1948- American avant-garde Graphic Artist
Born in Stockholm, raised in Queens. His mother committed suicide in 1968.
He has, by all accounts, an encyclopedic knowledge of classic comics. He became fascinated by the underground comics of the sixties and moved to the Bay area for a time to join the scene. There he met Robert Crumb and Bill Griffith. The association with Bill brought a publication called Arcade into the world which lasted 2 years. Apparently very demanding, it was enough to cause him to swear off publishing for good.
He moved back to New York, there he met his future wife, Françoise Mouly. She convinced him to return to publishing and together they founded RAW Magazine, a review of avant-garde comics. RAW was originally a large format publication, like Life magazine. As such it was a real treat to the eye. If you own a copy of the original, it's quite valuable and rare now, there were only 4500 printed. Originally intended as a one shot publication, it was so successful that a second issue was planned. After that, there was more pressure to keep going. In 1986 Penguin approached them and the decision was made to move the whole thing to the much smaller graphic novel format that it is today.
His reputation was confined to a small circle until he published his comic-book novels, Maus: A Survivor's Tale 1986 and Maus II: And Here My Troubles Began 1991. The first Maus book was rejected by 13 publishers before finally accepted. It draws on his father's accounts of his experiences during the Holocaust, he defied expectations by drawing the Jews as mice and the Nazis as cats, and somehow his simple drawings enhanced the pathos.
During the 80's, he became a creative consultant, designer, and writer for Topps Chewing Gum, Inc. He and Mark Newgarden were responsible for a Candy/toy product called Garbage Pail Kids/Wacky Packages.
In 1992 he won a Pulitzer Prize for Maus. He has also received a Guggenheim Fellowship and been nominated for the National Book Critics Circle Award.
He discovered a poem from the 1920's jazz-age which he decided to illustrate and republish, it was called The Wild Party by Joseph Moncure March. It was released in 1995.
In 1997, he published a children's book called "Open me...I'm a Dog".
Along with Keiji Nakazawa he published a very controversial graphic novel called Barefoot Gen which had as it's setting, Hiroshima in the aftermath of the Atomic Bomb.
Up until 2003 he was a staff artist for The New Yorker and has done a number of great covers for them. He resigned from the New Yorker due to their unwillingness to publish any editorial content critical of the war. He is also consultant and art director for Details, and the New York Press.
Some Titles published by Spiegelman:
He lists, as one of the major influences on his work, Harvey Kurtzman, the creator of MAD magazine.
Falls under the categories of Books that will induce a mindfuck and Books you loan out to expand friends' minds.
Last Updated 05.14.04