MetaMaus: A Look Inside A Modern Classic, Maus

Art Spiegelman. Pantheon, $35 (320p) ISBN 978-0-375-42394-9
In 1986, Spiegelman broke ground on a new art form with his book-length comic Maus. Arguably the first recognizable example of the graphic novel, the comic recounted his father's experiences as a Holocaust survivor and Spiegelman's own attempts to make sense of his family's history. In this new volume of prose based on interviews with his editor Hillary Chute, Spiegelman reveals the arduous process that took him from his inspiration for the book to its impact on literary history. Where other books of this kind tend toward self-indulgence, Spiegelman takes a profoundly intimate approach, laying bare piles of concept art, family photographs, genealogies, Holocaust propaganda, rejection letters, and interviews with his wife and children. The result is an extraordinary look at the history of comics and Spiegelman's life through the lens of Maus; it's also an excellent short course on how to use graphics in comics storytelling. The book's design has been executed with as much care as the content of the interviews themselves, and scarcely a page goes by without some image to reinforce the narrative. If these aren't enough, the book comes with a DVD of supplemental materials that could keep the reader immersed in Spiegelman's world for days. (Oct.)
Reviewed on: 10/31/2011
Release date: 10/01/2011
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