Rediscover: Maus

This August marks the 35th anniversary of Art Spiegelman's Maus, which is as much a publishing industry landmark as it is a reminder of the evils of Nazism. Maus helped transform mainstream opinion of the graphic novel from "mere" comic book to serious work of art. In the book, Spiegelman uses anthropomorphic animals--Jews as mice, Germans as cats and Poles as pigs--to tell the story of his parents during the Holocaust. In 1992, Maus became the first graphic novel to win a Pulitzer Prize. In 1996, Pantheon published The Complete Maus: A Survivor's Tale ($35), and in 2011, it published MetaMaus, a behind-the-scenes look at the making of Maus with a supplementary DVD ($35).

In an interview from 2008 about the 30th anniversary edition of Breakdowns: Portrait of the Artist as a Young %@&*! (Pantheon), Spiegelman said, "I can't control the entire outside world and make the political reality better. But it seems that all of the stuff I dreamed about comics back in the '70s is now a done deal. It's sort of like living in some kind of Philip K. Dick-land.... In Maus, I was spinning all those lessons I'd learned in the Breakdowns scripts in reverse to make you fluidly enter, so if you didn't want to, you didn't notice you were reading a comic after about the first few pages."

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