Esteemed comics scholar Jeet Heer has just written a book about RAW and New Yorker Art Director Françoise Mouly entitled In Love with Art: Françoise Mouly’s Adventures in Comics with Art Spiegelman. Art comics enthusiasts won’t need to know much more than that, but here’s an excerpt that reveals the behind the scenes story of the famous 9/11 New Yorker cover of black-on-black towers:
She still felt that no image—painting, drawing or photo—could do justice to what she and the rest of New York had just experienced. She had another idea: What about an all-black cover? A cover that, as per her neighbor’s argument, wasn’t a cover. Spiegelman wanted his image to run but thought that if the New Yorker was going that route, it should be combined with his own suggestion: How about a silhouette of the towers against a black background, black on black? “That actually felt like the most creative solution,” Mouly says now. She drew up a cover based on their ideas. “When I saw it, even before I presented it to my editor, I was like ‘Oh my god, this actually is the answer, the negative answer, to what I was looking for because it is such a strong statement.’”
It’s an interesting piece on the thinking that goes into the making of such a famed conceptual image.