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Breakdowns: Portrait D...
 
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Art Spiegelman
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Breakdowns: Portrait De L'artiste En Jeune..

3.78 of 5 stars 3.78  ·  rating details  ·  895 ratings  ·  75 reviews
Breakdowns, the legendary and long out-of-print 1978 collection of comics by Art Spiegelman, Pulitzer Prize-winning author of Maus, presents the seminal works that changed how comics are made and appreciated today. Innovative, serious, funny, and many decades ahead of its time, the book is presented here in its entirety...along with an introduction almost as long as the bo...more
Published 2008 by Casterman (first published January 1st 1977)
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(showing 1-30 of 1,600)
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Jason
A terrific book that chronicles Spiegelman's coming-of-age amidst a jewish upbringing condemned to neurotic blame and guilt put on by the holocaust. it's a declaration of how he arrived to be a comic book artist, his father exclaiming "you have to use what little space you have to pack inside everything you can"...one suitcase...in case the Nazis come...to "everything you can" in a tiny graphic square. he is an experimental concept artist, exploring the implications of the frame, of making victi...more
Sam Quixote
"Breakdowns" is a reprint of the same book published in the 70s except with a brief autobiographical intro by the author. The intro features nothing new to anyone with a passing interest in artists/writers: growing up Spiegelman wasn't good at sports so he turned to the life of the mind. He was influenced by MAD magazine, R.Crumb, and Peanuts. Wow, just like everyone else who grew up to be a cartoonist then.

Then onto the book itself which features short strips. One is a dry and unfunny examinat...more
Jenny
Every time I read something by Spiegelman, I end up getting addicted. Just like with the other three works I've read by him, I started this in bed and ended up staying awake just to finish it. It's not as compelling as Maus or In the Shadow of No Towers, but it's interesting and enjoyable and fun to read. It's very meta, which I like, with a lot of self-referentiality. Spiegelman created/wrote the introduction and the afterword to this new edition of Breakdowns, which was already a compilation o...more
Dominick
Well, if nothing else, this book makes clear, to those not already aware of it, what a high opinion Spiegelman has of himself. Not that it's entirely unjustified, of course; he is a master of comics technique, as is abundantly evident here. He's also an impressive stylist, capable both of striking images in his "own" style and excellent pastiche work of various figures, not to mention cunning use of collage. But he also comes across as pretty consistently impressed with himself, which is unseeml...more
Artur Coelho
Originalmente publicado em 1976, este é um livro que literalmente nos deixa espantados. É Spiegelman no seu mais radical e experimentalista, a inovar a cada vinheta, procurando novas formas de falar a linguagem da banda desenhada e quebrando todas as regras. Estes trabalhos autobiográficos e experimentais são uma lição sobre a procura dos limites de um género expressivo, e nalguns casos meta-reflexão sobre a estrutura semântica da gramática da BD.

Algo que surpreende é a aparente facilidade que...more
Josephus FromPlacitas
The book is a collection of short strips, reprinting a short collection of "experimental" strips from the 1970s, with an introductory batch of new strips and an afterword giving the back story of the reprinted book.

The more accessible the strips, the more I was able to enjoy them. And the more the future New Yorker editor pontificates on and scrutinizes The Meaning And Practice Of Art, the less I could feign interest.

It's almost as if there is a constant war between the artist, the filmmaker,...more
Jacob
Library copy. Well, I liked the autobiographical short stories and Spiegelman is great at changing up art styles after other famous cartoonists, but I just don't have a care for any of the experimental efforts he puts in his work. As far as I am concerned it's usually a waste of time to do any Warhol homages. While the book has an Adults Only tag on the cover I am not sure that's enough to keep this book out of younger reader's hands. I'm fine with nudity, but there were a couple instances of ha...more
Pascale
A very disappointing book. I initially was thrilled to hear that Art Spiegelman, the author of legendary graphic novel “Maus,” was going to be in Portland in mid-October as part of the Powell’s Book Events series. Like many others, I paid my $5 to get in at the Bagdad Theater.
Despite poor lighting in the auditorium, which, from my vantage point at the back of the room, made Spiegelman’s backlit silhouette appear vaguely ant-like as he was standing in the shadows in front of a projector screen,...more
Antoine
Art Spiegelman et Maus, Maus et Art Spiegelman, rarement une œuvre aura autant collé à son auteur. Cet extraordinaire témoignage a trouvé sa place dans la liste des ouvrages qui ont marqué leur art et mis son créateur dans la position, parfois inconfortable, de "Grand". Après le discutable et discuté À l’ombre des tours mortes, album réaction aux attentats du 11 septembre 2001, Breakdowns s'attache aux débuts de l’auteur. A moitié constitué de récits anciens et à moitié de bandes-commentaires su...more
Brenna
Aside from his penchant for obnoxiously-oversized books, Art Spiegelman demands shelf space in any comics aficionado's abode. With Breakdowns: Portrait of the Artist as a Young %@&*!, the reader is actually presented with a fusion of two separate books - his infamous $8.95 foray into underground comix, 1977's Breakdowns (which features the appropriately-sized "Hell Planet" story seen by most readers in Maus, which is itself a vastly extended version of the three-page 1972 "Maus" story as it...more
tENTATIVELY, cONVENIENCE
I probably started checking out Underground Comix in the early 1970s when I was a teenager. Given that I was growing out of reading the Marvel Comics (& such-like) & Mad Magazines that had been so central to my childhood, I don't think I was really much in the mood to be impressed by any comics anymore. I reckon I had hopes that underground comics wd provide more profoundly current philosophical perspectives & I reckon that they probably did - but I still don't recall being impressed...more
Matt
Spiegelman has a way of making humor and entertainment out of angst, guilt, anxiety, and high art. Breakdowns was obviously a very ambitious project in the 70s and is important today as an example of early attempts to make comics that had some critical merit and made readers laugh. In my opinion, the confessional and autobiographical pieces that were presented in a straightforward manner were more enjoyable, moving, and/or funny than some of the postmodern strips that experiment with things like...more
Martin Crim
Rereading this book tonight after finding it on a forgotten shelf, I am reminded of how Art Spiegelman is an artist, creating art because he must, and the exact opposite of a hack. He created and is most famous for The Complete Maus, his memoir about his parents' lives surviving the Nazi Holocaust. I was familiar with him before that, for his amazingly soul-baring "Prisoner of the Hell Planet," about his mother's suicide. Now he lives in the shadow of his own success, and finds it hard to do art...more
Robert Tidwell
I haven't read much of Art Spiegelman's work. in fact, I only know Maus. This work is not Maus. This is something else. It's an anthology of sorts, a memoir in a way, and a glimpse into his process. As an artist, this fascinated me to know end. It's personal. It's experimental. It's honest. There is a lot here, despite it not being very long. It's great for sitting on my coffee table or my work space.
Helen
Breakdowns... is a collection of assorted autobiographical and experimental strips Spiegelman collected in the mid seventies, republished in 2004 with some updated content and a new afterword.

The visual and narrative content are both a little all over the place, as you'd expect from a collection that collects some of the artist's early work before the creation of Maus. The autobiographical pieces are especially interesting, especially "Planet Hell" and the incidents that led to Spiegelman writi...more
Julia Pineda
I am a little bit biased when it comes to Spiegelman's works, as I have loved his work since high school. This book examines things from both an adult and young adult perspective, which I think is excellent. It merges vignettes and random stories throughout the beginning, and then goes on to explorative art and writing, including essays and orginal versions of Maus before he perfected them and had them published. As many people previous to be have commented, one of the most inetersting things in...more
Paul Schulzetenberg
Art Spiegelman is one of the most powerful comic artists I know. This is a collection of an old comic that was almost published, then wasn't, then was again, along with an new comic that focuses on his childhood. That old comic was a collection of short pieces he had done up to that point, and they show Spiegelman's more raw, R. Crumb-esque nature.

Breakdowns is interesting from an artistic point of view, and interesting as a document to trace Spiegelman's growth, but that's all it is. It doesn't...more
Thomas Hayes
As the title states it really is a portrait not a book. You don't expect a visual artist to capture their whole spectrum of work in a single portrait do you? You are looking for a moment of reflection. If you came to it looking for another complete story like Maus you will be disappointed. If you came to this because you are interested in his other work and are looking for insight into his journey as an artist you will enjoy it immensely. Definitely not for children, there are many wonderful vig...more
Rachel
I just looooooove Art Spiegelman. He's, like, just disturbing enough to make me feel artsy, somehow accessible without talking down or oversimplifying. This volume is especially rewarding for those who already know and love his work, or at least other graphic novels. Please do not read this as your first graphic novel! A) it's not really one because it's a bunch of little stories. B) it's like reading Rimbaud as your first French reading, or your first poetry. Might work for some people, but in...more
Maria Skyllas
I discovered a darker side of Art Spiegelman, which I loved. Great book, but mostly for fans.
Lars Guthrie
Very dense and multilayered, this requires more commitment and effort from the reader than its size (big but thin) and format (comix) indicate. Spiegelman republishes his 1978 anthology (of work before "Raw" and obviously, "Maus") but surrounds it with contextualization--a comix introduction and an illustrated afterword--that extend its scope and make it more than an artifact of the hippie underground. At the same time that Spiegelman was deconstructing comic book/strip conventions, he was const...more
Peter Landis
Art: 4.5 stars
Story: 2.5 stars
Judith
Breakdowns: Portrait of the Artist as a Young %@&*! by Art Spieglman combines a brief but compelling graphic memoir with a facsimile of Speigelman’s 1978 book Breakdowns, a collection of his early comics. From life with his Holocaust refugee parents – the inspiration for his Pulitzer Prize-winning, Maus – to his own nervous breakdown, the memoir introduces the rerelease of Breakdowns, a selection of his experimental underground comics that failed when it was published, only to become a covet...more
James
If you, like me, only know Spiegelman for Maus, then this really is a must-read. It would be easy, depending on the reading around the subject of comics you do, to think that his significance in the artform pretty much boils down to that one seminal work. This book is a chance to see the man behind Maus, his own story, where he's come from, his formative years in comics. I'll admit I struggle with underground comics from the 60s and 70s and this, like Crumb, is hard work at times, but its worth...more
Peacegal
Damn, this book is big. On the upside, it makes it easier on my increasingly-poor eyes to read the comics. On the downside, I look like an idiot toting it around.

The word that came to mind while viewing this book was “motley.” From the original three-page strip that inspired Spiegelman’s haunting Maus to a bunch of avant-garde cartoons, Breakdown amasses the early work of this acclaimed artist. While the technical skill was superb, some of the rambling, plotless comics were so nonsensical that...more
Oliver
I got this book for my dad for Christmas, but I couldn't help reading it during my visit to Fort Collins. In fact, as the clock struck 2009 I was sitting in bed in my childhood bedroom reading this book. This is a collection of Spiegelman's early work, mostly from the 1970s. Compared to Maus, this is not exceptional, but it's interesting to see more personal glimpses of Spiegelman's life, as well as an earlier short version of Maus. Some of the comics were not great, but the drawings and the aes...more
Jaap
Dit boek heeft mijn beeld van Art Spiegelman echt immens veranderd - in eerste instantie een schrijver en tekenaar van MAUS, en, eigenlijk, alleen MAUS, en dan nog niet eens de schrijver en tekenaar van Maus, maar de schrijver en tekenaar van wat ik dacht dat Maus zou zijn.

Breakdowns humaniseert Spiegelman zover dat ik waarschijnlijk Maus niet gelezen zou hebben als ik niet Breakdowns eerst had gelezen.

Wel jammer dat ik in dit recensietje me vooral richt op Het Grote Andere Boek van Spiegelman,...more
Barry
Pretty good. Although it becomes a little too dense, abstract and obscure at some points, much of BREAKDOWNS is a great read. Just don't pick it up if you want a standard comic; read this if you want something a little different. Also, because of the abstract nature of some of the chapters, I definitely recommend reading BREAKDOWNS after Scott McCloud's UNDERSTANDING COMICS (which I recommend reading anyway). Although Spiegelman explicates these sections in his Afterward, some deeper context is...more
Edwin Arnaudin
Spiegelman had me at "hello" with "Maus," so I'd probably read what he has to say about glue. I shouldn't have been surprised with the oversized presentation, especially after "In The Shadow of No Towers." It's a rare treat to read something so bulky yet comfortable.

As with his other experimental comix (that's the correct terminology, right? I'm not trying to be pretentious), I don't always get what he's trying to say in this collection, but I appreciate it all and when something connects, it's...more
Andy
This book has a very narrrow appeal and I only picked it up because I had finished Maus I and II and was curious as to other works by Art Spiegelman. The fact is, while a genius, he's not very prolific. The work in this book, while certainly innovative, was done in the late 1960s/early 1970s and has this underground, Robert Crumb appeal. Unless you're really into comics as an art form, I'd just skip ahead to the afterward by Spiegleman, which offers good insght into his career and creative proce...more
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Art Spiegelman (born Itzhak Avraham ben Zeev) is New-York-based comics artist, editor, and advocate for the medium of comics, best known for his Pulitzer Prize-winning comic memoir, Maus.
More about Art Spiegelman...
Maus, I: A Survivor's Tale: My Father Bleeds History (Maus, #1) Maus, II: And Here My Troubles Began (Maus, #2) The Complete Maus (Maus, #1-2) In the Shadow of No Towers MetaMaus: A Look Inside a Modern Classic, Maus

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