The King of Comix

With Raw, a Pulitzer Prize For Maus, and a Strategic Job at The New Yorker, Art Spiegelman Has Become Lord of All New York Cartoonists. But His Power Is No Laughing Matter.

A classic example: His cartoon review of MOMA's "High & Low" show in 1990 listed work that ought to have been included. Topping the list, above Keith Haring and Toulouse-Lautrec, were "Art Spiegelman" (in Maus/mousehead mode) and "All His Friends" (depicted by a cover of RAW). Maybe he was uncharacterizing joking, but cartoonists everywhere groaned at Art's blatant self-promotion.

The terrible truth about Art Spiegelman is that his work is too devoid of self-doubt and irony to matter for the foreseeable future. Nor, with the possible exception of Maus, is his work so genuinely heartfelt that it transcends the current cynical paradigm. Fortunately for Art, though, there will always be a place in New York for schmoozers who look out for their pals.

The New Yorker covers: controversy, or hollow provocation?
The New Yorker covers: controversy, or hollow provocation?

Ted Rall, a cartoonist whose work appears in 140 newspapers as well as Time and Fortune magazines, has been a Pulitzer Prize finalist and won the Robert F. Kennedy Journalism Award. His recent graphic novel, My War With Brian, has been nominated for an Eisner Award.

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