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Balloonless | Art Spiegelman and Hillary Chute’s MetaMaus

A great deal of the source material for Art Spiegelman’s ground-breaking, medium-defining, market-redefining Maus came from the cartoonist recording long conversations with his Holocaust-survivor father Vladek.

A great deal of the source material for MetaMaus, a book-length discussion of Maus that includes an astounding amount of reference, background and process-related material, comes from editor Hillary Chute recording long conversations with Art Spiegelman.

They didn’t put the word “Meta” in the title for nothing.

Less punchy, but also appropriate, might have been Everything You Ever Wanted to Know About Maus and Probably Much More Besides, Including Things You Didn’t Know You Wanted to Know Until We Told You.

Pushing 300 pages and including a disc titled “The Complete Maus Files” that boasts the complete Maus and so much material about each page of it that it’s like a little Library of Mausandria, it might at first seem strange that the book about Maus seems to dwarf Maus itself, at least in terms of size.  But part of the value of the project, beyond an admirable work of preservation of the astounding amount of research Spiegelman put into creating it and the family and cultural history that resulted and aside from creating an invaluable resource for future college kids writing papers on Maus, is what it reveals about Maus from a different perspective — inside out.

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