New York

Chris Ware

Adam Baumgold Gallery

“Ruin Your Life. Draw Cartoons! And Doom Yourself To Decades of Grinding Isolation, Solipsism, and Utter Social Disregard.” This uninviting come-on heads a recent issue of Chris Ware’s comic book series “The Acme Novelty Library,” 1993–. Such self-deprecation is a mainstay of Ware’s oeuvre, and reminds us that cartoonists have until recently occupied a position previously associated with avant-garde artists of other genres: He (the cartoonist is, like painters in the age of Picasso and Matisse, rarely a “she”) has traditionally been a marginalized, misunderstood provocateur.

But while it’s true that cartoonists—or the artist-authors of graphic novels—still occupy an odd terrain somewhere between art, literature, and the mass media, they are obviously no longer dismissed. Ware enjoyed wide attention following the publication of his book Jimmy Corrigan: The Smartest Kid on Earth in 2000 and

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