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reviews /  editor book review
editor content by: editor
mcsweeney's 13: the comics edited by chris ware
mcsweeney's 13: the comics issue
(hamish hamilton)
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see images by chris ware in mcsweeney's 13
gallery one - strips
gallery two - images
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A comic-book dream.

Look at literature as a whole and you’ll see comics in their own ghetto, with the occasional breakout work - Chris Ware’s Jimmy Corrigan – receiving a literary award, or an historical artefact - Art Spiegelman’s Maus - appearing on university reading lists. But, otherwise, they’re in a league of their own. The latest issue of McSweeney’s gives ammo to the ongoing battle to push comics into the mainstream and, whether this is like preaching to the unconverted or not, does it with great panache.

Ware’s volume is almost academic in its survey of comic history, with leading lights R Crumb, Art Spiegelman, Daniel Clowes, Joe Sacco, Jaime and Gilbert Hernandez appearing alongside essays from the likes of John Updike. Meanwhile, the design is a book fetishist’s dream, incorporating comic artwork into an intricate embossed dustjacket containing two further mini-comics. The content falters in places, but in general is of an enviably high standard. Destined to be a comic geeks’ staple, this beautiful edition of McSweeney’s will hopefully convert a few readers too.

Laura Bushell 25 June 04 rating of 5
McSweeney’s 13: The Comics Issue edited by Chris Ware is out now, published by Hamish Hamilton.
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