MetaMaus

I’ve talked about Maus before, and any who has ever expressed an interest in visual storytelling has hopefully already read and appreciated the masterpiece that is Art Spiegelman’s Maus.  The complete Maus – until now – has been the two volumes first published in 1986 and 1991.  I believe I can say, without fear of reprisals, that the complete Maus must now include what is ostensibly the third volume of Spiegelman’s work: MetaMaus: a look inside a modern classic, Maus.

To the uninitiated, a book about a book – written by the same author of the original book – might seem unnecessary.  Yet Maus is one of the most important graphic novels of all-time, and one of the most poignant works on the Holocaust ever to be written.  Spiegelman has spent the years since 1986, and since his special Pulitzer Prize in 1992, answering questions like, “Why mice?”  “Why comics?’ and “Why the Holocaust?”  This book, that contains interviews with the author, tons of images and drawings, and – most fascinating to me – transcripts from Art’s original interviews with his father, Vladek, that began in 1972.  As the story of Maus is the story of his father, this was an amazing thing to read.  But to be honest, every page contains information that is simply fascinating.  Spiegelman talks about how the book was received in various countries around the world – for instance, Germany and Poland – how he designed the characters, the page layouts, everything!  The detail here is almost unheard of in the study of visual storytelling, and the literary and comic world is incredibly fortunate that the author took the time to put this book together.  It is truly a treasure trove of information, and I would recommend everyone make a space in the “must read” list for this title.  And if you somehow haven’t read the orignal Maus.  Do it.  Now.

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