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Old 04-29-2022, 09:08 AM   #11
wktf
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Tonight is Yom HaShoah, or Holocaust Remembrance Day…

https://www.ushmm.org/remember/days-...urces/calendar

…so, I’m light of this, I’m bumping this thread containing my review of Maus.
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Old 08-18-2023, 05:19 PM   #12
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Just posting my review of Maus from years ago here, for anyone who hasn't read the book or is on the fence:

Maus: A Survivor's Tale
Written and Drawn by: Art Spiegelman
Pantheon Books

How many original graphic novels, trades, or any other publication in this medium that you've read have won the Pulitzer Prize? Fear not, this is just a rhetorical question. As far as I know, there are only two possible answers to this question. The first is "none." The second, if you've read Maus, is "one."

My family does not claim any Holocaust survivors but we have had victims. My grandmother on my mother's side fled Poland, already rife with anti-Semitism and with Hitler's invasion only scarce months away, with her two daughters (these would become my two aunts as my mother had not yet been born) leaving her husband, who refused to abandon his successful architecture business, behind. He quickly followed her to the United States. Shortly thereafter the Germans invaded Poland on September 1, 1939 and soon all of my grandparents' relatives would be murdered in Poland's various concentration and death camps. Maus may well include those murdered family members? stories as well.

Maus explores realms of horror and human depravity to which other graphic novels who can claim the same, such as DC/Vertigo?s Preacher series, simply cannot compare. Art Spiegelman, underground comics legend, co-founder and editor of Raw magazine and a contributing editor and artist for The New Yorker, gives us not only a story of actual Holocaust events but of real people and their experiences during one of humankind's most ghastly and grisly periods. This is the story of Vladek Spiegelman, Art's father, as told directly to Art and recorded for the purposes of this work. The tale within this tale is the author's unsparing recounting of his own tortured relationship with his aging and ill father amidst a series of tense and unhappy visits. Their painful relationship is a brutal backdrop to Vladek's story. The brilliant conceit of this work is that Spiegelman transforms the Polish Jews into mice, the Germans become cats, the non-Jewish Poles are pigs, the Swedes are elk (or deer), the French are frogs, and the Americans are dogs (with the relationship of dogs to cats and cats to mice, this anthropomorphic technique makes frightening sense: depicting the anti-Semitic non-Jewish poles as pigs requires almost no explanation). Thus he, at first, takes Vladek's tale and makes it more accessible to readers. But any comfort the reader may feel quickly disappears as the tale continues, as Spiegelman mixes photos of his murdered brother and his father in prison stripes with his cartoons, and the cast of characters move through experiences, also unsparingly detailed by Spiegelman, that defy a sane man?s imaginings to their inevitable conclusions.

A comic's primary objective is to entertain its readers. Every so often we are given a work that also enlightens and instructs us. With this work we are given a riveting story that makes us want to turn away but compels us to read on, that's drawn sparsely but with frightening simplicity, that pulls no punches in drawing us into the lives of these complex characters and educating us about their lives and experiences, and that should be required reading in high school and colleges as well as for comics lovers.

For Maus, Spiegelman was awarded the Pulitzer Prize in 1992, a Guggenheim fellowship, and nominations for the National Book critics Circle Award. Comics Shop News issue #933 listed it as #9 among their Top 10 Non-Superhero Graphic Novels. Jerry Weist, who gave us the 100 Greatest Comic Books coffee table book, listed Maus as #69/100. He concludes his write-up of Maus thusly: "Much has been written about the visual genius of choosing mice for Jews and cats for Germans, and much more has been written about the intellectual implications of Maus, but of all the 100 greatest comic books within this volume, if you only go out and seek one to read, it should be Maus."
I finally read Volumes 1 & 2 for the first time while on vacation this summer. It's magnificent. I agree with everything you've said here.
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Old 08-25-2023, 12:29 AM   #13
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I finally read Volumes 1 & 2 for the first time while on vacation this summer. It's magnificent. I agree with everything you've said here.
I?m grateful my review rings true to you.
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