A renowned American novelist, cartoonist, and editor, Art Spiegelman was born on the 15th of February in 1948 in Stockholm, Sweden. He was a bright son of Władysław Spiegelman, a Polish Jew, while his mother, Andzia, was a housewife. Following his birth, the family moved to the United States in 1951, where he was registered as Arthur Isadore but later changed his given name to Art. Art showed a great interest in comic books and drawing; he began cartooning in 1960, adopting various styles of his much-liked comic fiction like Mad.
A highly creative and talented child, Art Spiegelman started his formal education at Russell Sage Junior High School, where he won honors for his unique artistic talent. Later, he attended Manhattan’s High School of Art and Design, and decided to become a professional artist. From 1965 to 1968, he attended the State University of New York, exploring the techniques of comic art. Unfortunately, his mother’s suicide jolted him after which he left college without obtaining his degree. However, he never gave up on his creativity and produced wonders. His initial illustrations appeared in Long Island Post, earning a great fortune for him.
He married on the 12th of July in 1977 to Françoise Mouly, a famous designer and publisher. However, they remarried the following year when Françoise converted to Judaism, and the couple had had two children; Nadja Rachel, and Dashiell Alan.
Awards and Honors
His unique creative abilities enabled him to secure various awards and honors. He earned Playboy Editorial Award for Best Comic Strip in 1982 and three Print, Regional Design Awards in the years 1983, 1984, and 1985 respectively. Later, he won Prize for Best Comic Book for his graphic novel, Maus, in 1988, and Los Angeles Times Book Prize for Maus in 1992. His other achievements include Eisner Award, National Jewish Book Award for MetaMaus, The Edward MacDowell Medal, Sproing Award, Eisner Award, and Best Graphic Album for Maus.
Some Important Facts about Him
- He won the Pulitzer Prize Letters Award in 1992 for his graphic novel,
- He is a prominent advocate of comic literature and comic fiction.
- His graphic novel, Maus, was translated into more than 20 global languages.
Art Spiegelman started his career as an illustrator at a very young age and won global recognition. He began drawing professionally at sixteen and later, learned the underground comic subculture of the sixties and seventies. Following his true passion, he produced works such as; Garbage Pail Kids, Wacky Packages, and other works from 1965 to 1987. Also, he taught aesthetics and history at the School for Visual Arts, New York. Later, he published the illustrated version of Joseph Moncure March’s work, The Wild Party, followed by a series of three comics anthologies for children. His masterpiece, Maus, first appeared as a small story in Funny Animals anthology that instantly became a hit. His other notable works include In the Shadow of No Towers, Little Lit, and MetaMaus.
Art Spiegelman’s style exhibits simplicity coupled with visual motifs that often fail to allure the viewers upon first viewing. His graphic novel, Maus, presents a limited point of view along with other techniques like the meta-textual narration to explain the disturbing Holocaust experiences of the people. However, the incredibly personal tone of the book transcends the historical perspective of World War II that brought horror and destruction to the millions. By choosing comic ways to narrate the heart-wrenching experiences of the Holocaust, he has completely changed the previously explained narrative about that event. By reducing the people to animals, he not only illustrates how Jews faced the worst but also changes the way how people respond to those historic events. The major themes in his writings are grief, memory, love, death, the Holocaust, and the responsibility of the survivors and identity.
Some Important Works of Art Spiegelman
- Best Works: He was an outstanding writer, some of his best writings include Breakdowns: From Maus to Now, an Anthology of Strips, Maus, The Wild Party, Open Me, I’m A Dog, Breakdowns: Portrait of the Artist as a Young, In the Shadow of No Towers, ack Cole and Plastic Man: Forms Stretched to Their Limits and Be a Nose.
Art Spiegelman’s Impact on Literature
As he is a man with exceptional intellect and creativity, Spiegelman has impacted global literature through new experiments in graphic fiction. His high-creative works, Maus and Meta Maus, cast a spell on comic and fantasy literature. After years of publication, the books continue to enjoy the same prestige and popularity as they were first published. Also, Maus is examined from a variety of academic points of view, allowing the fresh writers to get a deep insight into his distinct writing qualities. James Campbell, Scott McCloud, and Chris Ware, and other notable literary critics have appreciated him profusely for the precision and concision of his artistic abilities.
- “In reality, childhood is deep and rich. It’s vital, mysterious, and profound. I remember my OWN childhood vividly; I knew terrible things, but I knew I mustn’t let the adults *know* I knew… it would scare them.” (MetaMaus: A Look inside a Modern Classic, Maus)
- “I know this is insane, but I somehow wish I had been in Auschwitz with my parents so I could really know what they lived through! I guess it’s some kind of guilt about having had an easier life than they did.” (The Complete Maus)
- “Anja? What is to tell? Everywhere I look I’m seeing Anja… From my good eye, from my glass eye, if they’re open or they’re close, always I’m thinking on Anja.” (Maus II: A Survivor’s Tale: And Here My Troubles Began)
- “Yes, life always takes the side of life, and somehow the victims are blamed. But it wasn’t the best people who survived, nor did the best ones die. It was random!” (The Complete Maus)