A Brief History of Comics
Born in Paris, Françoise Mouly studied architecture at the Ecole Nationale Supérieure des Beaux Arts, and moved to New York in 1974. She founded Raw Books & Graphics in 1977 and for fifteen years published artists’ monographs and the annual “Streets of Soho and Tribeca Map & Guide.” Ms. Mouly was the founder, publisher, designer, and co-editor, along with her husband, cartoonist Art Spiegelman, of the pioneering avant-garde comics anthology “RAW,” which launched in 1980.
Françoise Mouly joined The New Yorker as art editor in April 1993, and has been responsible for over 800 covers in the years since. In 2000, she published “Covering The New Yorker: Cutting-Edge Covers from a Literary Institution” (Abbeville Press). Also in 2000, Ms. Mouly launched a RAW Junior division, publishing books of comics for kids by star writers, children's book artists, and cartoonists. In the spring of 2008, Ms. Mouly launched TOON Books, her own imprint of hardcover comics for emerging readers.
In 2001, Ms. Mouly was named chevalier in the order of Arts and Letters by the French Ministry of Culture and Communication. She and her husband live in Manhattan.
Question: How was the comics scene in the ‘70s different from the scene today?\r\n
Francoise Mouly: In 1980 when I started RAW Magazine it was the opposite of the way the world is today. Comics were seen as this lowbrow entertainment with no respectability whatsoever. They would pervert the mind of children or adults, and they certainly were not acknowledged as a medium for serious art or literature discussion, so I created a magazine with my husband Art Spiegelman, who was a cartoonist that was intending to change the perception for comics. Art came from **** in San Francisco of underground comics where Robert Crumb was leader of that field and a lot of the work was trying to break taboos about sex and drugs and different lifestyles. That’s not what RAW Magazine was trying to do. A lot of the underground comics were sold **** who are head shops together with hash pipes and all the other paraphernalia. With RAW Magazine we were doing something that I distributed in bookstores, legitimate bookstores for the most part and what we wanted… We chose a large size, well-printed magazine so that it would give a kind of frame of appreciation closer to that given to art and literature.\r\n
When I first got interested in comics at the time I was studying architecture and I discovered comics as a medium through listening to Art who was courting me by reading me Little Nemo and Krazy Kat by George Herriman. It was really very effective. It’s wonderful, but when we would go into a comic shop I really felt like it was a Times Square at the time. It was like a porno shop. It just reeked of like testosterone and adolescent male. A sensibility dominated by super hero comics with big busted woman being tied to like a ship’s mast, or whatever it was. I remember being in a comic shop with my son, with my ten year-old son and he put his hand over my eyes. He was embarrassed about me seeing the comics at Forbidden Planet. He didn’t know, poor kid, that I had been in many Forbidden Planets in my life.\r\n
Question: Do critics still misunderstand or misrepresent comics?\r\n
Francoise Mouly: Nowadays we are actually about to celebrate the 30th anniversary of RAW Magazine and it’s a world upside down. Comics are actually dubbed by euphemistic label of graphic novel, which became a big deal. When we published RAW we included chapters of Maus because there was no other way. Art was working on it at the time. It took 13 years for him to do the book and there was no way to publish this with a mainstream publisher, so we did it in our magazine. Eventually it came out as a book from Pantheon. There was no expectation of it ever reaching a mainstream audience and it exploded into an extraordinary like reception, Pulitzer Prize, museum shows, **** 1991. I mean all those things were unprecedented and they opened the field for a lot more serious comics. Many of the people that we had published in RAW, such as Chris Ware or Charles Burns or Sue Coe, became artists recognized on their own found publishers, and the reason it’s a world upside down now is that at the time we were saying comics are not just for kids anymore, and now in 2010 we’re seeing comics or graphic novels accepted in museums and in bookstores, but not widely available for children, so I now feel that I have a moral duty to course correct and say wait a minute, it’s not just for adults.
Recorded on January 26, 2010
Interviewed by Austin Allen
RAW co-founder Francoise Mouly has seen comic books evolve from kids’ pastime to titillating adult medium to high-gloss art form. Should they now return to their roots?
Explore how alcohol affects your brain, from the first sip at the bar to life-long drinking habits.
- Alcohol is the world's most popular drug and has been a part of human culture for at least 9,000 years.
- Alcohol's effects on the brain range from temporarily limiting mental activity to sustained brain damage, depending on levels consumed and frequency of use.
- Understanding how alcohol affects your brain can help you determine what drinking habits are best for you.
If you want to know what makes a Canadian lynx a Canadian lynx a team of DNA sequencers has figured that out.
- A team at UMass Amherst recently sequenced the genome of the Canadian lynx.
- It's part of a project intending to sequence the genome of every vertebrate in the world.
- Conservationists interested in the Canadian lynx have a new tool to work with.
If you want to know what makes a Canadian lynx a Canadian lynx, I can now—as of this month—point you directly to the DNA of a Canadian lynx, and say, "That's what makes a lynx a lynx." The genome was sequenced by a team at UMass Amherst, and it's one of 15 animals whose genomes have been sequenced by the Vertebrate Genomes Project, whose stated goal is to sequence the genome of all 66,000 vertebrate species in the world.
Sequencing the genome of a particular species of an animal is important in terms of preserving genetic diversity. Future generations don't necessarily have to worry about our memory of the Canadian Lynx warping the way hearsay warped perception a long time ago.
Artwork: Guillaume le Clerc / Wikimedia Commons
13th-century fantastical depiction of an elephant.
It is easy to see how one can look at 66,000 genomic sequences stored away as being the analogous equivalent of the Svalbard Global Seed Vault. It is a potential tool for future conservationists.
But what are the practicalities of sequencing the genome of a lynx beyond engaging with broad bioethical questions? As the animal's habitat shrinks and Earth warms, the Canadian lynx is demonstrating less genetic diversity. Cross-breeding with bobcats in some portions of the lynx's habitat also represents a challenge to the lynx's genetic makeup. The two themselves are also linked: warming climates could drive Canadian lynxes to cross-breed with bobcats.
John Organ, chief of the U.S. Geological Survey's Cooperative Fish and Wildlife units, said to MassLive that the results of the sequencing "can help us look at land conservation strategies to help maintain lynx on the landscape."
What does DNA have to do with land conservation strategies? Consider the fact that the food found in a landscape, the toxins found in a landscape, or the exposure to drugs can have an impact on genetic activity. That potential change can be transmitted down the generative line. If you know exactly how a lynx's DNA is impacted by something, then the environment they occupy can be fine-tuned to meet the needs of the lynx and any other creature that happens to inhabit that particular portion of the earth.
Given that the Trump administration is considering withdrawing protection for the Canadian lynx, a move that caught scientists by surprise, it is worth having as much information on hand as possible for those who have an interest in preserving the health of this creature—all the way down to the building blocks of a lynx's life.
The exploding popularity of the keto diet puts a less used veggie into the spotlight.
- The cauliflower is a vegetable of choice if you're on the keto diet.
- The plant is low in carbs and can replace potatoes, rice and pasta.
- It can be eaten both raw and cooked for different benefits.
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