Readersforum's Blog

January 22, 2013

Ware’s ‘Building Stories’ Tops PW Comics World’s 2012 Graphic Novel Critics’ Poll

BuildingFile under the totally expected: Chris Ware’s amazing Building Stories has topped the seventh annual 2012 Critics Poll for best graphic novels of 2012. A visionary boxed collection of 14 separate books, pamphlets and fold-outs, Building Stories collected Ware’s last decade of comics to tell the stories of the occupants of a single apartment building. The central character—never named—is a disabled young woman who dreams of finding love. Ware’s precisely diagrammatic yet eloquent drawings follow her mundane activities and her inner torment. Meanwhile, an enervated married couple on another floor shows that even finding love doesn’t solve any problems, and the building’s owner, an older woman, reminisces over her life. Throwing it all into relief are the absurdly bright adventures of Branford, a bee.

While much of the material in Building Stories (Pantheon) had been printed before—the central narrative, if such a thing could be pinpointed, originally ran as a comics strip in the NY Times Sunday Magazine—when collected together the final product is a stunningly immersive experience with no beginning and end, as quotidian-focused as the lives of its characters.

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