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Art Spiegelman: Don't call comics 'graphic novels'

By / March 17, 2009

Speaking to "a gaggle of British adult comic-book fans" at London's Institute for Contemporary Arts, Pulitzer Prize-winning comic book artist Art Spiegelman told his audience that he loves comic books but hates the term "graphic novels" because he finds it misleading.

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“I’m called the father of the modern graphic novel. If that’s true, I want a blood test,” the Economist reports that he said. “ 'Graphic novel’ sounds more respectable, but I prefer ‘comics’ because it credits the medium. [‘Comics’] is a dumb word, but that’s what they are.”

Spiegelman was at the Institute for Contemporary Arts to promote the new edition of his 1978 illustrated memoir, "Breakdowns: A Portrait of the Artist as Young %@&*!"

The Swedish-born author of "Maus" also discussed some of his more controversial images and, according to the Economist, expressed his "undying love for comic art" and "for the ways in which it allows an artist to communicate directly, no matter how bizarre the message."

“Comics," Spiegelman told his listeners, "should be whatever you want them to be."

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