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Chris Ware’s Paper Trail

Soon as I saw the cover of Chris Ware’s ACME Novelty Library #17, I thought it looked comfortably familiar. Though it’s not a ripoff, the design and format borrow a lot from this old “Science and Industry” volume published by Childcraft in the ’40s. I remember that book well — mostly for its fascinating cover illustration and the bumpy texture on this series’ famous orange binding. Though you can’t see it here, he also mimiced the spine design from the Childcraft book. Chris Ware’s a friggin’ genius.

2 Thoughts on “Chris Ware’s Paper Trail

  1. thats funny I thought the exact same thing. I have one of those volumes buried somewhere, glad you had a pic because it would have driven me crazy til I saw it again.

  2. I’ve got that Childcraft book, too…it’s huge (like a cutting board) and filled with many strange industrial photos…plus the inside covers have nice swirly wood-cut style illustrations. I’ve always meant to do something with my copy…but I think it’s in the garage.

    I appreciate Chris Ware’s technical work…his books are certainly well put together. However I’ve never been keen on actually buying any of his books.

    Yes, they’re clever…but I get no real emotional charge or any true human feeling from his work (which is what art’s all about) – to me his books are like architectural blueprints…too many lines and not enough heart.

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    Happy Holidays from California!

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