Pulitzer Prize-winner Art Spiegelman To Lecture at Wisconsin's Lakeland College
Spiegelman's comics are best known for their shifting graphic styles, their formal complexity and controversial content. In his lecture, Spiegelman takes his audience on a chronological tour of the evolution of comics, while explaining the value of this medium and why it should not be ignored. He believes that in our post-literate culture the importance of the comic is on the rise, for "comics echo the way the brain works. People think in iconographic images, not in holograms, and people think in bursts of language, not in paragraphs."
Spiegelman studied cartooning in high school and began drawing professionally at age 16. He went on to study art and philosophy at Harpur College in upstate New York (now Binghamton University) before becoming part of the underground comix subculture of the 60s and 70s. As creative consultant for Topps Bubble Gum Co. from 1965-1987, Spiegelman created Wacky Packages, Garbage Pail Kids and other novelty items, and taught history and aesthetics of comics at the School for Visual Arts in New York from 1979-1986.
In 2007, he was a Heyman Fellow of the Humanities at Columbia University where he taught a Masters of the Comics seminar. In 1980, Spiegelman founded RAW, the acclaimed avant-garde comics magazine, with his wife, Françoise Mouly. "Maus" was originally serialized in the pages of RAW.
Currently, he and his wife publish a series of early readers called Toon Books-picture books in comics format-and have co-edited "A Toon Treasury of Classic Children's Comics" (Fall 2009). His work has been published in many periodicals, including The New Yorker, where he was a staff artist and writer from 1993-2003.
In 2004, he completed a two-year cycle of broadsheet-sized color comics pages, "In the Shadow of No Towers," first published in a number of European newspapers and magazines including Die Zeit and The London Review of Books. A book version of these highly political works was published by Pantheon in the United States, appeared on many national bestseller lists and was selected by The New York Times Book Review as one of the 100 Notable Books of 2004.
In 2009, "Maus" was chosen by the Young Adult Library Association as one of its recommended titles for all students (the list is revised every five years and used by educators and librarians across the country).
In fall 2011, Pantheon published "Meta Maus," the story of why he wrote Maus, why he chose mice, cats, frogs and pigs, and how he got his father to open up (the new book includes a DVD of the transcripts of Spiegelman's interviews with his father). "MetaMaus" has been awarded the 2011 National Jewish Book Award in the Biography, Autobiography and Memoir category.
In 2005, a major exhibition of his work was arranged by the Museum of Contemporary Art, Los Angeles, as part of the "Masters of American Comics" exhibit, which later traveled to the Milwaukee Art Museum. The same year, Spiegelman was named one of Time Magazine's 100 Most Influential People.