In the Shadow of No Towers
By Art Spiegelman
(Pantheon Books, Hardcover, 9780375423079, 42pp.)
Publication Date: September 7, 2004
List Price: $29.95*
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For Art Spiegelman, the Pulitzer Prize-winning author of Maus, the terrorist attacks of September 11, 2001 were both highly personal and intensely political. In the Shadow of No Towers, his first new book of comics since the groundbreaking Maus, is a masterful and moving account of the events and aftermath of that tragic day.
Spiegelman and his family bore witness to the attacks in their lower Manhattan neighborhood: his teenage daughter had started school directly below the towers days earlier, and they had lived in the area for years. But the horrors they survived that morning were only the beginning for Spiegelman, as his anguish was quickly displaced by fury at the U.S. government, which shamelessly co-opted the events for its own preconceived agenda.
He responded in the way he knows best. In an oversized, two-page-spread format that echoes the scale of the earliest newspaper comics (which Spiegelman says brought him solace after the attacks), he relates his experience of the national tragedy in drawings and text that convey—with his singular artistry and his characteristic provocation, outrage, and wit—the unfathomable enormity of the event itself, the obvious and insidious effects it had on his life, and the extraordinary, often hidden changes that have been enacted in the name of post-9/11 national security and that have begun to undermine the very foundation of American democracy.
Spiegelman attended the High School of Art and Design in New York City and SUNY Binghamton and received an honorary doctorate of letters from SUNY Binghamton in 1995. He began working for the Topps Gum Company in 1966, as association that lasted over twenty years. There he created novelty cards, stickers and candy products, including Garbage Candy, Wacky Packages and Garbage Pail Kids. He began producing underground comix in 1966, and in 1971 moved to San Francisco, where he lived until 1975.
His work began appearing in such publications as "East Village Other, Bijou" and "Young Lust Comix". In 1975-76, he, along with Bill Griffith, founded "Arcade, The Comic Revue". His book, "Breakdowns", an anthology of his comics, was published in 1977.
Spiegelman moved back to New York City in 1975, and began doing drawing and comix for "The New York Times, Village Voice" and others. He became an instructor at The School of Visiual Arts from 1979-1987. In 1980, Spiegelman and his wife, Francoise Mouly, started the magazine RAW, which has over the years changed the public's perception of comics as an art form. It was in RAW that "Maus" was first serialized. In 1986, Pantheon Books published the first half of "Maus" and followed with "Maus II" in 1991. In 1994 he designed and illustrated the lost Prohibition Era classic by Joseph Moncure March, "The Wild Party". In 1997, Spiegelman's first book for children, "Open Me ... I'm a Dog" was published by HarperCollins.
Art Spiegelman has received The National Book Critics Circle nomination in both 1986 and 1991, the Guggenheim fellowship in 1990, and a special Pulitzer Prize in 1992. His art has been shown in museums and gallery shows in the United States and abroad, including a 1991 show at the Museum of Modern Art in New York City.
He and his wife, Francoise Mouly, live in lower Manhattan with their two children, Nadja and Dashiell.