Arts and culture blog Flavorwire recently compiled their list of “10 Disturbingly Brilliant Graphic Novels,” and the authors of three of those books are members of the SVA community: Art Spiegelman (faculty 1979 – 1986), Dash Shaw (BFA 2005 Illustration), and current BFA Illustration and Cartooning Department faculty member David Mazzucchelli. Here’s what Flavorwire’s Emily Temple had to say about their work.
Maus by Art Spiegelman: Based on the life of Art Spiegelman’s father, Vladek Spiegelman (who was a Polish Jew), the Pulitzer Prize-winning Maus is an unforgettable tale of one family’s survival of the Holocaust. Vladek Spiegelman’s “harrowing story is made both more accessible and more frightening” by his son’s illustrations, “which figure the Jews as mice and the Germans as Cats, a way of illuminating the absurdity of cut and dry racial distinctions. The book is deeply touching, deeply scary, and a must-read.”
BodyWorld by Dash Shaw: This futuristic story about a seemingly perfect suburban town with a serious drug problem bubbling beneath its surface unfolds when a smokable plant is discovered that allows users to inhabit each other’s minds and bodies. “But trust us, however weird that sounds to you, BodyWorld is weirder. Shaw’s pared-down style, white characters walking through a colored world, supports his crazy storytelling style, and we only hope we keep seeing more from him.”
Asterios Polyp by David Mazzucchelli: This “modernist opus” proves that “Mazzucchelli’s brilliance is in the deftness in which he exploits style as content, manipulating his beautiful blue, pink, and purple illustrations to show what they mean.” Case in point: The “staunchly unemotional Asterios,” who holds firm to the opinion that anything lacking function is merely decorative, “boasts a 2-D head when talking to his fully formed (and emotionally complex) ex-wife.”