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Why Francoise Mouly Should Be a Household Name


A really interesting piece over at Sans Everything, asking why Francoise Mouly is so ignored by the larger design, illustration and cartoonist communities and not widely recognized as the influential and brilliant person she is. The site lays out some of the problems she suffers in not being recognized, like being the wife of Art Spiegelman, who most people tend to shift their focus on with the two. But the site also plots out, in great detail, why we should start standing up and demanding that she be added to the canon of greats. It’s a wonderful read and perfect, if her name doesn’t any ring any bells for you, to provide you with an excellent primer. Here’s a bit:

4. Shaking up The New Yorker. It would take a much longer essay than a mere blog post to discuss Mouly’s tenure as art editor at The New Yorker (from 1993 to the present). But briefly, I’d say her main achievement has been to bring the energy of Raw into the venerable magazine. Prior to her work at The New Yorker, the covers of that magazine tended to be all too sedate and calm, especially during late-Shawn era somnolence (many, many covers of leaves falling from trees as well as gardens. It’s noteworthy how daring many of Mouly-era covers have been, how impish and sly also. She’s also resurrected the genre of the narrative cover. Mouly noticed that classic New Yorker artist Mary Petty did covers that told a story over many issues. This inspired Chris Ware to do his multi-cover Thanksgiving story). The best covers of the Mouly era repay very close attention: they’re dense with stories and visual information.

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