The Casual Optimist

Books, Design and Culture

Françoise Mouly and the One-Image Narrative

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R. Fiore reviews In Love With Art, Jeet Heer’s shory book on Françoise Mouly, for The Comics Journal:

At this point is there any more important editor in periodical illustration than Françoise Mouly? With so many erstwhile venues for illustration being driven online, where any illustration is rendered into spot illustration, The New Yorker could be the big time all by itself. Unless Spiegelman comes into the office with her we have to assume this is an adventure without him. The New Yorker cover of the William Shawn era was essentially wallpaper, the perfect decoration for the better kind of dentist’s office. (Not least because it didn’t matter how old the magazine was.) The New Yorker cover of the Mouly era is not only more topical than it used to be, but is also frequently a one-image narrative. The ultimate Mouly-era narrative cover is Adrian Tomine’s November 8, 2004 cover: A young man and woman spot each other reading the same book in subway trains going in opposite directions, and not only have not encountered but will lose each other in a second’s time. (Though it would have been a hell of an advertisement for Chance Encounters classifieds if they had them.) The effect is to put the cartoonist at the center of the world of illustration.

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