Pulitzer prize winning author of "Maus" Art Spiegelman talks all things comics
Published: Friday, March 1, 2013
Updated: Friday, March 1, 2013 00:03
Comics have become an ever growing medium throughout their short tenure on earth and although the quality of work defers widely from artist to artist, the history and expression involved in each page can show off more than most writers can ever hope to display.
“It’s just another medium, but you can do a lot more now,” Art Spiegelman, speaker for SMU’s Gartner Honors Lecture Series, said. “Comics echo the way the brain works.”
Spiegelman arrived at Crum auditorium on Thursday night to discuss, in the artist’s opinion, “What the %@&*! Happened to Comics?”
The 65-year-old is a Pulitzer Prize winning comic book artist best known for his dramatic and award-winning comic “Maus” in which Spiegelman brings his father’s time during the holocaust to life. The graphic novel, completed in 1991, is a haunting replication of a Polish Jew’s time in Nazi-occupied Europe, including a stint in the infamous Auschwitz prison-camp.
“Maus” was more than a difficult piece of art for Spiegelman to create, but putting his emotions aside he was able to produce one of the benchmark publications in the timeline of comics.
“The past hangs over the future,” Spiegelman said. “For the first time, comics have a history.”
When asked about a possible change of stage for the famous story of Spiegelman’s family to the big screen, he quickly denounced the idea of moving any of his pieces up.
“It’s very rare to have someone come up and say, ‘I want to make something with this,’” Spiegelman said.
“I’m so interested in compression that most everything I do is too short.”
In the 90-minute lecture, the history of his time with comics was also expressed as Spiegelman went back to his roots in drawn art.
“Comic books were my escape,” Spiegelman said. “[They have] always been a battle of adults versus children; traditional versus new.”
Along with their diverse past, the future of comics was discussed in the Q&A section of the session, where Spiegelman spoke more on the accessibility of graphic novels.
With the overall growth of the online community, finding past and present comic books on the internet is the kind of move that will keep the medium relevant for years to come.
“I can get the history of comics online,” Spiegelman said. “There’s something about reading online that is the adrenaline of clicking and wondering what’s going to happen next.”
Spiegelman’s last statement rang true to his opinion during the length of his speech. With just a small amount of non-super hero comics remaining in production, the ability to convey differing artistic styles has become harder to display.
“I think Donald Duck had much more nuance than Peter Parker,” Spiegelman said. “He was far more interesting than the mood swings of the Hulk.”
Comics seem to have a stereotype of being nothing more than the origin stories for famous movie characters such as Batman and Superman. Art Spiegelman displayed a multi-layered discussion about how the future of comics can be as artistic as its gloried past.
“The future of comics will have to do with what’s online,” Spiegelman said. “I know it’s the future, but I’m happily living in the past.”