Art Spiegelman

  • Splash panel from Basil Wolverton’s Eye of Doom. From Mystic, no. 6 (Marvel, 1952).


    ART SPIEGELMAN occupies a singular position in the world of comics, renowned not only for his own groundbreaking work—Raw magazine and Maus hardly need introduction—but also for his encyclopedic knowledge and ardent championing of the medium. Artforum invited the legendary cartoonist to curate an eclectic selection of comics—from the Bronze Age to 1986—and to discuss each panel’s visual charge and historical significance.

    In ordinary comic books, there are pictures within
    pictures for children who know how to look.

    —Dr. Fredric Wertham in his 1954 diatribe on the

  • Art Spiegelman

    Society Is Nix: Gleeful Anarchy at the Dawn of the American Comic Strip, 1895–1915 (Sunday Press), edited by Peter Maresca, is a staggering sixteen-by-twenty-one-inch (!) anthology of Sunday pages printed at the original broadsheet size, introduced when rotary color printing and American comics were both brand-new. The beginnings of any medium—before limits and definitions set in—are the most giddy and fertile; and seeing these hitherto-hidden treasures in their full-scale splendor invites the reader to literally take their measure and experience the shock of the new. Size does matter.