Chris Ware dazzles and astounds with his meticulous, hyper-elaborate comics and first-rate stories. Born in Omaha, Nebraska, Ware resides in the Chicago area of Illinois. His earliest published strips appeared in the late 1980s on the comics page of The Daily Texan, the student newspaper of the University of Texas at Austin. In addition to numerous daily strips under different titles, Ware also had a weekly satirical science fiction serial in the paper titled Floyd Farland: Citizen of the Future. This was eventually published in 1988 as a prestige format comic book from Eclipse Comics, and its publication even led to a brief correspondence between Ware and Timothy Leary.
While still a sophomore at UT, Ware came to the attention of Art Spiegelman, who invited Ware to contribute to Raw, the influential anthology magazine Spiegelman was co-editing with Françoise Mouly. Ware has acknowledged that being included in Raw gave him confidence and inspired him to explore printing techniques and self-publishing.
His Fantagraphics series Acme Novelty Library defied comics publishing conventions with every issue. The series featured a combination of new material as well as reprints of work Ware had done for the Texan (such as Quimby the Mouse) and the Chicago weekly paper Newcity. Ware's work appeared originally in Newcity before he moved on to his current "home", the Chicago Reader. Beginning with the 16th issue of Acme Novelty Library, Ware began self-publishing his work, while maintaining a relationship with Fantagraphics for distribution and storage. This was a return to Ware's early career, self-publishing such books as Lonely Comics and Stories as well as miniature digests of stories based on Quimby the Mouse and an unnamed potato-like creature.
In recent years he has also been involved in editing (and designing) several books and book series, including the new reprint series of Gasoline Alley from Drawn & Quarterly titled Walt and Skeezix; a reprint series of Krazy Kat by Fantagraphics; and the 13th volume of Timothy McSweeney's Quarterly Concern, which is devoted to comics. He was the editor of The Best American Comics 2007, the second installment devoted to comics in the Best American series.
Chris has illustrated several covers for The New Yorker magazine.
In 2007, Ware curated an exhibition for the Phoenix Art Museum focused on the non-comic work of five contemporary cartoonists. The exhibition, titled "UnInked: Paintings, Sculpture and Graphic Works by Five Cartoonists", ran from April 21 through August 19. Ware also edited and designed the catalog for the exhibition.
In 2017, Ware's book "Monograph" appeared. It is a part-memoir, part-scrapbook retrospective of his career to that point.
Experimenting with the form of the novel itself, Ware’s "Building Stories", which took a decade to complete, is a box set of fourteen printed works in a variety of formats - cloth-bound books, newspapers, pamphlets, and flip books - that can be read in any order. The artist’s hand-drawn, complex compositions unfold time through space in surprising arrangements which include pages entirely absent of words, radical shifts in scale, and characters, locations, and events seen from multiple points of view.
Acme #1 recounts the tragi-comic life story of "Jimmy Corrigan, the Smartest Kid on Earth" in full color. Acme #2 and #4 are tabloid size collections of Ware's kinetic "Quimby the Mouse" strips, and Acme #3 is a 40-page collection of his "potato-man" college-day strips (as seen in Raw), printed in an adorably tiny format. Beginning with issue #5, Acme Novelty Library brings you an eight-part graphic novel starring Jimmy Corrigan in full-color. The plot is simplicity itself - Jimmy journeys out to the sticks to visit his estranged father - but Ware provides a whirlwind of flashbacks (some as far back as the Civil War), fantasies, and graphic inventions that make this the most visually and narratively dazzling comic of the year. The story continues in subsequent issues, except for issue #7, a special enormous 8"x14" full-color issue - the most spectacular so far - featuring "Rocket Sam" and "Big Tex", and #10, which is an unrelated tale of Jimmy Corrigan's miserable life.