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.