Art Spiegelman

Artist and Writer

Art Spiegelman is a Pulitzer Prize-winning artist and illustrator, author of MAUS, In the Shadow of No Towers, and Breakdowns. 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 his parents’ survival of the Nazi regime and their lives later in America. His comics are best known for their shifting graphic styles, formal complexity, and controversial content. 

Having rejected his parents’ aspirations for him to become a dentist, Art Spiegelman studied cartooning in high school and began drawing professionally at age 16. He went on to study art and philosophy at Harpur College before becoming part of the underground comix subculture of the 60s and 70s. As creative consultant for Topps Bubble Gum Co. from 1965-1987, 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 1979-1986. In 2007 he was a Heyman Fellow of the Humanities at Columbia University where he taught a Masters of the Comics seminar. In 1980, Spiegelman founded RAW, the acclaimed avant-garde comics magazine, with his wife, Françoise Mouly—MAUS was originally serialized in the pages of RAW. They've more recently 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. Currently, he and his wife publish a series of early readers called Toon Books—picture books in comics format. They have co-edited A Toon Treasury of Classic Children’s Comics  (Fall 2009). His work has been published in many periodicals, including The New Yorker, where he was a staff artist and writer from 1993-2003. A collection of his New Yorker work, Kisses from New York was published in France, Germany and Italy, and will be published in the U.S. by Pantheon, who also published his illustrated version of the 1928 lost classic, The Wild Party, by Joseph Moncure March.

In 2004 he completed a two-year cycle of broadsheet-sized color comics pages, In the Shadow of No Towers, first published in a number of European newspapers and magazines including Die Zeit and The London Review of Books. A book version of these highly political works 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.

Spiegelman’s work also includes a new edition of his 1978 anthology, Breakdowns (Fall 2008); it includes an autobiographical comix-format introduction almost as long as the book itself, entitled "Portrait of the Artist as a Young %@&*!"; as well as a new children’s book (published with Toon Books), called Jack and the Box. In 2009, MAUS was chosen by the Young Adult Library Association as one of its recommended titles for all students (the list is revised every 5 years and used by educators and librarians across the country). In 2009, McSweeney’s published a collection of three of his sketchbooks entitled Be a Nose. A major exhibition of his work was arranged by Los Angeles Museum of Contemporary Art, as part of the "15 Masters of 20th Century Comics" exhibit (November 2005). In 2005, Art Spiegelman was named one of Time Magazine’s 100 Most Influential People, and in 2006 he was named to the Art Director’s Club Hall of Fame. He was made a Chevalier de l’Ordre des Arts et des Lettres in France in 2005 and—the American equivalent—played himself on an episode of “The Simpsons” in 2008. In 2011, Art Spiegelman won the Grand Prix at the Angoulême International Comics Festival, marking only the third time an American has received the honor (the other two were Will Eisner and Robert Crumb). His next book, CO-MIX: A Retrospective of Comics, Graphics, and Scraps, will be published by Drawn & Quarterly in May 2013.