I want a blood test,” Art Spiegelman shrugs when asked about his status as the father of the graphic novel. Twenty years ago, the wise-cracking New York cartoonist changed the history of comic books with the first instalment of his Pulitzer prize-winning Maus*: A Survivor’s Tale – the story of how his parents survived Auschwitz, with Jews drawn as mice and Nazis as cats. It remains the defining work of graphic memoir, the book that elevated a pulp mass medium to high art and proved that comics didn’t have to be comic. But, as one frame in Spiegelman’s new exhibition in Paris says, ever since then he’s felt he has “a 5,000 pound mouse breathing down my neck”.
*Maus I: A Survivor’s Tale: My Father Bleeds History (Paperback) by Art Spiegelman
Image source: Read Yourself Raw