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Old art, new Art

Yesterday marked the release of Breakdowns: Portrait of the Artist as a Young %@&*! by Art Spiegelman, Pulitzer Prize-winning author of the Holocaust memoir Maus. Printed in large, 10-inch-by-14-inch format, Breakdowns is, for the most part, a re-release of a collection of strips printed in 1978 with an original run of 5,000. It's a book within a book, with a facsimile of the original Breakdowns sandwiched between new material. It begins with an illustrated biographical introduction and ending with an afterword by Spiegelman himself — a kind of reflective essay about Breakdowns and how it came about.

From the afterword:

Although Breakdowns figures prominently in my life and my development as an artist, I was still startled when Pantheon expressed interest in re-issuing the book. I couldn't help but worry that, once the scarcity factor was removed, Pantheon would be lucky to sell as many copies of this edition as I'd sold of the 1978 book. I didn't want my editors to think they had some red-hot commodity on their hands — like, say, an Elvis Presley poster book — simply because of the success of Maus. In fact, it was the resounding lack of response to Breakdowns that led directly to the 300-page Maus.



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