Endowed in perpetuity by the Glenna Luschei Fund for Excellence

Contributor Spotlight on Chris Ware

by Dan Froid

Prairie Schooner is, of course, well-known for the many writers of poetry and fiction whose work appears in our pages. But we don’t so frequently acknowledge those whose work is, in fact, the most visible to us. I’m talking about our covers: this week, we’re going to draw your attention to a beloved artist who also happens to have a Prairie Schooner cover to his name.

The cover of our Winter 2007 issue was created by comic-book artist and cartoonist Chris Ware. He’s perhaps best known for his Eisner Award-winning Building Stories, a sort of graphic novel. Actually, it’s a box set containing newspapers, small books, and flip books, among other things, all of which tell, in a nonlinear fashion, the story of an unnamed woman who is missing one of her legs. Ware is also the author of the graphic novel Jimmy Corrigan, the Smartest Kid on Earth and Acme Novelty Library, a comic-book series. Currently, his graphic novella The Last Saturday appears in weekly episodes on The Guardian. Check it out here.

An Omaha native, Ware drew on his own upbringing in the state to create cover of the Winter 2007 issue. It presents images of both bare, rural land and city life: as Richard Graham notes in a post on our blog, “the juxtaposition of urban and rural features contain a sense of muted isolation and stillness.” The cover also suggests a sense of restlessness, with the images of vehicles, a road map, and such familiar side-of the-road landmarks as a diner sign and a lone cabin.

Winter 2007 Cover

For more with Ware, read this Art of Comics interview with The Paris Review, which provides not only an absorbing interview with the artist but an equally fascinating description of his home—“a mini-museum, or perhaps a curiosity shop.” Speaking of which, Trip City presents a slideshow of Ware’s home and his grand collection of books, toys, and miscellanea.

Visit our website for more information about Prairie Schooner. And to learn more about the connections among comics, Prairie Schooner, UNL, and more, check out the many other posts by Richard Graham, our comics guest blogger.