In Love with Art: Françoise Mouly's Adventures in Comics with Art Spiegelman (Exploded Views)
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"Jeet Heer more thoroughly and widely understands comics history and the perplexing binomial life of the cartoonist better than anyone who's not one. As well-versed in literature as he is in comics, he always gets at the peculiar, poetical texture of his subject not only by what he writes, but how he writes it—clearly, mellifluously, and beautifully. Our humble discipline is singularly lucky to have him telling its story."—Chris Ware
In a partnership spanning four decades, Françoise Mouly and Art Spiegelman have become the pre-eminent power couple of cutting-edge graphic art. Their landmark magazine Raw, which first published artists such as Ben Katchor, Chris Ware, and Charles Burns, brought an avant-garde sensibility to comics and, along with Spiegelman's legendary graphic novel Maus, completely revolutionized the form. As art editor of the New Yorker since 1993, Mouly has remade the face of that venerable magazine with covers that capture the political and social upheavals of the last two decades, such as the black-on-black cover after 9/11 and the infamous Barack Obama fist-bump cartoon. Based on exclusive interviews with Mouly, Spiegelman, and a pantheon of comics artists—including Dan Clowes, Barry Blitt, Anita Kunz, and Adrian Tomine—In Love with Art is both an intimate portrait of Mouly and a rare, behind-the-scenes look at some of today's most iconic images. Through the prism of an uncommonly successful relationship, the book tells the story of one of the most remarkable artistic transformations of our time.
Jeet Heer's writing has appeared in the Guardian, Slate, Boston Globe, the American Prospect, and the Virginia Quarterly Review.
West Coast hippie weirdo. Spiegelman’s autobiographical strips from this period are full of references to his social insecurity in New York, a city where being an underground cartoonist carried no cachet. In San Francisco, comics like Zap and Arcade were sometimes sold even in convenience stores. In New York, Spiegelman had to grapple with a comics scene dominated by the newspaper syndicates, mainstream magazines like the New Yorker and publishers like Marvel and DC, which specialized in exactly
different intents but also because there was some overlap in contributors. Not only did Burns, Friedman and Kaz all contribute to Weirdo, but Crumb himself did a RAW cover and published in Mouly and Spiegelman’s magazine a terrific story about the blues musician Jelly Roll Morton. The first page of Robert Crumb’s ‘Jelly Roll Morton’s Voodoo Curse’ from RAW no. 7 (1985). Although less famous than his psychedelic work from the 1960s, Crumb’s comic strips about blues musicians are among his
condescension of the magazine’s early years. In making both race and racism topics that could be addressed visually, Spiegelman’s cover was aligned with one of Brown’s major achievements: hiring writers like Henry Louis Gates, Jr., who brought to the magazine a consistently informed discussion of black culture that had previously shown up in the magazine in only a few lonely pieces like Baldwin’s The Fire Next Time. And, of course, that Valentine’s Day cover would also lead to Brown meeting
so often drawn to enigmatic images depicting barely visible or shadowy figures or ones in which facial features are missing. There was the 9/11 cover, but also, on October 18, 2004, a Mouly-drawn cover that showed the American flag stained by a slight shadow in the famous shape of a hooded prisoner being tortured at Abu Ghraib. On her May 29, 2006, cover, Mouly presented the iconic Uncle Sam recruiting figure with his entire head missing – the top hat floats in space. Spiegelman achieved a
was the trip from hell, travelling alone in a Muslim country. I got robbed of money and passport. The police laughed at me because only a whore would be travelling alone, so that would teach me, but, anyway, I did a great study, one of the most exciting things I did in school.’ Aside from these venturesome journeys, she also made the hostel rounds all over Europe, travelling to Italy, Spain, Holland, Belgium, England, Germany, Romania, Bulgaria, Turkey and Greece. This time around, she needed to