McSweeney’s Issue 13 (Chris Ware)

McSweeney’s Issue 13

Charles Burns’s gorgeous title page for McSweeney’s Issue 13 captures the bizarre mix of romance, abject horror, and mutually assured destruction present in the horror comics of the 1950’s.

I love all things McSweeney’s–Dave Eggers, The Believer, etc–but Issue 13 of McSweeney’s Quarterly Concern is particularly excellent, and is easily the most beautiful, most aesthetically pleasing book I own. Designer and editor Chris Ware (author of the sad and dense graphic novel Jimmy Corrigan, Smartest Kid on Earth) offers a concise but thorough history of cartooning. Ware places Robert Crumb, the Hernandez brothers, Art Spiegelman, Daniel Clowes, and other great artists into a tradition initiated by Rodolphe Töpffer and Krazy Kat, and perfected by Charles Schulz. This richly-colored book comes wrapped in an old fashioned broadsheet comics page, and includes work from some of the best artists and cartoonists from the past 100 years. Despite the wide range of cartoonists represented, Ware unifies the issue in a theme of despair and depression. Imagine this famous moment in cartooning–Lucy pulls the football away from Charlie Brown’s wishful kick at the last minute, tripping him and humiliating him and betraying him: that pretty much somes up Ware’s theme. But even though it’s sad, it’s funny and somehow beautiful–and real.

If you are a bibliophile, you must buy this book. You won’t be disappointed.


  1. vileboy · November 19, 2006

    Cracking review. I wasn’t even aware of this kind of comic. It seems like my kind of thing with the combination of horror, romance and the bizarre.


  2. ed biblioklept · November 19, 2006

    you can find this book used for about 15 bucks via amazon, vileboy…it’s like a nice one volume history of comics and cartooning; i’d consider it essential for any true fan of the medium.


  3. troglodyte mignon · November 19, 2006

    chris ware is great and should clone himself to get material out faster!


  4. Pingback: Book Shelves #18, 4.29.2012 | biblioklept
  5. Shyama Deo · November 19, 2006

    Thanks for the great article, this was exactly what I needed to read :


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