October 24, 1955 |
|Nationality||French; naturalized American|
|Area(s)||Publisher, editor, designer, artist, colorist|
|Notable works||Raw magazine
The New Yorker
|Awards||La Belle Dame Sans Merci, Chevalier des Arts et Lettres, Chevalier de la Legion d'Honneur|
Françoise Mouly (born October 24, 1955) is a Paris-born French artist and designer known for her work with Raw, a publication for comic art, and as art editor of The New Yorker, a position she has held since 1993. In April 2008, comics critic Jeet Heer wrote on his blog, Sans Everything: "Is there anyone in the cartooning world who is more underrated than Françoise Mouly?" and went on to give an extensive list of Mouly's achievements. She is currently the publisher and editorial director of Toon Books, an imprint of Candlewick Press. Her book, Blown Covers, was published by Abrams in April 2012, and she curated Postcards from the New Yorker: A Hundred Postcards from Ten Decades, which was released by Penguin in May 2012. She is the editor of Houghton Mifflin Harcourt's 2012 Best American Comics, released in October 2012. In 2001, Mouly was named Chevalier in the Order of Arts and Letters by the French Ministry of Culture and Communication, and in 2011, she was awarded France's highest honor: the Légion d'honneur.
Early career 
Born in Paris, Françoise Mouly studied architecture at the Beaux Arts before coming to New York for the first time in 1974 at age 19. She soon settled in a loft in Soho and survived by doing a series of odd jobs: selling cigarettes in street kiosks, actress in a Richard Foreman play, model-maker in a Japanese architectural agency, plumber, electrician, and assistant to a plastic surgeon (her father). In 1976, she met Art Spiegelman (who later became the author of Maus, in which she makes brief appearances) and discovered her passion: graphic arts and book production. From 1977–1979 Mouly was a freelance colorist for Marvel Comics, where she worked on such comics as Fantastic Four, Iron Man, Marvel Two-in-One, and Tomb of Dracula, as well as doing individual fill-ins on numerous other titles.
Raw Books 
In 1977, Mouly brought a printing press in her fourth-floor walk-up and founded a small publishing house, Raw Books & Graphics. She printed and published "mailbooks", an innovative format of eight-page booklets with postcard backs, publishing work by artists ranging from Caran d'Ache to Mark Beyer, Spiegelman and Bruno Richard. Starting in 1977, Mouly published and edited the Streets of Soho and Tribeca Map and Guide, until she sold it in 1991.
Raw magazine 
In July 1980, Mouly launched Raw, a large-format, luxuriously printed magazine of comics, graphics, and illustrated texts that she designed and co-edited with Spiegelman. Starting with the second Raw in December 1980, each issue of the magazine included a chapter of Maus, which Spiegelman had just started. Raw gathered together the work of American artists who had few other venues to publish (Charles Burns, Gary Panter, Sue Coe, Jerry Moriarty, Mark Beyer, Ben Katchor, Chris Ware, etc.), students of Spiegelman's at the School of Visual Arts (Drew Friedman, Mark Newgarden, Kaz, Jay Pulga), and European artists contacted by Mouly and Spiegelman on their trips to Europe (Javier Mariscal, Joost Swarte, Ever Meulen, Jacques Tardi, Jacques de Loustal, Lorenzo Mattotti, etc.) For the next eleven years, Mouly run the publishing house with a yearly Soho Map as the financial foundation for the business. She operated out of the Soho loft until 1987, when, pregnant with her first child, she moved the Raw offices to a ground-floor space. On top of the yearly issue of Raw, Mouly published a series of artists' books, labeled Raw One-Shots, with work by Moriarty, Beyer, Panter, Coe and others.
The New Yorker 
In February 1993, Tina Brown, a new editor who had just been brought in to revitalize The New Yorker, published a cover by Spiegelman of a Hasidic Jew kissing a black woman, an overt reference to the civil strife in the Crown Heights neighborhood of Brooklyn. There was an outpouring of protests about the breach of composure for the stately Eustace Tilley. On the strength of what she had seen at the Raw offices and the buzz surrounding the cover, Brown brought Mouly to The New Yorker as the magazine's art editor.
Mouly brought many of the Raw artists to The New Yorker (Charles Burns, R. Crumb, Chris Ware, Lorenzo Mattotti, Marisca], Joost Swarte, Ever Meulen, David Mazzucchelli, Richard McGuire, Jacques Loustal, Drew Friedman, Sue Coe, Ben Katchor and more) as well as developed and promoted new artists for the magazine (Barry Blitt, Ian Falconer, Bruce McCall, Harry Bliss, Ana Juan, Peter deSeve, Carter Goodrich, Bob Staake, Maira Kalman, Anita Kunz and more). She welcomed the newer generation of 'independent' cartoonists (Adrian Tomine, Dan Clowes, Ivan Brunetti, David Heatley, Seth and others) as well as renewed the magazine's commitment to two great New Yorker artists who had become somewhat disengaged, Saul Steinberg and Jean-Jacques Sempé. She also included a few select artists from the fine art world such as Komar and Melamid, Wayne Thiebaud, William Wegman and Kara Walker.
Mouly is responsible for all of The New Yorker's most memorable recent covers: the September 11, 2001 black on black cover she created with Art Spiegelman, the "New Yorkistan" image by Maira Kalman and Rick Meyerovitz, the "terrorist fist bump" cover by Barry Blitt in July 2008, the 'O" election cover by Bob Staake, the first New Yorker cover drawn on an iPhone, by Jorge Colombo, and, for the 85th anniversary of The New Yorker in February 2010, a 4-part cover by Chris Ware, Adrian Tomine, Dan Clowes and Ivan Brunetti with a fictional meta-narrative about the creation of Eustace Tilley by Rea Irvin.
Responsible for over 950 covers over her tenure at The New Yorker, Ms. Mouly has in addition lectured on and written extensively about New Yorker covers. In 2000, she published "Covering The New Yorker: Cutting-Edge Covers from a Literary Institution," to commemorate the magazine's 75th anniversary. In 2005, she curated an exhibit of New Yorker covers for the Norman Rockwell Museum in Stockbridge, Massachusetts. In the fall of 2007, she co-curated with Dodie Kazenjian an exhibit of paintings and drawings on the theme of Hansel and Gretel at Gallery Met in Lincoln Center. The American Society of Magazine Editors (ASME) chose two of Ms. Mouly’s covers as among the “top 40 most highly recognized, memorable, influential, compelling and iconic magazine covers of the past forty years,“ and for the first three years of the ASME award, Ms. Mouly’s work received the honor of being ASME’s “best cover of the year” or "best news cover."
Blown Covers 
In April 2012, Abrams released Mouly's newest collection, Blown Covers: New Yorker Covers You Were Never Meant to See, documenting the creative process behind The New Yorker's cover selection process. The Tumblr developed and curated by daughter Nadja Spiegelman for the book has brought together a community of artists who, weekly or monthly, propose mock New Yorker covers on changing themes.
Little Lit 
In 1998, Mouly founded the Raw Junior division, which published Little Lit, anthologies of comics for children, under a joint imprint with Joanna Cotler books. The first three volumes were large-size hardcover anthologies, gathering the work of 15 to 20 contributors in each book, such as Maurice Sendak, Jules Feiffer, William Joyce, Lemony Snicket, Neil Gaiman, Gahan Wilson, Martin Hanford, Kaz, Barbara McClintock and more. The LITTLE LIT books have been New York Times bestseller. In 2006, Mouly put together for Penguin Big Fat Little Lit, a smaller paperback gathering of most of the contents of the previous books under a new cover by Spiegelman. In 2009, Mouly put together with Spiegelman, a "TOON Treasury of Classic Children's Comics", an extensively curated hardcover anthology of the best classic American children's comics.
Toon Books 
In April 2008, she launched Toon Books, now an imprint of Candlewick Press, a collection of hardcover comics for emerging readers with titles by Spiegelman, Geoffrey Hayes, Jay Lynch, Dean Haspiel and Eleanor Davis. Toon Books promotes itself as "the first high-quality comics designed for children ages four and up."
Personal life 
Mouly appears in the 1988 documentary film Comic Book Confidential. She has received numerous awards from the Society of Illustrators and other art organisations. In 2001, she was made a Chevalier des Arts et Lettres by the French Minister of Culture. In 2011, she received France's highest award, and was named Chevalier de la Légion d'honneur by Alan Juppé, Minister of Foreign Affairs. She lives in downtown Manhattan with her husband Art Spiegelman, with whom she has two children, Nadja and Dashiell. Their older child, Nadja Spiegelman, is the author of Zig and Wikki in Something Ate My Homework, which was published by Toon Books in 2010.
Works edited and published by Mouly.
- #1 (July 1980) - "The Graphix Magazine of Postponed Suicides"
- #2 (December 1980) - "The Graphix Magazine for Damned Intellectuals"
- #3 (July 1981) - "The Graphix Magazine That Lost Its Faith in Nihilism"
- #4 (March 1982) - "The Graphix Magazine for Your Bomb Shelter's Coffee Table"
- #5 (March 1983) - "The Graphix Magazine of Abstract Depressionism"
- #6 (May 1984) - "The Graphix Magazine That Overestimates the Taste of the American Public"
- #7 (May 1985) - "The Torn-Again Graphix Magazine"
- #8 (September 1986) - "The Graphic Aspirin for War Fever"
- #1 (1989) - "Open Wounds from the Cutting Edge of Commix"
- #2 (1990) - "Required Reading for the Post-Literate"
- #3 (1991) - "High Culture for Lowbrows"
Raw one-shots and Raw Books 
- Agony by Mark Beyer
- Big Baby by Charles Burns
- Hard-Boiled Defective Stories by Charles Burns
- X by Sue Coe
- Cheap Novelties: The Pleasures of Urban Decay by Ben Katchor
- Jack Survives by Jerry Moriarty
- Invasion of the Elvis Zombies by Gary Panter
- Jimbo by Gary Panter
- How to Commit Suicide in South Africa by Holly Metz and Sue Coe
Raw Junior Books/Little Lit 
- Little Lit: Folklore & Fairy Tale Funnies, 2000
- Little Lit: Strange Stories for Strange Kids, 2001
- Little Lit: It Was a Dark and Silly Night, 2003
- Big Fat Little Lit, 2006
Toon Books 
Since the series launched in 2008, 17 titles have been published, each of which received glowing reviews and multiple awards, prizes, and distinctions.
see Toon Books for more information
- Benny and Penny in Just Pretend (Geoffrey Hayes), 2008
- Otto's Orange Day (Frank Cammuso & Jay Lynch), 2008
- Silly Lilly and the Four Seasons (Agnes Rosenstiehl), 2008
- Stinky (Eleanor Davis), 2008, a Geisel Honor book
- Mo & Jo Fighting Together Forever (Dean Haspiel & Jay Lynch), 2008
- Jack and the Box (Art Spiegelman), 2008
- Luke on the Loose (Harry Bliss), 2009
- Benny and Penny: The Big No-No! (Geoffrey Hayes), 2009, the 2010 Theodor Seuss Geisel Award winner
- Little Mouse Gets Ready (Jeff Smith (cartoonist)), 2009, a Geisel Honor book
- Benny and Penny in The Toy Breaker (Geoffrey Hayes), 2010
- Zig and Wikki in Something Ate My Homework, the first science-based early reader comic by Nadja Spiegelman and Trade Loeffler, 2010
- Silly Lilly in What Will I Be Today? (Agnes Rosenstiehl), 2011
- Patrick in a Teddy Bear's Picnic and Other Stories (Geoffrey Hayes), 2011
- Benjamin Bear in Fuzzy Thinking (Philippe Coudray), 2011
- Nina in That Makes Me Mad! (Hilary Knight & Steven Kroll), 2011
- Chick and Chickie (Claude Ponti), 2012
- Zig and Wikki in The Cow (Nadja Spiegelman & Trade Loeffler), 2012
- The Shark King (R. Kikuo Johnson), 2012
- A Trip to the Bottom of the World with Mouse (Frank Viva), 2012
- Maya Makes a Mess (Rutu Modan), 2012
- Benny and Penny in Lights Out! (Geoffrey Hayes), 2012
- The Secret of the Stone Frog (David Nytra), 2012
Covering The New Yorker 
- Abbeville Press, 2000
Blown Covers, "New Yorker" Covers You Were "Never" Meant to See 
- Abrams, 2012
- Heer, Jeet. "Françoise Mouly: Underappreciated and Essential. Is there anyone in the cartooning world who is more underrated than Françoise Mouly?" Sans Everything (April 6, 2008).. Retrieved Nov 23, 2008.
- Françoise Mouly's Marvel Comics credits at the Grand Comics Database
- "Indyworld Interview with Mouly about early days". Indyworld.com. Retrieved December 14, 2012.
- Shapiro, Edward S. (2006). Crown Heights: Blacks, Jews, and the 1991 Brooklyn Riot. UPNE. p. 211.
- "Blown Covers". Abramsbooks.com. April 30, 2012. Retrieved December 14, 2012.
- "Christian Hill interview with Mouly in Indyworld about Little Lit". Indyworld.com. Retrieved December 14, 2012.
- About Toon Books, ToonBooks.com.. Retrieved Nov 23, 2008.
- "Salem Press". Salem Press. Retrieved December 14, 2012.
- "Honors and Awards". Toon-books.com. Retrieved December 14, 2012.
- Toon Books
- Little Lit
- Françoise Mouly at the Comic Book DB
- Françoise Mouly at the Internet Movie Database
- Publishers Weekly: Calvin Reid on Mouly
- Interview with Mouly about the early days of Raw magazine
- The New Yorker
- Introduction to Covering The New Yorker
- On Blown Covers at the Comics: Philosophy and Practice conference at the University of Chicago
- Hansel and Gretel exhibit
- Reading Group Guide for The Toon Treasury of Classic Children's Comics (Abrams, 2009)