Comics pioneer Art Spiegelman to speak March 11

Art SpiegelmanPulitzer Prize-winning author and comics pioneer Art Spiegelman will discuss “Comix 101” in a sold out talk at 8 p.m. Tuesday, March 11, in Hewitt Union ballroom.

His appearance is part of the college’s Artswego Performing Arts Series.

Spiegelman, best known as the author of “Maus” and “Maus II,” is considered one of the most influential authors in the graphic novel genre. The New York Times Magazine hailed him as “a Michelangelo and a Medici to the comics world,” and Time magazine named Spiegelman one of their Top 100 Most Influential People in 2005.

He was born in Stockholm in 1948 to Vladek and Anja Spiegelman, Polish-Jewish refugees from the Holocaust. They are the main characters in Spiegelman’s graphic novels “Maus” and “Maus II,” which recount how his parents managed to survive those dark years.

In 2004, Spiegelman published a new graphic novel “In the Shadow of No Towers,” relating his experiences of the Sept. 11 terrorist attacks and the post-traumatic stress that he suffered as a result. He is also known for the simple, mournful homage of the Twin Towers that graced the cover of the Sept. 24, 2001, edition of The New Yorker.

Spiegelman’s work has earned many accolades including a 1992 Pulitzer Prize for “Maus” and a special exhibit in the Museum of Modern Art in New York City.

Spiegelman also attained a distinctive bit of pop-culture fame: A cameo this season on the animated hit “The Simpsons.” Spiegelman played himself as an artist and secret superhero, a member of the League of Extraordinary Freelancers.

He is credited with changing how the public has viewed comic books and animation in general. When once asked if he thought if comic books have become a more respected form of literature, Spiegelman responded: “Yeah, when I was first being a cartoonist, I would really hesitate to tell people what I did.”

Spiegelman said that he isn’t surprised that the public is in love with comics again, as he feels that it is human nature to be attracted to them. “Comics echo the way the brain works,” he said. “People think in iconographic images, not in holograms, and people think in bursts of language, not in paragraphs.”

There is no admission fee for Spiegelman’s talk, but all tickets were claimed about a week before his appearance.

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CONTACT: Mary Avrakotos, 312-4581,

(Posted: Feb 21, 2008)