Chris Ware – Comics, A Working Class Art Form

At the recent Edinburgh International Book Festival’s comics and graphic novel themed event Stripped, CHRIS WARE spoke about our fictional bubble lives, his superheroic beginnings, and his hopes and fears for the medium. LAURA SNEDDON reports

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Ware also expressed some worry that as comics are becoming more respectable, and taught in universities and so on, that they would have a “syrupy fog surrounding them”, obscuring them from the reach of the everyday reader. “They’re a working class art form,” he stated, and the “art of the people,” with a caveat that he hoped he didn’t sound too strident. It was perhaps a bolder statement than he realised, fired into the heart of a traditionally highbrow literary festival, though Scotland is no stranger to having its homegrown authors sprout up from working class roots.

The working class element of comics and their ability to transcend class barriers in imparting important information is something that I, from that very background, am particularly passionate about. While Ware talked about superhero comics being able to deal with real problems using fictional characters, he stressed that his stories are about real people, adding that “real life is plenty strange enough”.

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Photo: Chris Ware & Joe Sacco at the Edinburgh International Book Festival. (Credit)

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