Building Hive Stories: Ware Burns Bright and Burns' Bright Wares
What am I supposed to write about Chris Ware's Building Stories? That it's transcendent? That it's nonpareil? That it's, uh, any other adjective chosen for any number of awe-filled and valid reasons? Like, I'm supposed to add my pathetic critical squawk to the chorus already singing their hosannahs (and logging their meager negs) from every media outlet that's been blessed with a review copy?
Like, I'd better speak the fuck up because Douglas Wolk in The New York Times, for instance, is chopped liver?
But, on the other hand, Ware is a sort of hometown hero here in the ATX – if only because the Nebraska native attended UT in the late Eighties and first published much of his early work in The Daily Texan. So there's a bit of a local connection. Which may also partly be why his booksigning at BookPeople on Thursday will be crowded. And the other part of that "partly" is twofold: 1) The innovative and compelling quality of his work in general and of Building Stories' "14 distinctively discrete books, booklets, magazines, newspapers, and pamphlets" in particular. Who wouldn't want to get such a monumental graphic and literary artifact signed by its tall, prematurely balding creator? Who wouldn't sell their boots, if necessary, to buy such a thing?
And the second part of that bipartite other part,
the other thing that assures BookPeople a packed house on Thursday night,
is that 2) Charles Burns is also going to be there.
Charles "Black Hole" Burns.
Charles "El Borbah" Burns.
Charles "The Believer" Burns.
Charles "OK Soda" Burns.
Yes, that Burns will be presenting the second part – The Hive – of the trilogy he began with the gorgeous and freaky, comics-deconstructing X'd Out.
[Pantheon, you're trying to drown us in brilliance, is that what's going on here? And you're having these two juggernauts of talent and reputation appear at BookPeople on the same night so that nobody will even think of stopping by Austin Books & Comics where Brandon Graham will be presenting his Multiple Warheads, is that it? Dirty marketing tactics, right? Competitive capitalist bloodsport in which unsuspecting citizens are duped via – oh, insert whatever Alex Jones might say, if Jones isn't busy inserting it himself.]
Here's a clever little game for you, reader: Note that both the Texas Book Festival and Wizard World's Austin Comic Con will be galvanizing our burgeoning city this weekend; note that the TBF is thick with literature – or, anyway, some choice sections of it still are; note that Comic Con will be awash with sci-fi-loving, TV and comic-book geeks of all kinds. Now, try to figure out where the works of Ware and Burns (and, yes, Graham) might fall within the aesthetic spectrum one could chart through those two areas of creation.
Extra credit: Never mind that, actually, just get thee to a bookery and meet the minds behind the masterpieces.