With the presentation of Art Spiegelman’s CO-MIX: A Retrospective at the AGO, we’re aiming to highlight not just the significance of Spiegelman’s career, but also growing importance of comics as a defining cultural form in Toronto. Leading up to and during the exhibition’s run ― Dec. 20, 2014, to March 15, 2015 ― we’re using ArtMatters.ca to share voices from the comics scene in Toronto and beyond, as they discuss Spiegelman’s influence and the connections between his work and a wide variety of genres and art forms. Below, Canadian journalist/historian and Twitter essayist Jeet Heer discusses Spiegelman’s seminal work Maus in relation to the structures and tropes of detective fiction.
About Jeet Heer
Jeet Heer is a Toronto based journalist who focuses on arts and culture. His articles have appeared in the National Post, Slate.com, the Boston Globe, The Walrus, the Literary Review of Canada, This Magazine, Books in Canada and Toro. He is also finishing a doctoral thesis at York University on the cultural politics of Little Orphan Annie. Heer is co-editor, with Kent Worcester, of Arguing Comics: Literary Masters on a Popular Medium (Jackson: University of Mississippi Press, 2004). With Chris Ware and Chris Oliveros, he is editing a series of volumes reprinting Frank King’s Gasoline Alley, two volumes of which have been published: Walt and Skeezix: Book One (Montréal: Drawn and Quarterly, 2005), Walt and Skeezix: Book Two (Drawn and Quarterly, 2006). He has written introductory essays to the following books: George Herriman’s Krazy and Ignatz 1935-1936 (Seattle: Fantagraphics, 2005), George Herriman’s Krazy and Ignatz 1939-1940 (Fantagraphics, 2007) and Clare Briggs’s Oh Skin-nay (Drawn and Quarterly, 2007).