Art Spiegelman is a Pulitzer Prize-winning author and illustrator. During his lecture at Northeastern University, he said, “Comics burn their way passed your peripheral defenses into your brain directly through the eyeball. They dig deep because they work the same way your brain works.” The lecture was held as a memorial for Morton E. Ruderman. It was presented by the University’s Humanities Center as well as the Jewish Studies Program, sponsored by the Ruderman Family Foundation.
Spiegelman even participated in the underground comic movement that took place in the late 60s and 70s, and later landed in the New Yorker for a decade. The work that got him Pulitzer Prize is “Maus: A Survivor’s Tale”. It is a comic masterpiece, spread across two-volumes, that shows his father’s life as a Polish Jew and Holocaust Survivor. He has depicted Jews as mice and Germans as cats!
“It was me trying to tell a story that was worth telling at a time when Holocaust was not a subject of narrative fiction and nonfiction worth telling,” he explained. “The real story was the story of me trying to understand what my father had lived through.”
Spiegelman had always been obsessed with comics and notices how the superhero and children’s stories are now being gradually replaced by graphic novels and political manifestos. He believes that comics often replicate our thought process, making it easier by the use of sequential images, thought bubbles, and speech balloons. According to him, “they don’t have to be escapist stories or funny gags. They are capable of being art.”
Lori Lefkovitz, director of Jewish Studies Program, praises Spiegelman as “one of the great inventors of our time whose latest book, Meta Maus: A Look Inside a Modern Classic, Maus further illuminates the controversial work of genius and the processes of the invention.”