Photo by Ruth Titus/Koffler Centre of the Arts.
Photo by Ruth Titus/Koffler Centre of the Arts.
By Trevor Abes
On Monday the legendary cartoonist, Art Spiegelman, graced The Bloor Cinema stage in Toronto to deliver his lecture What the %@&*! Happened to Comics? to an audience of almost 700 fans. The event—organized by The Koffler Centre of the Arts—saw the Pulitzer-Prize-winning author of Maus and In the Shadow of No Towers revisit his personal history with the medium up until the recent Charlie Hebdo murders in Paris. Sequential offers a selection of Spiegelman’s most memorable quotes from the evening.
—“Blasphemy is a delight. It’s just something you have with your café au lait.”
—On cartooning: “As long as it stays in the realm of thought and ideas, you have to take a chance that people won’t like it. There’s no right to not be insulted. But if you say, ‘The Earth is flat,’ you’re an idiot.”
—“A successful image cannot be unseen.”
—“The panel is the syntagma of comics.”
—“Comics get past your critical eye before you get a chance to blink.”
Photo by Trevor Abes.
—“I saw horror comics as a secular response to Auschwitz.”
—“The killing project entails dehumanization, the reinforcement of caricature. Maus seeks to rehumanize using that mask.”
—On In the Shadow of No Towers: “Obviously America is a bigger threat than Al-Qaeda. It has a bigger budget.”
—“Charlie Hebdo is juvenile, takes risks and relishes its ability to speak its mind regardless of the consequences.”
—An L.A. Times quote by Ted Rall, in Spiegelman’s opinion the most accurate assessment of the Charlie Hebdo tragedy from an American perspective: “More full-time staff political cartoonists were killed in Paris on [January 7th] than may be employed at newspapers in the states of California, Texas and New York combined.”
Photo by Ruth Titus/Koffler Centre for the Arts
Photo by Ruth Titus/Koffler Centre of the Arts.
—“If you are secular, you can accommodate all religions, as long as none of those religions enter the political marketplace.”
—On posting his Perspective in Gaza (the David and Goliath illusion) to Facebook: “I now know that ‘like’ means “I will kill you on site, motherfucker.”
—“Cartoonists should not compromise themselves out of existence.”
—”It’s classier to speak truth to power. If the stain is there, it’ll leak through.”
—“You have to have the right to get it all wrong. Otherwise, you’ll never get it right.”
Photo by Ruth Titus/Koffler Centre for the Arts.
Photo by Ruth Titus/Koffler Centre of the Arts.
Spiegelman’s CO-MIX: A Retrospective runs at the AGO until March 14.
Trevor Abes is a writer with a penchant for hip hop and conceptual art.