacket that does much more than guard
against dust. This one makes our throats go tight.


Chris Ware Trivia Update

     In case any of you were wondering about the Chris Ware mystery I described in my last post (March 2003), I’m happy to report that I have an answer. But first, since it’s been almost a year, I’ll include a refresher on the mystery in question.

“A few weekends ago, I went to our local library’s book sale. There, amongst the gently used hardcovers, I spotted the spine of a book bearing some hand-lettering that looked very similar to the hand-lettering that cartoonist extraordinaire Chris Ware did on the spine of The Comics Journal #200 (I swear to god I am not making that part up – that’s actually how I found it). A comparison:

     I picked it up, and the cover had all sorts of little Ware-ian illustrations and trademark techniques. So I open the back cover and the jacket design is credited to George Wilson! A Mystery! Photos of the jacket artwork are here, here and here. The book is a first edition hardcover copy of ‘Anything Considered’ by Peter Mayle, and my best googling has turned up no reference to this particular mystery on the Internet. I did turn up a George Wilson who appears to be employed in the publishing industry, but anyone who is even mildly familiar with Ware can just TELL it’s his work. If you know Chris Ware, you should tell him that the jig is up: his cover’s blown and I therefore deserve the original artwork for the cover. “

And now… the resolution:

Dear Mr. Kempa,

     Yes, “George Wilson” is a pseudonym I use for crass hackery which I feel was altered enough from my orginal “idea” (if there was one) that I don’t want my name on it; I’ve used it four times now in a variety of circumstances only to indicate that whatever it impugns should in no way ever be considered “art” or be confused with what I normally do, even though it’s all probably virtually indistinguishable to the layman.

     Thanks for asking, however, and while it’s no secret really, I’m sort of amazed at the number of queries I receive about the name; guess I’ll never be able to smuggle arms or anything as I don’t really seem to be the “undercover” type.

Best wishes, thanks again, and regards,

C. Ware.

     This obviously means I have three more ‘George Wilson’ works to track down. And I have no idea what they might be. If you have any info, let me know.