Franklin Christenson Ware (b. December 28, 1967), (Chris Ware) is an American comic book artist and cartoonist, widely known for his Acme Novelty Library series and the graphic novel Jimmy Corrigan, the Smartest Kid on Earth. Born in Omaha, Nebraska, he resides in the Chicago area, Illinois. His works explore themes of social isolation, emotional torment and depression.
Ware’s 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 Publishing, and its publication even led to a brief correspondence between Ware and Timothy Leary. Now embarrassed by the book, which he considers amateurish and naive, Ware is reportedly purchasing and destroying all remaining copies.
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 the prestigious 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 the Acme Novelty Library, Ware is self-publishing his work, while maintaining a relationship with Fantagraphics for distribution and storage. This is an interesting return to Ware’s early career, when he self-published 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 and Quarterly; Walt and Skeezix, the on-going reprint 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.
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 addition, Acme Novelty Library won the 1996 and 2000 Eisner Awards for Best Continuing Series, as well as the 2000 Eisner for Best New Graphic Album. Jimmy Corrigan, the Smartest Kid on Earth won the 2001 Eisner for Best Reprint Graphic Album. In 2008, Ware won the Best Writer/Artist: Drama Eisner for Acme Novelty Library 18. Ware has won the Best Colorist Eisner four times, in 1996, 1998, 2001, and 2006. His publication design has been awarded the Eisner six times, in 1995–1997, 2001–2002, and 2006.
Ware has won the Harvey Award for Best Letterer four times, in 1996, 2000, 2002, and 2006. He has won the Best Colorist Harvey Award in 1996–1998, 2000, 2002, and 2004. He also won the Best Cover Artist Harvey Award in 2000. Ware won the Harvey Award for Excellence in Production/Presentation five consecutive years, from 1995–2000. In addition, Acme Novelty Library won the Best Continuing Series Harvey Award in 1995, and the Best Continuing or Limited Series in 1995–1996. Acme Novelty Library also won the Best Single Issue or Story Harvey Award in 1997 and 2000. The Jimmy Corrigan book won the 2001 Harvey Award for Best Graphic Album of Previously Published Work. In 2006, Ware was awarded the Harvey for Best Cartoonist.
In 2002, Ware became the first comics artist to be invited to exhibit at Whitney Museum of American Art biennial exhibition. With Will Eisner, Jack Kirby, Harvey Kurtzman, Robert Crumb and Gary Panter, Ware was among the artists honored in the exhibition “Masters of American Comics” at the Jewish Museum in New York City, New York, from September 16, 2006 to January 28, 2007. His work was the subject of solo exhibitions at the Museum of Contemporary Art, Chicago in 2006 and at the University of Nebraska‘s Sheldon Museum of Art, in 2007.
Ware’s graphic novel Jimmy Corrigan, the Smartest Kid on Earth won the 2001 Guardian First Book Award, the first time a graphic novel has won a major United Kingdom book award. It also won the prize for best album at the 2003 Angoulême International Comics Festival in France.
In 2006, Ware received a USA Hoi Fellow grant from United States Artists.
Source: From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia