Of Mice and Politics: Celebrating the Work of Art Spiegelman


We’ve been thinking a lot about Art Spiegelman lately, in part because the comic artist’s first major Paris retrospective recently opened at Centre Pompidou, the city’s biggest modern art museum. The exhibition, entitled Art Spiegelman: Co-Mix, spans the artist’s 45-year career and contains over 400 original cartoons, sketches, book and magazine covers, and other Spiegelman ephemera (check out a few early photos of the exhibit at Angoulême, where it originated, here). Though Spiegelman is perhaps best known for Maus , his Pulitzer Prize-winning graphic memoir, he’s also created countless covers for The New Yorker, where he worked for ten years, founded the famous underground comics magazine RAW with his wife Françoise Mouly, and had his hand in hundreds of other projects. We’ve been fans of the cartoonist since we were kids, so we decided to take the opportunity to do our own totally incomplete, biased mini-retrospective of some of the artist’s illustrations and projects. Click through to check out a few images from Spiegelman’s enormous body of work, and if you can’t make it to Paris, have no fear — the exhibition will hit Cologne, Vancouver, and New York in the coming months.

“Self-Portrait with Maus Mask,” 1981.

Spiegelman’s incredibly subtle post-9/11 cover for The New Yorker, 2001 (you may need to tilt your screen). He resigned from the magazine a few months later, citing “widespread conformism” in American media.

From In the Shadow of No Towers , Spiegelman’s comic strip about 9/11, collected into a book in 2004.

Maus, Spiegelman’s harrowing and accomplished graphic memoir about his family’s experience in the Holocaust.

The somewhat controversial 1993 Valentine’s Day cover for The New Yorker, a response to the Crown Heights riots.

The first ever cover for RAW, Spiegelman’s alternative comics magazine, coedited with Françoise Mouly, July 1980.

Spiegelman’s poster for the 2012 Angoulême comics convention.

Penguin Graphic Classics cover of Paul Auster’s The New York Trilogy.

Another project with Françoise Mouly, the first of the pair’s fantastic Little Lit books.

Joseph Moncure March’s The Wild Party , illustrated by Spiegelman, 1999.

A timely doodle from the Pompidou exhibit.

Okay, so the first gross-out Garbage Pail Kids, released in 1985, were actually drawn by John Pound. But it was Spiegelman, at that time a consultant for Topps, who came up with the idea — not to mention the fact that he co-edited and art directed the project with Mark Newgarden.

A scene from MetaMaus , Spiegelman’s most recent offering.

Jack and the Box , one of Spiegelman’s Toon Books, complete with the tagline “Comics — they’re not just for grown-ups anymore!”

A snapshot of Spiegelman’s first-ever fanzine! [via Forbidden Planet]

From the book trailer for Be a Nose , the “warts-and-all reproduction of his private sketchbooks” published by McSweeney’s in 1009.

Art Spiegelman for The Realist, 1967.

A rejected sketch from Spiegelman’s time at Wacky Packages in the ’70s.

Another scene from In the Shadow of No Towers.

“Mein Kampf,” from The New York Times Magazine, 1996