Art Spiegelman’s career has arced from underground to groundbreaking.
His 1992 Holocaust tale Maus won the first Pulitzer Prize awarded to a comic-book novel. While Spiegelman’s Jewish mice and Nazi cats sprang from the 1960s San Francisco cult of underground “comix,” Maus elevated irreverent cartooning to the level of serious literature. The artist states, “It was a vision I had. I wanted a comic book that needed a bookmark.” Spiegelman nearly single-handedly brought an alternative art form into the mainstream by publishing now-legendary underground artists such as Robert Crumb in his vanguard comics journal RAW. The success of Maus paved the way for the graphic novels thriving today and led to Spiegelman’s ten years on the staff of the New Yorker. The post-September 11 cover remains his most memorable: a black-on-black image of the Twin Towers as ghostly silhouettes. In the Shadow of No Towers (2004) gathers his recent broadsheets of disenchantment with the war on terror. Balancing the darker works are droll children’s books, including Open Me…I’m a Dog (1997) and the Little Lit anthologies (2000-03), which boast: “Comics—They’re not just for grown-ups anymore.”
In 2005, Time magazine named Spiegelman one of the 100 Most Influential People, and he received the French Chevalier de l’Ordre des Arts et des Lettres. He lives in SoHo.
Excerpt from The Complete Maus
In the Shadow of No Towers (2004)
Open Me…I’m a Dog (1997)
Maus: A Survivor’s Tale (1986-92)