funny things art spiegelman said about the funnies

art spiegelman by Kevin McCloskey © 2012

“I’ve been called the father of the graphic novel, but I demand a paternity test!” -art spiegelman.

I caught art spiegelman’s “What the %@&*! Happened to Comics?” at Lehigh University. One of the most influential artists of our time, I knew him before he won the Pulitzer for his graphic novel, Maus. Even though we are nearly the same age, I was once his student.

In 1985, I took his comics course at the School of Visual Arts. It was the History of Comics, but included some drawing projects. I recall one interesting assignment. Each student in the class did a zine based on a different letter, picked from a hat. I got “S.” Then the 26 zines were wrapped together in a cover that evoked a Campbell’s soup can. He called it Alphabet Soup and he arranged for it to be sold at Manhattan’s Printed Matter.

art spiegelman, guest star on the Simpsons

I’d heard many of his one-liners in class. Still, it was great to hear him again at Lehigh. I brought my camera, but just as they dimmed the lights there was a “No cameras, No recording devices!” announcement. Luckily, I had my Moleskine sketchbook, which is a permissible sort of recording device, I suppose. I took notes of his comments and did the quick sketch above. I added color in Photoshop at home.

“Definition of graphic novel: comic book that needs a bookmark. ” -art spiegelman.

Nancy by Ernie Bushmiller

“In the period following world War II, Nancy was the most read comic, not because it was the best, but because it took more effort not to read it, than to read it.”

“My wife says I should take pride in my two great achievements, the first is Maus, second – Not permitting Maus to be made into a film.”

Roy Lichtenstein’s pop art painting Whaam, image from Wikipedia

“Lichtenstein did no more for comics than Warhol did for soup.”

Back in the day, I remember spiegelman always insisted his name be written in lowercase letters, like e.e. cummings. That’s why I am overriding spellcheck, for the sake of art, art spielgelman.

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