Art Spiegelman (Maus) shunned by US Media

In this UK Independent article, Pulitzer Prize winning cartoonist and creator of Maus Art Spiegelman says he quit his job as an illustrator for The New Yorker because the magazine was sucking up to the government in order to retain access to Washington VIPs. Spiegelman also talks about his latest comic, "In the Shadow of No Towers," and how The New York Times wouldn't even reply to his offer to let the paper publish it. He ended up selling the strip to a German paper.

You would have expected the US media to sit up and take notice; instead, it slumped in its comfortable chair and closed its eyes. Yes, Spiegelman is a Pulitzer-prizewinning cartoonist; yes, he has a particular genius for describing the human price of fanaticism. Rarely have commentator and theme been so perfectly matched. But in the new "with-us-or-against-us" climate of aggressive US patriotism, his habit of expressing uncomfortable truths was becoming awkward. Once, The New Yorker had been happy to stand shoulder to shoulder with Spiegelman in the face of controversy (notably in the case of his notorious 1993 cover depicting an orthodox Jew passionately kissing a black woman); now he found himself being urged to tone down his work. "I found that I was fighting for every picture, and that was really exhausting." He realised that his new cartoon stood no chance of being published there; and, by extension, that he was probably working in the wrong place. (Spiegelman finally resigned this February, after 10 years, saying that The New Yorker was "marching to the same beat as The New York Times and all the other great American media that don't criticise the government for fear that the administration will take revenge by blocking their access to sources and information.")

Other leading publications were no more enthusiastic about the prospect of a Spiegelman cartoon on the theme of September 11. The New York Times never even responded to his offer of a strip; The New York Review of Books rejected what it saw with the opaque comment: "This would be great for Europe." Eventually, "In the Shadow of No Towers" was commissioned by the German newspaper, Die Zeit – whose editor, Michael Naumann, is an old friend and admirer.

Here's the Link. (I just noticed that this story is no longer available for free.) Shojo wrote to say "In the Shadow of No Towers" has been running in the The London Review Of Books for the past six months or so.