arts, movies, music, pop culture

25 years of Mauses

You can read more about my love affair with comic books here…

So Maus.

It’s pretty exciting to see the press Metamaus is getting. It’s been a long time coming, 25 years actually. It’s hard to believe that it was that long ago when the book came out. I remember seeing it in high school and thinking it looked crazy.

Here are my thoughts from a previous blog…

What intrigues me though in comic books of the past, say, twenty years is the sheer context that writers take on in these works. For many people, myself included about 10 years ago, “comics” are nothing more than the superhero/Archie/Peanuts genre that appeared in the newspaper – Sundays in color – and told nice stories with a catchy quippy ending. Comics were like glorified jokes of the “a guy walked into a bar” variety that appealed to (mostly) pre-pubescent boys with dimes in their pockets (well, dollars now).

This changed for me when in college, I had purchased a copy of Maus: My Father Bleeds History by Art Spiegelman. I couldn’t put it down. At first, I thought it was inappropriate for someone to write a COMIC book about something as “serious” as the holocaust. But then, I READ it and realized that in some ways, this story could not have been told any more brilliantly and poignantly then in this form. It was just that – brilliant. The idea of imagery combining with story, character, plot, and time to create such a perfect piece of literature – so foreign to me, and yet it made perfect sense. It along with its sequel was a modern day masterpiece in my mind.

I remember hearing Mr. Spiegelman when he spoke at my college. He talked about feeling inadequate to tell such a story and he talked a bit about his choice of animals for each character. He seemed almost overwhelmed at the success of the books and maybe even a bit burdened by it. Reading Metamaus, I’d say my initial assessment was right. But that was 25 years ago and much has happened since then and the subsequent success of the books. I haven’t finished the Metamaus yet and I’m pretty excited about hearing the DVD with interview clips from his father. I am also pretty sure I will be utilizing some tissues at several points in said DVD watching.

There are few books that really set me on fire. This was one, and continues to be. And no, you can’t borrow them. Buy yer owns.


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