Chatter: Chris Ware at BCGF I

Chris Ware:
Books are innately interactive. To read words on a page and make up images in your head and that thing is different than what someone else imagines. It's the strangest intellectual experience of all time. 
It was interesting to hear Ware speak to this, in part because he's abandoned the traditional bounds and binding of books with Building Stories,* but also because my own thinking on this is slightly different.  Comics, it seems to me, are more interactive than traditional prose storytelling, since comics require that readers connect panel to panel, that they literally draw the missing story themselves, or at least close the space between the two. Similarly, its the artist's job to draw the reader from panel to panel in a way that makes closure possible; a failure on the part of either party means that the art itself fails.

Perhaps, then, it is better to say that comics are collaborative rather than interactive. I suppose the same argument could be made about books, but, formally, an author can give you much more in a paragraph than a comics artist is able to by drawing panels that need to be put together when a reader comes along. Surely, the experience of completing somebody else's work for them is stranger than reading a traditional piece of prose?

* Incidentally, I've decided not to attempt Building Stories until I've actually completed Jimmy Corrigan. In trying to give oneself a comics education, its important to take one step before you take the next one.  

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