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In Love with Art
Cover of In Love with Art
In Love with Art
Françoise Mouly's Adventures in Comics with Art Spiegelman
by Jeet Heer
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Nominated for a 2014 Saskatchewan Book Award

Françoise Mouly, an editor and publisher of uncommon taste and creativity, and an artist in her own right, has spent nearly four decades transforming comics. With her husband, Art Spiegelman, Mouly founded the landmark magazine RAW, which showcased artists such as Ben Katchor, Chris Ware, Charles Burns and Sue Coe, and, along with Spiegelman's Maus, brought an avant-garde sensibility to the popular art form. As art editor of The New Yorker since 1993, Mouly has remade the face of that venerable magazine with covers that capture the political and social upheavals of the last two decades, from the black-on-black cover after 9/11 to the Obamas' pre-election fist-bump. And now, with TOON Books, Mouly is at the forefront of a new wave of comic-making for children.

Based on exclusive interviews with Mouly, Spiegelman and a pantheon of comics artists — including Dan Clowes, Anita Kunz and Bill Griffith — In Love With Art is both the first book-length portrait of a female pioneer in a male-dominated industry and a rare, behind-the-scenes look at some of today's most iconic images. Through the prism of an uncommonly successful relationship, the book tells the story of one of the most remarkable artistic transformations of our time.

'Jeet Heer more thoroughly and widely understands comics history and the perplexing binomial life of the cartoonist better than anyone who's not one. As well-versed in literature as he is in comics, he always gets at the peculiar, poetical texture of his subject not only by what he writes, but how he writes it—clearly, mellifluously, and beautifully. Our humble discipline is singularly lucky to have him telling its story.' —Chris Ware

Nominated for a 2014 Saskatchewan Book Award

Françoise Mouly, an editor and publisher of uncommon taste and creativity, and an artist in her own right, has spent nearly four decades transforming comics. With her husband, Art Spiegelman, Mouly founded the landmark magazine RAW, which showcased artists such as Ben Katchor, Chris Ware, Charles Burns and Sue Coe, and, along with Spiegelman's Maus, brought an avant-garde sensibility to the popular art form. As art editor of The New Yorker since 1993, Mouly has remade the face of that venerable magazine with covers that capture the political and social upheavals of the last two decades, from the black-on-black cover after 9/11 to the Obamas' pre-election fist-bump. And now, with TOON Books, Mouly is at the forefront of a new wave of comic-making for children.

Based on exclusive interviews with Mouly, Spiegelman and a pantheon of comics artists — including Dan Clowes, Anita Kunz and Bill Griffith — In Love With Art is both the first book-length portrait of a female pioneer in a male-dominated industry and a rare, behind-the-scenes look at some of today's most iconic images. Through the prism of an uncommonly successful relationship, the book tells the story of one of the most remarkable artistic transformations of our time.

'Jeet Heer more thoroughly and widely understands comics history and the perplexing binomial life of the cartoonist better than anyone who's not one. As well-versed in literature as he is in comics, he always gets at the peculiar, poetical texture of his subject not only by what he writes, but how he writes it—clearly, mellifluously, and beautifully. Our humble discipline is singularly lucky to have him telling its story.' —Chris Ware

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About the Author-
  • Jeet Heer is a cultural journalist and academic who divides his time between Toronto and Regina. Heer has written for such publications as the National Post, Slate.com, the Boston Globe, The Walrus, The American Prospect and the Guardian of London. He has co–edited eight books and been a contributing editor to another eight volumes. Jeet Heer co–edited A Cultural Studies Reader (University of Mississippi Press, 2008) and is the recipient of a Fulbright Scholarship. With Chris Ware, Jeet continues to edit the Walt and Skeezix series from Drawn and Quarterly, which is now entering its fifth volume.

Reviews-
  • Publisher's Weekly

    September 30, 2013
    Having previously discounted Mouly's contributions to art to more effectively highlight those of her husband Spiegelman, journalist and academic Heer attempts to address this snub with this short biography of the influential editor. From her French beginnings to American success, Mouly has spent almost four decades reshaping the American graphic arts, both with her husband and on her own. From her days at RAW Books and Graphics to her more than 20 years as art editor of The New Yorker, Mouly has often been controversial, but her work is undeniably influential. One of the grand figures of modern art, her role as editor is one too easily overlooked, and it is both just and right that someone should write a detailed biography drawing the public eye to Mouly. Unfortunately, this is not the biography Mouly deserves. At 136 pages, there simply is not room to do Mouly's career justice, and beginning with the subtitle, Heer cannot resist the urge to spend too many of the few pages he has on discussions of Spiegelman. The result is intensely frustrating, a flawed work embodying the very sins its author hoped to expiate.

  • Library Journal

    Starred review from November 15, 2013

    The eminence francaise or "powerful influence" behind scads of well-known cartoonists is Paris-born and New York-based writer and artist Francoise Mouly (Best American Comics 2012). Mouly is known primarily through her partnership with superfamous husband and cartoonist Art Spiegelman; however, Heer (editor, Arguing Comics: Literary Masters on a Popular Medium) points out that in her innovation, creativity, initiative, and advocacy over many decades, she has dramatically influenced comics and comics artists in her own right. Originally trained in architecture, Mouly was drawn to graphic narrative through Spiegelman and pushed him into coediting the comics magazine Raw between 1980 and 1991. Her work in Raw led to her current 20-year tenure as art editor of The New Yorker. In addition, Mouly recently established TOON Books to bring comics for the youngest readers back on the market. VERDICT Heer's detailed biography fills a glaring omission in histories of graphic narrative. Dozens of illustrations give face to Mouly's accomplishments yet are still not enough. This lively portrait of an editor and publisher par excellence will enlighten researchers, cartooning cognoscenti, and casual fans. Essential for serious art, graphic novels, and women's studies collections. [For more on Art Spiegelman, see the review of his recent work Co-Mix: A Retrospective of Comics, Graphics, and Scraps, on p. 69.--Ed.]--Martha Cornog, Philadelphia

    Copyright 2013 Library Journal, LLC Used with permission.

  • Library Journal

    'Heer's detailed biography fills a glaring omission in histories of graphic narrative. Dozens of illustrations give face to Mouly's accomplishments yet are still not enough. This lively portrait of an editor and publisher par excellence will enlighten researchers, cartooning cognoscenti, and casual fans. Essential for serious art, graphic novels, and women's studies collections.'

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    Coach House Books
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In Love with Art
In Love with Art
Françoise Mouly's Adventures in Comics with Art Spiegelman
Jeet Heer
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