Award-winning comics artist, editor, and writer Art Spiegelman celebrates his birthday this week. Born on February 15, 1948, Spiegelman’s two-volume graphic novel Maus won the Pulitzer Prize in 1992 and helped establish graphic novels as a form of literature.
Maus tells his parents’ story of surviving the Holocaust, depicting Jews as mice and Nazis as cats. Maus I: A Survivor's Tale: My Father Bleeds History moves between modern day New York where Spiegelman discusses the past with his father and the story his father recounts of Nazi-occupied Poland. In Maus II: A Survivor's Tale: And Here My Troubles Began, Spiegelman continues his parents’ tale while also depicting his difficult relationship with his father.
For a look at some of Spiegelman’s earlier work, check out Breakdowns: Portrait of the Artist as a Young %@&*!. This book includes a reprint of Breakdowns, a collection of comics first published in the 1970s (which includes a prototype of Maus), and a memoir which reflects on his evolution as an artist.
More recently, Spiegelman wrote and illustrated In the Shadow of No Towers, a very personal response to his firsthand experience of September 11, 2001 (as a resident of Lower Manhattan) and its aftermath. In an oversized format and through various graphic styles, Spiegelman fervently expresses his horror at what happened and resulting anxiety with a strong political viewpoint.