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September 20, 2004

{     McSweeney's Quarterly Concern #13 "All Your Favorite Comics"     }    

Having revolutionized sequential art with his ACME Novelty Library, Chris Ware brings the "comic" illustration-format another step closer to literary legitimacy with this superbly edited volume in the ongoing McSweeney's Quarterly Series. Within it's 265 pages one encounters a bounty of obscure, wonderful and necessary serialized artwork, a veritable micro-library of the form. Indeed, it carries all the authority of a textbook- disclosing subject matter that ranges from the sublime to the sophomoric, providing the reader with a true cross-section of contemporary American comics. From Clowes to Crumb, Adrian Tomine to Charles Schulz, this collection indulges both Ware's love of the archaic and his keen eye for the cutting edge. Some of the work presented has been languishing out-of-print, while other pieces highlight exceptional work that has only recently been published. The McSweeney's hardback format lends itself particularly well to Ware's love of embellishment and antiquity, and this volume transcends his usual penchant for exceptional layout and design. Featuring a Ware-designed dust-jacket that unfolds into an enormous newspaper-style poster as well as two mini-comics tucked into the folds of said dust-jacket, you certainly get more than you bargained for with this edition of McSweeney's. It is as handsome as it is profound. Bibliophiles beware- you will covet every page. Featuring the art and essays of: Lynda Barry, Mark Beyer, Chester Brown, Jeffrey Brown, Ivan Brunetti, Charles Burns, Michael Chabon, Malachi B. Cohen, Daniel Clowes, David Collier, Robert Crumb, Kim Deitch, Julie Doucet, Debbie Drechsler, Bud Fisher, Ira Glass, Glen David Gold, Milt Gross, Philip Guston, David Heatley, Gilbert Hernandez, Jaime Hernandez, George Herriman, Ben Katchor, Kaz, Chip Kidd, John McLenan, Joe Matt, Richard McGuire, Mark Newgarden, Archer Prewitt, Gary Panter, Charles Schulz, Joe Sacco, Richard Sala, Tim Samuelson, Seth, art spiegelman, Adrian Tomine, Rodolphe Töpffer, John Updike, Jim Woodring, Ron Rege Jr., John Porcellino and plenty more. There is no point in delaying your purchase. At just $16.80, you can make little excuse for not owning this fine piece of illustrated literary history.

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Mad props go out to Marc Barraclough, (aka "Smiley McB") for the birthday hook-up on this piece. Even though I'd already seen Shane's copy, there's no greater joy than actually owning it. Now I'm faced with the dilemma of whether I should remove the dust-jacket and have it framed or leave the volume as-is. Either way, thanks lil' bro.

Posted by: Adam at September 22, 2004 11:15 PM

one of the best reads of my year

Posted by: upso at September 23, 2004 12:41 AM
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