Some of you may have gazed up at the facade above 826 Valencia and thought, "Huh, what I would give for a few hours with a scaffolding." The mural gracing the "Chippendale" topped storefront is awash in myriad little drawings concerning the not-insignificant theme of the "development of humans and their efforts at and motivations for communication," according to the pirate store. The piece was designed by Chris Ware, who's pretty much the gold standard for obsessive young graphic novelists. Known for books like Jimmy Corrigan and the Acme Novelty Library series, Ware produces spare, lonely, exquisitely depressing strips about geometrically astute and often rotund everymen, who drift through the world with all the impact of a falling leaf. He moves from traditional panel work to busting down all barriers -- 2005's The Acme Novelty Library Final Report to Shareholders and Rainy Day Saturday Afternoon Fun Book, for example, features a strip printed not on the spine but on the edge of the hard cover. It also has glow in the dark ink and a character who duplicates, on his prison cell wall, tiny versions of every panel in the book up to the halfway point. Today, as part of the "Serial Boxes" graphic novel series, Ware sits to chat with a master whose shadow looms even larger, Art Spiegelman of Maus fame; both appear in conversation with Hillary Chute, Associate Editor of MetaMaus. Future "Serial Boxes" appearances include Ben Katchor (Julius Knipl, Real Estate Photographer) and Peter Kuper (Spy Vs. Spy and The Metamorphosis), among others.
Tue., April 29, 8 p.m., 2008