Artist/illustrator and author of “In the Shadow of No Towers”
Art Spiegelman has almost single-handedly brought comic books out of the toy closet and onto the literature shelves. In 1992, he won the Pulitzer Prize for his masterful Holocaust narrative “Maus,” which portrayed Jews as mice and Nazis as cats. “Maus II” continued the remarkable story of Spiegelman’s parents’ survival of the Nazi regime and their later lives in America. His comics are best known for their shifting graphic styles, their formal complexity, and controversial content.
Rejecting his parents’ aspirations that he become a dentist, Spiegelman studied cartooning in high school and began drawing professionally at age 16. He studied art and philosophy at Binghamton University’s Harpur College before becoming part of the underground comix subculture of the 1960s and ‘70s.
As creative consultant for Topps Bubble Gum Co. from 1965 through 1987, Spiegelman created “Wacky Packages,” “Garbage Pail Kids” and other novelty items and taught history and aesthetics of comics at the School for Visual Arts in New York from 1979 to 1986. In 2007 he was a Heyman Fellow of the Humanities at Columbia University.
In 1980, Spiegelman founded the acclaimed avant-garde comics magazine Raw with his wife, Françoise Mouly. They have co-edited “Little Lit,” a series of three comics anthologies for children published by HarperCollins ("Comics-They're Not Just for Grown-ups Anymore") and “Big Fat Little Lit,” collecting the three comics into one volume. He and his wife publish a series of early readers called “Toon Books”—picture books in comics format — and co-edited “A Toon Treasury of Classic Children’s Comics.”
Spiegelman’s work has been published in many periodicals, including The New Yorker, where he was a staff artist and writer from 1993 to 2003. A collection of his New Yorker work, “Kisses From New York” was published in France, Germany and Italy and will be published in the United States by Pantheon, which also published his illustrated version of the 1928 lost classic “The Wild Party,” by Joseph Moncure March.
In 2004 Spiegelman completed “In the Shadow of No Towers,” a two-year cycle of broadsheet-sized color comics pages first published in European newspapers and magazines including Die Zeit and the London Review of Books. A book version was published by Pantheon in the United States, appeared on many national bestseller lists, and was selected by the New York Times Book Review as one of the 100 Notable Books of 2004.