The Greatness of Art Spiegelman’s ‘New Yorker’ Cover Art


Art Spiegelman’s groundbreaking, Pulitzer Prize-winning 1991 masterpiece Maus is the reason why graphic novels like The Watchmen, Persepolis, and Ghost World are talked about today in the same breath as great literary works. But while that book — along with much of the work contained in Drawn and Quarterly’s beautiful and essential new collection, CO-MIX: A Retrospective of Comics, Graphics, and Scraps played such a pivotal role in elevating comics to high art, it’s his work drawing covers for The New Yorker over the years that has kept Spiegelman at the forefront of so many major national conversations.

Included in the CO-MIX is this February, 1993 illustration Spiegelman did for the magazine depicting a Hasidic Jew kissing a black woman, a reference to the riots that took place in the Crown Heights neighborhood of Brooklyn. The cover was Spiegelman’s most well-known work outside of the Maus books, until…

In the Shadow of No Towers is one of the most chill-inducing and recognizable piece of 9/11-inspired art to come out after the attack. Spiegelman treated the subject with the same sort of respect that he gave to the horrors of the Holocaust in Maus, and created something moving, beautiful, and unforgettable.

But Spiegelman doesn’t just get the call up when tragedy strikes. He has churned out a handful of other New Yorker covers, some funny, others poignant, all memorable.

May 11, 1998

December 18, 2000

May 26, 1997

July 8, 2002

May 20, 1996

October 14, 1996