Building Stories

Where Have All the Good Times Gone?
By Chris Ware
Review by Alex Behr, Propeller, January 2013

“If all we are is bundles of energy—what is a ‘hug’ anyway and how can we ever really touch each other?” —Chris Ware


At first, Building Stories seems a clunky title for such a gorgeous, complex package of booklets, books, pamphlets, posters, and even a game board by comic artist Chris Ware. The title uses building as a gerund, an action to undertake—no wonder the box sat unopened in our hallway for a month, a gift from me to my artist husband. It looked like a project, an obligation, and my husband was in school full time. Even the typography on the box cover is mismatched and off-kilter, sometimes shown tilted on the sides of toy building blocks. It’s almost a deliberate strategy of making us work for meaning. I stared at the box on the couch. I moved it against the wall in our hallway. I carried it upstairs, closer to where I might read it. I imagined there were slots to put together or some trick of punching out tiny circles of cardboard and stringing pages together with shoelaces that weren’t quite long enough.