And what a landing it is! Chris Ware's highly anticipated and epic (and I mean EPIC) Building Stories is less of a simple book and more of an all-out artistic/graphic/literary experience. The mere process of opening it and going through its multiple, seemingly endless layers made me feel like my kid-self breathlessly unwrapping an anticipated birthday present. The "book" is actually a rather large (see above) box, not unlike a board game container. This box is an artwork in itself. Behold!
And then, once you venture inside this wonderful box, you are met with the following marvelous sight - layers upon layers of Ware, I tell you!:
Building Stories, writes Christopher Borelli of the Chicago Tribune is not "a book at all but 14 individual books full of ennui, stacked inside a box — 14 books that tell the interlocking stories of the residents of a Chicago apartment building... Ware told me there's no order to the books in the box, no correct way to read through them. 'I was hoping to get at how memory actually seems to work, which isn't always chronological. I also hoped to induce that brief vertigo in the reader when one gets so deeply lost in a recollection that present seems to all but disappear and the past almost seems more real.'"
I give you some sneak previews of these fourteen odes to ennui:
|This one is the wordless story of a woman who gets older, experiences her child getting older, and gets lonelier as her life trundles on|
|A copy of "The Daily Bee," the newspaper ("God Save the Queen") put out by the neighborhood hive|
|A "Golden Books"-style offering, related by the building itself - an omnipotent narrative that overlooks nothing, from tap drips to pregnancies|
|Life on the stoop|
|A foldout of apartment cutaways! It looks kind of like a board game, but you could also display it like a comic-chic screen in your living room/drawing room/boudoir/etc|
And this isn't even all! There is more! I kid you not! I just don't want to give it all away. Come by the store to see for yourselves!
Additionally, I must tell you that we at D+Q have just released a companion to this Ware work: the Multi-Story Building Model! There is one on display at the store right now, and already we employees have been caught playing doll-house with it multiple times.
|The view from above: Each piece of furniture must be cut out and folded into its proper shape. The toilet has both a lift-able seat and separately lift-able cover! Such detail!|
From the D+Q publishing site: "Presented as an absolutely unnecessary addendum to the already-unmanageable “Building Stories” graphic novel, this outrageously expensive signed limited edition print will find few interested parties or adherents to its demanding, labor-intensive brand of rainy day leisure — though it offers to the discriminating and unsocialized reader the promise of a complete 11" x 16" x 18" reference model of the multi-unit apartment building imagined therein, with the top floor represented by full furnishings, discarded clothing, one-sided conversations and even false memories. Sure to one day be a collector's item when flammable tinder is at a premium, be prepared to start your post-apocalyptic campfire now with this 13 sheet collection of dry technical drawings, paper thin walls and cramped psychological spaces."
Is that a challenge? Will you be the one to take it on?