The newspaper comic strip isn’t exactly dead, but it’s safe to say that it’s reeling. The decline of newsprint comics dates back well before the ill health of the newspaper itself–the days when artfully-illustrated work like Calvin & Hobbes got prime real estate printed at sizes large enough to actually take in the skill of the creators passed shortly after Calvin retired to spend more time peeing on things–but it remains an ongoing concern.
Chris Ware, the artist behind the multiple Harvey- and Eisner-award winning Acme Novelty Library andJimmy Corrigan: The Smartest Kid On Earth, has teamed with The Guardian paper to demonstrate what a world-class artist can do with a whole lot of newsprint over the fall. His new graphic novella, The Last Saturday, is being published serially in the paper’s pages over the fall, and the first installment was released over the weekend.
While the project is intended to highlight how great a strip can look in full color on big paper as a tactile experience, those of us without easy access to Saturday’s copy of the British paper can enjoy it without having to hop a plane and rifle through rubbish bins: the web version of the strip on the Guardian‘s website has an interface that brings some of that experience to your screen, automatically zooming in to fill the entire browser window anywhere your cursor hovers.
The first page is something of an introduction to the concept, filled with cheeky gags about newspaper strips themselves, and introducing the characters who will populate Ware’s novella. It also uses the large format to create a poster-sized image that suggests some dreamlike elements to The Last Saturday–though we’ll have to stay tuned to future installments to learn exactly what’s happening here.