As regular readers are probably aware, I’ve been a huge fan of Chris Ware’s work for a long time. In recent years I was happy to vote for his books Lint and Building Stories as books of the year, (along with most of the rest of the CBR staff in 2010 and 2012) but that isn’t where my appreciation for him began. Those beautiful books are the culmination of a great body of work, using skills honed over years spent producing a slew of incredible, personal, exploratory comic books. It is in those early comic books that we can see the real roots of Ware’s talent at observing and expressing the breadth of human emotion.
Popular, successful comic book creators are often accused of being unsuccessful unless they make books for Marvel or DC, but these books are rarely the most lauded. Despite what some readers of the CBR Top 100 Comic Books of 2010 might think, mainstream acceptance of beautifully crafted comic books doesn’t translate to equivalent breakthroughs in the quality of superhero comic books.
Media input in early childhood can have a lasting effect on adult tastes. If I hadn’t grown up with so many art, design and comic books around me, would I love them as I do now? Would I be so involved in the arts and communication profession? All of the imagery and information that we absorb as infants can influence us for the rest of our lives. For this reason I’m increasingly grateful for all of the things I was exposed to in my childhood.