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MetaMaus: A Look Inside a Modern Classic, Maus [Hardcover]

Art Spiegelman
5.0 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (2 customer reviews)
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Book Description

Oct. 4 2011

***NATIONAL JEWISH BOOK AWARD WINNER***

Visually and emotionally rich, MetaMaus is as groundbreaking as the masterpiece whose creation it reveals.

 
In the pages of MetaMaus, Art Spiegelman re-enters the Pulitzer prize–winning Maus, the modern classic that has altered how we see literature, comics, and the Holocaust ever since it was first published twenty-five years ago.
 
He probes the questions that Maus most often evokes—Why the Holocaust? Why mice? Why comics?—and gives us a new and essential work about the creative process.
 
MetaMaus includes a bonus DVD-R that provides a digitized reference copy of The Complete Maus linked to a deep archive of audio interviews with his survivor father, historical documents, and a wealth of Spiegelman’s private notebooks and sketches.
 
Compelling and intimate, MetaMaus is poised to become a classic in its own right.


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MetaMaus: A Look Inside a Modern Classic, Maus + The Complete Maus: A Survivor's Tale
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Review

“Richly rewarding…The book also serves as a master class on the making and reading of comics…The last frame encapsulates in one single moment the artfulness behind the tale we’ve just read, and the uneasy combination of filial pride and anger that flowed through Maus and flows through Metamaus as well.” –The New York Times Book Review

 Why the Holocaust? Why mice? Why comics? Spiegelman answers intelligently, articulately, and with a high degree of psychological and aesthetic penetration.” –Booklist, starred review

As a floor plan for endless exploration, it is the Haus That “Maus” Built…Pick any page and gaze. The windows into these stories about the story are to be found at every turn, filling the space with insightful light.” –Washington Post’s Comic Riffs
 
“Art Spiegelman has done more than any other writer of the last few decades to change our understanding of the way stories about the Holocaust can be written…MetaMaus is a profound meditation on the meaning of sources and the uses we make of them.” –The New Republic   

“A fascinating meditation on art, writing, and one of the darkest periods in human history.” –The Atlantic

“Striking…a treasure trove of material.” –Shelf Awareness 
 
“Fascinating and often provocative…the accompanying DVD will satisfy the insatiable appetite.” –Kirkus 

“Sure to breed excitement.” –Library Journal 

“Mr. Spiegelman’s new book, MetaMaus, functions as a kind of artist’s scrapbook, chapbook, photo album and storage trunk. Packed with more extras than a new ‘Transformers’ DVD, it’s a look back at Maus and its complicated composition and reception…Mr. Spiegelman is a witty and testy raconteur, and Ms. Chute knows a good deal about comics and she pulls good things from him…Spiegelman is charismatic, and the photographs of him sprinkled throughout are pretty delightful.” –New York Times 

“Few books have made as much impact as Maus has. MetaMaus explores this impact, as well as providing some of the original notebook material on the graphic novels…[contains] the single most powerful graphic representation of the effects of the Holocaust…If you are serious about comics or the Holocaust, this book should be on your shelf.” –San Francisco Book Review

“Spiegelman is well-spoken and insightful, and is one of those rare creators who can talk coherently about his own work and process…MetaMaus is thoroughly illustrated with excerpts from Spiegelman's sketchbook, from the original source materials he used when creating his book, and news clippings and other ephemera from the books' storied history…Gripping and smart.” –Cory Doctorow, BoingBoing

“Each page is more beautiful than the next…you’ll find yourself as engrossed in it as you were in Maus.” –Jewish Book Council Blog

MetaMaus is an intriguing look into the guts of a massive artistic-historical project. With its visual, textual and historical components, the book untangles the tight narrative and visual knots into which the medium, the message and the process of ‘Maus’ are tied. With grist to millers of either ‘Maus,’ Spiegelman or both, it is a must-have item.” –Forward 
 
“Like a director's commentary track, the new MetaMaus provides a kind of behind-the-scenes ‘Inside Maus’ that rewards us with insights this reviewer, for one, was too blown away to perceive the first time around…It is nothing less than a treatise on the rhythm and grammar of comics storytelling. The visual vocabulary he utilizes turns out to be more ingenious than you (or I, at least) ever suspected.” –Barnes and Noble review 

MetaMaus will leave even the most ardent admirers of Maus newly in awe of its author's creative courage, ingenuity and stamina.” –San Francisco Chronicle

“When I heard that Pantheon was putting out a commemorative book, I kept forgetting what it was called: was it MegaMaus or MetaMaus? The book, MetaMaus, published this month, is actually both: mega meta…If Maus has been a touchstone for you over the last decades, you have a new way to understand this moving and revolutionary book.” –Studio 360 “Staff Pick”

“If you love Maus, this is the book for you; it’s practically a must-have.” –Comic Book Bin
 
“What do you get for the classic graphic novel that has everything? MetaMaus is the answer… It’s an amazing package, one certainly worthy of awards consideration.” –Comics Waiting Room

MetaMaus is so much more than a companion; it is a true work of genius art and design…This is a companion in the truest terms, a work of art that leaves no stone unturned, or allows for any doubt or question, and for casual readers of the Pulitzer winning book to the most intense of academics or comic book aficionados, it’s a real boon.” –ComicBuzz.com

“The three longest chapters provide nuanced and richly illustrated answers to the questions every reader has probably asked: "Why the Holocaust?" "Why mice?" and "Why comics?" Chute is a skilled and knowledgeable interviewer, Spiegelman a witty, introspective subject, so the process yields insightful observations on the nature of comics, the relationship between reality and narrative, the dynamics of families, and the Holocaust itself.” –Minneapolis Star-Tribune
 
“a beautiful book, both in visuals and themes, as the writer and artist is interviewed by Hillary Chute about the book that will not die, that he cannot escape, that he wishes would’ve been discovered only after 25 years after his death instead of being talked about for 25 years straight…mind-blowing.” –Bookgasm.com

“A rich, provocative and visually intriguing work of art, memoir and literary history…eye-catching and highly kinetic…a rare opportunity to witness for ourselves how a masterpiece is conceived and comes into existence.” –Jewish Journal gift guide   
 
“A treasure trove, a wonderful way to dive as deeply into this seminal work as you wish…Maus is one of the very few [books] that can live up to this scrutiny, where the creation is strong enough and so thematically rich as to stand up to the examination, and the artist still has new insight to provide.” –ComicsWorthReading.com 
  
“A truly inspiring look at the creative process.” –Forces of Geek Holiday Gift Guide
 
“For the past sixty years, Holocaust survivors have expressed their stories in writing. However, few have revolutionized the way people looked at the Holocaust as much as Maus. In his new autobiography, MetaMaus, Spiegelman takes the reader through the inception, process, and completion of his innovative graphic narrative...perhaps the most enchanting and captivating part of this autobiography is the artwork that enhances each page. The book is filled with Spiegelman’s rough sketches, inspirations, previous work, and even family photos.” –Jewish Book World

“A fascinating look into how art and history are made.” –Sacramento News & Review

“I found myself repeatedly surprised, even shocked, by new information regarding a book I felt pretty confident I knew a lot about already…If anyone wants to argue about the ideal form of books about comics, I think Spiegelman has offered a hell of an opening argument with MetaMaus.” –Comic Book Resources

“I found myself repeatedly surprised, even shocked, by new information regarding a book I felt pretty confident I knew a lot about already…If anyone wants to argue about the ideal form of books about comics, I think Spiegelman has offered a hell of an opening argument with MetaMaus.” –Comic Book Resources
 
“At the risk of ruffling Donald's feathers, it could be argued that Maus, Art Spiegelman's aching Holocaust tale, is as compelling a comics creation as the best of Mickey. MetaMaus details the back story and making of Spiegelman's masterpiece, now 25 years old, and as an invaluable bonus it moves the entire saga onto interactive DVD, with hyperlinked audio commentary, voice recordings of Spiegelman's father, working sketches and essays.” –NPR.org

“The final component of his now legendary Maus epic and a fascinating look into the creative journey Spiegelman undertook to bring it all to light.” –Critical Mob, Critical Books of 2001 

“Contains a wealth of extra material. In addition to the many photos, sketches and art samples throughout the book, an accompanying enhanced DVD contains thousands of sketches, video footage of Auschwitz, an archive of illustrated pamphlets by Polish camp survivors, audio recordings of Spiegelman’s interviews with his late father and—most impressively—the entirety of Maus in an annotated and searchable digital format…It was a comic about horror and survival, and if it had never been we would be all the poorer for its absence.” –New City 
 
“The 300-page full-color hardback and companion ...

About the Author

Art Spiegelman has been a staff artist and contributing editor at The New Yorker, as well as the cofounder/coeditor of RAW, the acclaimed magazine of avant-garde comics and graphics. In addition to Maus—which was awarded the Pulitzer Prize and twice nominated for the National Book Critics Circle Award—he is the author of Breakdowns and In the Shadow of No Towers. He lives in New York City with his wife, Françoise Mouly . . . and a cat.

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Customer Reviews

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Most helpful customer reviews
2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Interesting, Moving, Insightful Oct. 9 2011
Format:Hardcover
The insight of this work is captivating and inspiring. The honesty with which Spiegelman deconstructs his seminal work is brutal and refreshing. The materials on the DVD are a time warp. Listening to Vladek and seeing the sketches and process that went in to the creation of the work puts you in the mouse hole with Art as he was making Maus.
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5.0 out of 5 stars Excellent book Feb. 21 2013
Format:Hardcover|Verified Purchase
I recommend it as a complement to the original Maus book. It gives you insights into Spiegelman thinking and life.
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Most Helpful Customer Reviews on Amazon.com (beta)
Amazon.com: 4.4 out of 5 stars  39 reviews
38 of 41 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Excellent Oct. 16 2011
By Vivvian Lansky - Published on Amazon.com
Format:Hardcover
I am about halfway through the book and haven't even popped the DVD in yet. It's so good I spent the entire weekend wrapped up on the couch with it. If you love the Maus books, you're going to go nuts for this. If you're a writer or a comics maker you're going to love this. If you're a history buff, you're going to love this. I don't usually write reviews but it only had 3 stars and that's just wrong. This is the best of the best.
13 of 16 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars To say the two volumes that comprise Maus have changed the face of comics is an understatement Nov. 7 2011
By GraphicNovelReporter.com - Published on Amazon.com
Format:Hardcover
The two volumes that comprise Maus stand as two of the most important books of the past 25 years. To say they changed the face of comics is an understatement (Maus won the Pulitzer Prize in 1992, the first book of its kind to do so). Maus is a cultural phenomenon, studied in schools around the world for its brilliant look at the Holocaust from a unique perspective. Few books have managed to capture the story of surviving the concentration camps and the effects it had not only on survivors but also their descendants as well as Maus manages to. Its creator, Art Spiegelman, managed in the books' pages to capture the cold brutality of the world without blinking or flinching. It is impossible to read Maus and not come away changed somehow. Reading this powerful story puts something deep inside you.

A quarter of a century after the first volume's publication, Pantheon is publishing MetaMaus, a comprehensive look into the book, its author, World War II and the Holocaust, Spiegelman's family, and so much more. This is an incredibly complex companion to the work, and it opens the book up in fascinating ways. A bonus DVD included with the book also features compelling and informative material to build understanding of Maus.

Multiple interviews with Spiegelman permeate MetaMaus, capturing the creator at various stages of his life and in various states of reflection about his creation. We learn why he chose rodents to portray his people, how he felt about the book and what he wanted it to accomplish, and more. Spiegelman has always been a challenging figure in comics--he wants a profound reaction from the reader, and he won't settle for a timid response. His own analyses of his work and its impact are fascinating, for the simple fact that he is so vehemently introspective and at the same time so immersed in the world around him. He is an interesting guide to his own book, both as a work of art and as a cultural touchstone.

MetaMaus asks many questions, and Spiegelman attempts to answer them all. The interviews, the history lessons, the back stories, the interviews with Spiegelman's wife and children, the stories about the protests the book generated--even the spread presenting the multiple rejection letters from publishers when the book was initially submitted--all fill the history of one of the greatest graphic works ever published. Like Maus itself, some of the book is challenging, difficult to read and stomach, and hard to wrap your head around. It's worth it. The book will be a great companion to Maus.

Reviewed by John Hogan
6 of 7 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars An essential primer for an essential book Oct. 26 2011
By MrHonorama - Published on Amazon.com
Format:Hardcover|Verified Purchase
The bulk of the book is comprised of interviews with Art Spiegelman. In these interviews, he discusses how the book was made, what inspired his art, and why he made major creative decisions. Getting an in depth breakdown of Maus is fascinating enough, but like the work itself, it is colored by what Maus depicts, both as a historical work and a personal story. Moreover, the book also let me know what Spiegelman is like, and he is quite the conversationalist. There are little detours into other aspects. I found the interview with Spiegelman's wife to be particularly affecting, because she provides a whole new perspective on Vladek that leads to an extremely poignant anecdote.

The book is chock full of panels, sketches, studies and other pictures relevant to the story of telling the story. The only part that could have been improved is the transcript of the first interview with Vladek -- the print is simply too small. This transcript, and others, are on the DVD, which I've just delved into. So far, I haven't experienced some of the problems others have had, but I would agree that having the DVD insert in the front cover is better in concept that in execution.

But the flaws are minor, and should not detract from this welcome addition to the Maus canon.
6 of 7 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars DVD is a powerful and important addition Oct. 16 2011
By Samantha Wasko - Published on Amazon.com
Format:Hardcover
A terrific look at the making and history of a defining book. The DVD (which ran without trouble on my laptop) adds a new layer of discovery to the story. I hooked my computer up to a projector and was quickly transported into Spiegelman's rich drawings and innermost thoughts on the big screen. The DVD is worth the purchase alone.
7 of 9 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Will recommend for my University course - at the end of the semester. March 21 2012
By Marty A. Michelson - Published on Amazon.com
Format:Hardcover
I first developed a course on Antisemitism and Holocaust/Shoah studies as a University Professor in the 1990s.

Learners have questioned why we read MAUS - "a comic book" - for university work! By the end of the course, nearly every learner knows why. MAUS, with Spiegelman's compelling artistic skill in this graphic novel, discerns the before-during-and-after of holocaust experience in important ways. MAUS explores textures of the story in images that no traditional "type-set-page" can capture.

I recently ordered and received Meta-Maus - and I could not be more delighted with what it does!

The book (and DVD/CD) give answers to many varied questions learners in my course (and I) have had! Meta-Maus gives supplemental biography, details about family matters, explanatory historical issues, explanation of images on multiple pages, personal insight, other images of Spiegelman's other art that frame his maturation as an artist, book reception reviews, copies of draft versions of individual strips of comics, and so much more.

Several reviews on Amazon note the failure of the DVD/CD. My DVD/CD arrived March 2012 and I had no problems on my PC. Regardless, if the DVD/CD had not worked, the book itself is great. Having read it, I would have paid twice the purchase price for the book alone. (Don't tell Pantheon Books, the publisher!)

At this time I do not believe I will use Meta-Maus as a required course-textbook. I will encourage every learner to get Meta-Maus *after* they have read and discerned the nuance of MAUS.

Meta-Maus, in my opinion, should be read only after carefully discerning the complexity and genius and artistic importance of MAUS.

If you did not appreciate or can not discern the complexity, genius, and artistic importance of MAUS, and you hope the DVD/CD will be a "cliff-notes-version" for a quick substitute to engaging MAUS, you have missed out already.

If you appreciate MAUS, I can not conceivably imagine how you could be disappointed with Meta-Maus - the book alone! And the DVD/CD is exceptional, too!

[...]
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