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No other “comic book” has been as honored in literary and cultural circles as much (and deservedly) as Art Spiegelman’s Maus (I + II). It was the first comix memoir to be covered in The New York Times Book Review (“Cats, Mice and History: The Avant-Garde of the Comic Strip” by Ken Tucker), the first to receive a Pulitzer Prize — and Maus is heralded as the father of graphic novels (if only to provide an easily comprehensive sales term/genre for this autobiographic, historic yet anthropomorphic visual narrative).
Although Spiegleman raised the level of comics through magazines like Arcade and RAW and through books in the RAW Books and Graphics imprint, as well as lectures, essays and an opera, Maus his lasting impact on popular culture and contribution to comic lit. So it is appropriate that for the twenty-fifth anniversary of the first edition Spieg has produced an autobiography (in interview format) about his autobiography.
MetaMaus is the culmination of many years of archive delving and soul searching. It is a history, memoir, confessional and philosophical unpacking of this seminal comic artwork and artifact.
In addition to an informative, at times emotional, story, the book includes a “bonus” DVD with a wealth of Maus-ania and Holocaust documents. There is a curiously raw humor to everything Spiegelman produces, and this MetaMaus package is no exception. While created as a companion to Maus, the book stands on its own as a study and celebration of comics today.
(Listen to Spiegelman on NPR’s archive here.)