Five reasons to love award-winning author Chris Ware. And how ''Gaseoline Alley'' has to do with one of them

By Ken Tucker
August 15, 2003 at 04:00 AM EDT
Quimby the Mouse: © Chris Ware

Quimby the Mouse

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Five reasons to love award-winning author Chris Ware

1 His new book, ”Quimby the Mouse” (Fantagraphics, $24.95), collects some of his earliest work, done while at the University of Texas at Austin in the early ’90s, and proves the guy was a master of meticulous cartooning even before his 2000 award-winning graphic novel, ”Jimmy Corrigan: The Smartest Kid on Earth.”

2 Quimby is an anxious, scrawny rodent — Mickey Mouse on the Atkins diet — the upper half of his body prone to split in two to visually convey profound ambivalence. What’s not to love?

3 Ware’s book can be enjoyed by comic-strip novices but others will find a trove of sly allusions to silent-film comedies and older, beloved strips like Frank King’s ”Gasoline Alley.”

4 Quimby offers mind-blowingly detailed instructions on how to build ”your own working cat head” out of wood. As usual, the process — the care with which Ware lays out the plans — is as beautiful as the finished project.

5 The book’s introduction includes a tender reminiscence of the author’s grandmother. Ware is nearly as impeccable a prose writer as he is an artist.

Quimby the Mouse

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