The Greatness of Art Spiegelman’s ‘New Yorker’ Cover Art

Art Spiegelman’s groundbreaking, Pulitzer Prize-winning 1991 masterpiece Maus is the reason why graphic novels like The Watchmen, Persepolis, and Ghost World are talked about today in the same breath as great literary works. But while that book — along with much of the work contained in Drawn and Quarterly’s beautiful and essential new collection, CO-MIX: A Retrospective of Comics, Graphics, and Scraps played such a pivotal role in elevating comics to high art, it’s his work drawing covers for The New Yorker over the years that has kept Spiegelman at the forefront of so many major national conversations.

Layout 1

Included in the CO-MIX is this February, 1993 illustration Spiegelman did for the magazine depicting a Hasidic Jew kissing a black woman, a reference to the riots that took place in the Crown Heights neighborhood of Brooklyn. The cover was Spiegelman’s most well-known work outside of the Maus books, until…