Art Spiegelman

A Chronology of R-Rated Animals in Pop Culture

Beyond the big bad wolves of medieval folk tales, animals are mostly appropriated these days for innocent children’s entertainment. From Looney Tunes‘s Bugs Bunny to Ratatouille‘s Remy, fuzzy woodland creatures are now regularly stripped of their primal natures in the name of cuddly, moral-leveraging amusement. But David Sedaris’s Squirrel Seeks Chipmunk: A Modest Bestiary — essentially an R-rated answer to Aesop’s Fables — reaffirms that pop culture has had an equally engaged, if somewhat less overt, relationship with animal characters intended for mature audiences. From books to comics, movies to street art, and puppets to paintings, the following artists have created a spectrum of grown-up animal iconography that’s best kept away from young eyes. … Read More

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The Birds and the Bees: Our Favorite Animal Point-of-View Fiction

Last week’s New Yorker featured beloved biologist E.O. Wilson’s “Trailhead,” a short story about ants in flux in the aftermath of their queen’s death. The conceit provides Wilson ample opportunity for desert-dry ant humor — one ant’s entire existence is summed up thusly: “The only thing he had ever done was accept meals regurgitated to him by his sister” — but, for the most part, “Trailhead” walks a fine line between an over-literal take on dirty realism, and a not-quite literary take on a middle-school biology text. Wilson is certainly a genius, and an ant expert — his 1991 book The Antswon the Pulitzer Prize for General Non-Fiction — but maybe the switch to fiction isn’t the best idea. However, he’s by no means the first writer to tackle animal POV  in fiction. Here are some other examples, from 8 AD to the present day. … Read More

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Check Out San Francisco Panorama, McSweeney’s Newspaper

Forget all this talk about the death of print for a moment. Tomorrow a newspaper launches in San Francisco. Issue 33 of McSweeney’s Quarterly will be a one-time-only, Sunday-edition sized newspaper — the San Francisco Panorama. Here’s what it will cover: “It’ll have news (actual news, tied to the day it comes out) and sports and arts coverage, and comics (sixteen pages of glorious, full-color comics, from Chris Ware and Dan Clowes and Art Spiegelman and many others besides) and a magazine and a weekend guide, and will basically be an attempt to demonstrate all the great things print journalism can (still) do, with as much first-rate writing and reportage and design (and posters and games and on-location Antarctic travelogues) as we can get in there. Expect journalism from Andrew Sean Greer, fiction from George Saunders and Roddy Doyle, dispatches from Afghanistan, and much, much… Read More

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Yuck for Yucks: The Art of Basil Wolverton

Basil Wolverton’s drawings are a visually witty mishmash of human organs: glands, blistering skin, distended proboscises, eyes swinging from their sockets, and barnacle teeth pointed in every direction. A new show of his original drawings at New York’s Gladstone Gallery spans his career and range of style, from his first comic strip drawing to his late post-apocalyptic visions.… Read More

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Quote of the Day: From Graphic Images to Graphic Novels…

“I did the most vile comics I could possibly think of, because I thought that’s what underground comics were all about.”

- Pulitzer Prize-winning artist Art Spiegelman explains to The Economist how that whole “decapitated man getting f*cked in the neck” image came about in the ’60s; it actually got him banned from … Read More

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