guttergeek formerly discontinuous review of graphic narrative; now just discontinuous

Jeff Zwirek, Burning Building Comix (Imperial Press, 2013). $19.99, hardcover.


So there are big splashy Kickstarter projects like Sullivan's Sluggers, complete with over-sized deluxe printing and a side order of drama and hurt feelings (see previous review). And then there are the smaller projects that might fly under the radar of the comics press, like Zwirek's Burning Building Comics, which offers a reading experience that is entirely unique and a love letter to the unique flexibility of comics as a narrative form—with seemingly little if any drama. Zwirek's goal was to turn his Burning Building Comics—originally published as black-and-white minis and then as digital comics at the Top Shelf website—into a unified whole within a single elaborate structure. Somehow he was able to find a press that could bring his vision to life at a remarkably reasonable price, and now for the first time you can read what happens to each story (get it, "story"?) of an apartment building when an inept suicide on the first floor ends up succeeding only in burning down the entire building. The whole thing feels and reads like the lovechild of Zwirek's fellow-Chicagoans Chris Ware and Ivan Brunetti—which is to say, it feels and reads awesome.