Tuesday, November 15, 2011


This year marks the 25th anniversary of the release of Art Spiegelman's Maus, his Pulitzer prize-winning Holocaust memoir of his father, and Pantheon recently released a new edition (there's no new content, this just being a really nice hardcover edition with a new cover and no annoying dust jacket). Maus, is not only an account of how Vladek, Art Spiegelman's father, survived the Holocaust, it's also a look into a father and a son, who couldn't come from two more distant worlds and how they relate (or don't) to each other.

Maus, like no other account of what the Holocaust was that I'd been introduced to in school or in other media (and before the early 1980s, there was very little out there that was shared), opened my eyes and mind to the horror that people are capable of towards other people. And Maus could have just been a sentimental, very horrifying, and sad account of this part of the world's history, but Art Spiegleman, in Maus, redefined what autobiographical / biographical graphic novels could be, hence his winning the Pulitzer prize, which no other sequential art creation has been awarded. Maus is every much as important (and not in the it's a chore to read sense) graphic novel as it was when it first debuted and I firmly believe that if you only read one graphic novel ever, Maus should be that book (and it's an excellent introductory graphic novel to share with your loved ones).

Also recently released by Pantheon is MetaMaus, Art Spieglman's incredibly dense hardcover archive of what went into his creation of Maus. MetaMaus also comes with a DVD that includes some of his interviews with his father, drawings, photos, and other essays). I'm only on page 75 of this book (300 pages with lots of preliminary art and photos, with color throughout) and haven't gotten to experience the DVD yet, but this is obviously as entirely engaging as anyone who has read Maus would imagine it to be and is also a MUST read for people who want to learn more about the Holocaust and the creative process itself.

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