Friday, October 14, 2011

Art Spiegelman Still Talking 'Maus'

Art Spiegelman holds the distinction of being the first comic book author to receive a special Pulitzer Prize in 1992 for his semi-autobiographical book, "Maus." The comic features the story of Spiegelman's dad, Vladek, a Holocaust survivor, and how those experiences influenced his life and his relationship with his family, specifically his son.

If you have never read 'Maus' I whole heartedly encourage you stop what you're doing right now and go get a copy. It is an inspired and inspiring work. In his story the Jews are portrayed as mice and the Nazi's as cats, but that's hardly the point of the story. It is a unique glimpse inside the life of a man who suffered greatly and how that suffering was in turn passed along to his family, friends; how his suffering shaped his life and impacted everyone he met and everything he did.

In 'Maus' Spiegelman sought to tell a story and through its telling understand something about his father and himself. He has often said he learned much from his work, but now admits his learning didn't stop with the completion of that work. His latest book, 'MetaMaus' is an example of his continued introspection as he seeks to understand for himself, once and for all, just why he did what he did and just what he learned.

As every writer knows, the stories we tell, we share with our heart. Good or bad, Pulitzer Prize winners or pulp fiction--these are our innermost thoughts and reflections and we hold them close to our heart.

Art Spiegelman shared a piece of his life with his readers and in return, he reached farther inside himself than even he had expected. Every writer should be so lucky.

"Maus" was originally published in two parts, the first in 1986 and the second in 1991; it won a special Pulitzer Prize in 1992, the first comic to be so honored. Still, for the last two decades, Spiegelman has kept doubling back, reconsidering the project, drawing its mouse-like protagonist into nearly everything.

"I'm blessed and cursed by this thing I made that obviously looms large for me and for others," he observes on a sunny October morning in Beverly Hills, eyes blinking behind wire-frame glasses as he smokes on the balcony of his room in the Four Seasons Hotel. "But the result is that I can't do this thing that seems quite easy but that I just can't do, which is: 'That's that, and now I'm working on a new thing, and it's a whole other thing.' I just can't get out of its gravitational field."

Click here to read the Los Angeles Times interview with Spiegelman about 'MetaMaus'.

No comments: