Last Monday, the art editor at the New Yorker and founder of TOON Books got a spot smack dab in the middle of GOOD Magazine. Françoise Mouly, whose relationship with comics began when she was learning English (she’s a native Frenchwoman), spoke with GOOD‘s associate editor Jed Oelbaum about kids, her 22-year stint with the New Yorker, and, of course, the incredible cultural and educational value of cartoons.
In the interview, Mouly explained that comics are important to build visual literacy, which is just as important in today’s image-driven media as word literacy. Quoting her husband, Art Spiegelman, Mouly said of the comic, “it’s a gateway to literature, as Art says, a gateway drug to reading.”
Reading is pleasure, and that’s Mouly’s entire philosophy behind TOON Books, and the captivating and playful titles that she continues to churn out. From Perdidos en NYC: una aventura en el metro by Nadja Spiegelman and illustrated by Sergio García Sánchez, to Stinky written and illustrated by Eleanor Davis, Mouly’s cartoon books are fun for children and adults, which is completely intentional: “I think it’s really important to acknowledge that both as children and adults, we are driven by a very simple pleasure principle. It has to be pleasurable to read. It has to have literary value, it has to be a good story, it has to have something where if you spend time with the pictures, it can convey a lot of meaning.”