Pulitzer Prize-winning author and illustrator Art Spiegelman described comics as “a mixing together of words and pictures” during his lecture in the Derryberry Hall Auditorium this past Tuesday.
Spiegelman came to Tech to discuss his previous work, the birth of comics and the reasons we should hold comics to a higher standard in today’s culture in his lecture entitled “What the %@&*! Happened to Comics?”
For example, in 1948, there were several comic book burnings that broke out in New York.
Spiegelman discussed the reasons why these events were taking place across the nation.
"Basically comic books were the ‘Grand Theft Auto’ of their day,” said Spiegelman. “Because if kids like something and adults don’t get it, they need to control it.
His lecture was filled with pictures of his work and other cartoons that have been created throughout the history of comics.
When showing a picture of a cover from “The New Yorker” magazine of a simple map of New York, he talked about why people are so drawn to these pictures.
"The thing about these pictures, once you see it, you can’t not have seen it. That’s what a comic image can do,” Spiegelman said.
He also gave his opinion on what art is and how it was compared to comics.
“I think of art ultimately as something that gives form to one’s thoughts and feelings. And therefore, I don’t necessarily mean this when I talk about comics as art,” said Spiegelman. “Comics are something else, they deal in time. They deal with one moment in time.”
Spiegelman then discussed his work on “Maus,” the graphic novel he wrote in 1991 that explained his father’s experiences during the Holocaust.
He went into full detail of how he created certain pages in “Maus,” and how he organized the discussions he had with his father to understand what he had to go through during his time in Auschwitz, a concentration camp during the Holocaust.
Spiegelman wrapped up his lecture by talking about his later works, such as “Garbage Pail Kids” and “Wacky Packages.”
“Garbage Pail Kids” was first produced in 1985, and “Wacky Packages” were first produced in 1967, although he wasn’t a part of the series until the newly designed series in 1985.
Finally, Spiegelman spoke about his fascination with comics.
“It’s that scale and that tangibility that’s really important to me,” he said. “It makes comics worthy as an art form as it passes out of being the mass median, but it allows things to stand still, to move through time, and to be analyzed. You see a past, present and a future at the same moment.”
After his lecture was over, he stayed for a short Q & A session with the audience.
Freshman Drew Price said he enjoyed Spiegelman’s lecture more than he thought he would.
“Honestly, I wasn’t planning on coming to this,” said Price. “But a friend of mine asked if I would go with him, and I decides to join him. I was thoroughly surprised at how much I enjoyed it, and I’m glad I came.”