Risk Taking Researcher
I chose to research a little about the author of Maus, Art Spiegelman, to get some background knowledge, and also a bit about the process of writing the novel.
Art Spiegelman is an American (born in Sweden) cartoonist, editor and comics advocate (advocate: a person who speaks or writes in support or defense of a person,cause, etc.) His work as co-editor on the comics magazines Arcade and Raw has been influential, and from 1992 he spent a decade as contributing artist for The New Yorker (a magazine,) where he made a few covers. He is married to designer and editor Françoise Mouly (mentioned in the novel,) and is the father of writer Nadja Spiegelman, who is also a writer.
A picture of Art Spiegelman link
Spiegelman started in the underground comix scene (also mentioned in Maus) in the 1970s. After other smaller works, he turned his attention to a "very long comic book" about his father's experiences as a Holocaust survivor. The book we are reading, Maus, took thirteen years to write (1978-1991.) It won a special Pulitzer Prize in 1992 and is brought "serious scholarly attention to the medium." Spiegelman is an advocate for greater comics literacy. He is also an editor and was a teacher at the School of Visual Arts in New York City. There he promoted greater understanding of comics, and mentored young cartoonists.
In 1987, Spiegelman began to interview his father again, with the intention of creating a book-length work based on his father's story. In 1979 he made a research visit to the Auschwitz concentration camp, where his parents had been imprisoned by the Nazis. Spiegelman and his wife Mouly serialized Maus one chapter at a time. On August 18th, 1982, his father died. In 1985, Spiegelman learned that Steven Spielberg was making an animated film about Jewish mice who escape persecution in Eastern Europe by going to the United States. He was sure that the film, An American Tail (1986), was inspired by Maus and wanted to have his unfinished book come out before the movie to avoid comparisons. He didn't find a publisher until in 1986, Pantheon agreed to release a collection of the first six chapters. The title was Maus: A Survivor's Tale and subtitled My Father Bleeds History. The book found a large audience, partially because it was sold in regular bookstores rather than through comic shops in which comic books were normally sold.