Art Spiegelman

The years of research for Art Spiegelman's two-part Pulitzer winner filled countless notebooks, sketchpads, and audio tapes, much of it crammed onto the companion DVD to MetaMaus: A Look Inside a Modern Classic (Pantheon, $35). Maus and Maus II, which redefined modern comics, address both the Holocaust and the artist's own struggle to adapt his Polish family's near-extermination into graphic form. Spiegelman began his first Maus sketches in the early '70s, not long after his mother's suicide and his own time in a mental ward. Here we see those early outlines and read the transcripts of his father's interview tapes (or, if you can bear it, listen to the DVD version). A long-form interview with archivist Hillary Chute helps elucidate Spiegelman's meticulous method, as he frets over Yiddish translations, repositions dialogue bubbles, and weighs the “architectonic rigor” of panels on each page. Why was Maus published in two parts (1986 and 1991)? Because, Spiegelman explains, he wanted to reach the wider public before the ’86 animated movie An American Tail—about Jewish mice escaping imperial Russian pogroms (long preceding WWII). Tonight, in one of only three stops on Spiegelman’s national press tour, super-librarian Nancy Pearl will be his onstage interlocutor. BRIAN MILLER

Sat., Oct. 8, 6:30 p.m., 2011

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