Just noticed Ted Rall's evisceration of Art Spiegelman's 9/11 book. This 20 dollar, 42-page pamphlet, padded out with thick paper stock and reprints of early 20th Century comic strips (ostensibly to show the difference between New York now and then, or whatever) sounded wretched from the reviews I read, which were mostly respectful prior to Rall's blog post. Rall, you may remember, complained loudly in a 1999 Village Voice article that Spiegelman had become a corrupt power broker of the comics world during his tenure at the New Yorker. Spiegelman left the magazine after its post-9/11 turn (further) to the right, which was laudable, even though his wife continues to hold a key position (for artists) there. The book sounded icky for framing the tragedy in terms of Spiegelman's personal meltdown and self-loathing so I didn't go near it, even to free-read it at the bookstore. Rall's take is completely vicious, but for Spiegelman to compare himself, living in a Tribeca loft after 9/11, to a German Jew staying in Berlin after Kristallnacht seems a bit...overwrought.

[The image above is not related--I put it in so the post had a 1987 reference--semi-inside joke.]

- tom moody 10-10-2004 7:39 pm

I just think some of that is professional jealousy. First, I highly recommend the free read at your big comfy conglomerate book store of your choice. It was brilliantly drawn and well written. Cartoonin' at its finest. I mean I enjoy both Rall and Art's work, but Art is just a way way better artist. If Woody Allen was still interesting, he'd make a movie out of this.

Okay, now I'll go read Ted's the way, I borrowed some of your art for Three River...
- Philip Shropshire (guest) 10-12-2004 8:15 pm

Thanks, I appreciate it. As for Rall's "professional jealousy," I don't think that should be weighed too heavily. In the case of the Village Voice criticism, Spiegelman was either a powermonger or he wasn't (and letters were written supporting both sides). In the case of the new book, it's either too short and whiny, or it's not. I'll give it a (free) read and let you know what I think.
- tom moody 10-13-2004 7:58 am

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