74 Facts About Art Spiegelman


Art Spiegelman is an American cartoonist, editor, and comics advocate best known for his graphic novel Maus.


Art Spiegelman is married to designer and editor Francoise Mouly, and is the father of writer Nadja Spiegelman.


Art Spiegelman gained prominence in the underground comix scene in the 1970s with short, experimental, and often autobiographical work.


Art Spiegelman's father was born Zeev Spiegelman, with the Hebrew name Zeev ben Avraham.


Art Spiegelman was known as Wilhelm under the German occupation, and Anglicized his name to William upon immigration to the United States.


Art Spiegelman's mother was born Andzia Zylberberg, with the Hebrew name Hannah.


Art Spiegelman changed her name to Anna upon immigrating to the United States.


In 1937, the Spiegelmans had one other son, Rysio, who died before Art was born, at the age of five or six.


Art Spiegelman was born Itzhak Avraham ben Zeev in Stockholm, Sweden, on February 15,1948.


Art Spiegelman immigrated with his parents to the US in 1951.


Art Spiegelman began cartooning in 1960 and imitated the style of his favorite comic books, such as Mad.


Art Spiegelman was earning money from his drawing by the time he reached high school and sold artwork to the original Long Island Press and other outlets.


Art Spiegelman's talent caught the eyes of United Features Syndicate, who offered him the chance to produce a syndicated comic strip.


Art Spiegelman attended the High School of Art and Design in Manhattan beginning in 1963.


Art Spiegelman met Woody Gelman, the art director of Topps Chewing Gum Company, who encouraged Spiegelman to apply to Topps after graduating from high school.


At age 15, Art Spiegelman received payment for his work from a Rego Park newspaper.


Art Spiegelman began selling self-published underground comix on street corners in 1966.


Art Spiegelman had cartoons published in underground publications such as the East Village Other and traveled to San Francisco for a few months in 1967, where the underground comix scene was just beginning to burgeon.


In late winter 1968, Art Spiegelman suffered a brief but intense nervous breakdown, which cut short his university studies.


Art Spiegelman has said that at the time he was taking LSD with great frequency.


Art Spiegelman spent a month in Binghamton State Mental Hospital, and shortly after he exited it, his mother died by suicide following the death of her only surviving brother.


In 1971, after several visits, Spiegelman moved to San Francisco and became a part of the countercultural underground comix movement that had been developing there.


Art Spiegelman did a number of cartoons for men's magazines such as Cavalier, The Dude, and Gent.


Art Spiegelman wanted to do one about racism, and at first considered a story with African-Americans as mice and cats taking on the role of the Ku Klux Klan.


Art Spiegelman titled the strip "Maus" and depicted the Jews as mice persecuted by die Katzen, which were Nazis as cats.


In 1973, Art Spiegelman edited a pornographic and psychedelic book of quotations and dedicated it to his mother.


In 1975, Spiegelman moved back to New York City, which put most of the editorial work for Arcade on the shoulders of Griffith and his cartoonist wife, Diane Noomin.


Art Spiegelman moved back to New York later in the year.


Art Spiegelman followed her to France when she had to return to fulfill obligations in her architecture course.


Art Spiegelman introduced Mouly to the world of comics and helped her find work as a colorist for Marvel Comics.


Art Spiegelman took courses in offset printing and bought a printing press for her loft, on which she was to print parts of a new magazine she insisted on launching with Spiegelman.


Art Spiegelman's father did not live to see its completion; he died on 18 August 1982.


Art Spiegelman learned in 1985 that Steven Spielberg was producing an animated film about Jewish mice who escape persecution in Eastern Europe by fleeing to the United States.


Art Spiegelman was sure the film, An American Tail, was inspired by Maus and became eager to have his unfinished book come out before the movie to avoid comparisons.


Art Spiegelman struggled to find a publisher until in 1986, after the publication in The New York Times of a rave review of the work-in-progress, Pantheon agreed to release a collection of the first six chapters.


Art Spiegelman called Topps his "Medici" for the autonomy and financial freedom working for the company had given him.


In 1989 Topps auctioned off pieces of art Spiegelman had created rather than returning them to him, and Spiegelman broke the relation.


Art Spiegelman's first cover appeared on the February 15,1993, Valentine's Day issue and showed a black West Indian woman and a Hasidic man kissing.


Art Spiegelman intended it to reference the Crown Heights riot of 1991 in which racial tensions led to the murder of a Jewish yeshiva student.


Twenty-one New Yorker covers by Art Spiegelman were published, and he submitted some which were rejected for being too outrageous.


Art Spiegelman contributed the essay "Getting in Touch With My Inner Racist" in the September 1,1997, issue of Mother Jones.


Art Spiegelman was comics editor of the New York Press in the early 1990s.


Art Spiegelman was comics editor of Details magazine in the late 1990s; in 1997 he began assigning comics journalism pieces in Details to a number of his cartoonist associates, including Joe Sacco, Peter Kuper, Ben Katchor, Peter Bagge, Charles Burns, Kaz, Kim Deitch, and Jay Lynch.


Hellman published a "Legal Action Comics" benefit book to cover his legal costs, to which Spiegelman contributed a back-cover cartoon in which he relieves himself on a Rall-shaped urinal.


In 1997, Art Spiegelman had his first children's book published, Open Me.


Art Spiegelman did not renew his New Yorker contract after 2003.


Art Spiegelman later quipped that he regretted leaving when he did, as he could have left in protest when the magazine ran a pro-invasion of Iraq piece later in the year.


Nevertheless, Art Spiegelman asserted he left not over political differences, as had been widely reported, but because The New Yorker was not interested in doing serialized work, which he wanted to do with his next project.


Art Spiegelman responded to the September 11 attacks with In the Shadow of No Towers, commissioned by German newspaper Die Zeit, where it appeared throughout 2003.


Library of America commissioned Art Spiegelman to edit the two-volume Lynd Ward: Six Novels in Woodcuts, which appeared in 2010, collecting all of Ward's wordless novels with an introduction and annotations by Art Spiegelman.


In 2015, after six writers refused to sit on a panel at the PEN American Center in protest of the planned "freedom of expression courage award" for the satirical French periodical Charlie Hebdo following the shooting at its headquarters earlier in the year, Spiegelman agreed to be one of the replacement hosts, along with other names in comics such as writer Neil Gaiman.


Art Spiegelman retracted a cover he had submitted to a Gaiman-edited "saying the unsayable" issue of New Statesman when the management declined to print a strip of Art Spiegelman's.


The strip, "Notes from a First Amendment Fundamentalist", depicts Muhammad, and Spiegelman believed the rejection was censorship, though the magazine asserted it never intended to run the cartoon.


In 2021, Literary Hub announced that Art Spiegelman was co-creating a work Street Cop with author Robert Coover.


Art Spiegelman married Francoise Mouly on July 12,1977, in a New York city hall ceremony.


Mouly and Art Spiegelman have two children together: a daughter, Nadja Rachel, born in 1987, and a son, Dashiell Alan, born in 1992.


Art Spiegelman suffers from a lazy eye, and thus lacks depth perception.


Art Spiegelman says his art style is "really a result of [his] deficiencies".


Art Spiegelman's is a style of labored simplicity, with dense visual motifs which often go unnoticed upon first viewing.


Art Spiegelman sees comics as "very condensed thought structures", more akin to poetry than prose, which need careful, time-consuming planning that their seeming simplicity belies.


Art Spiegelman uses the word "decode" to express the action of reading comics and sees comics as functioning best when expressed as diagrams, icons, or symbols.


Art Spiegelman has said he approaches his work as a writer as he lacks confidence in his graphic skills.


Art Spiegelman makes use of both old- and new-fashioned tools in his work.


Art Spiegelman prefers at times to work on paper on a drafting table, while at others he draws directly onto his computer using a digital pen and electronic drawing tablet, or mixes methods, employing scanners and printers.


Art Spiegelman acknowledges Franz Kafka as an early influence, whom he says he has read since the age of 12, and lists Vladimir Nabokov, William Faulkner, Gertrude Stein among the writers whose work "stayed with" him.


Art Spiegelman cites non-narrative avant-garde filmmakers from whom he has drawn heavily, including Ken Jacobs, Stan Brakhage, and Ernie Gehr, and other filmmakers such as Charlie Chaplin and the makers of The Twilight Zone.


Art Spiegelman is a prominent advocate for the comics medium and comics literacy.


Art Spiegelman believes the medium echoes the way the human brain processes information.


Art Spiegelman has toured the US with a lecture called "Comix 101", examining its history and cultural importance.


Art Spiegelman sees comics' low status in the late 20th century as having come down from where it was in the 1930s and 1940s, when comics "tended to appeal to an older audience of GIs and other adults".


Art Spiegelman taught courses in the history and aesthetics of comics at schools such as the School of Visual Arts in New York.


Art Spiegelman has described himself politically as "firmly on the left side of the secular-fundamentalist divide" and a "1st Amendment absolutist".


Spiegelman's comics career was covered in an Emmy-nominated PBS documentary, Serious Comics: Art Spiegelman, produced by Patricia Zur for WNYC-TV in 1994.


Art Spiegelman played himself in the 2007 episode "Husbands and Knives" of the animated television series The Simpsons with fellow comics creators Daniel Clowes and Alan Moore.