February 25, 2005

Two Words: Read Maus

Wow. You must read "Maus", a graphic novel by comic artist Art Spiegelman.

Maus is an incredible two-part graphic novel detailing the experiences of Spiegelman's father Vladek and mother Anja, as they survived the Nazi death camps during World War 2.

The story introduces us to Art, his wife Francois, and Art's father Vladek and current wife, Mila. Art gets his father to recount his many terrifying and harrowing near-death experiences for the purposes of creating his graphic novel, and as they spend time together sharing the memories, we experience the ups and downs of their relationship, and the ironies and sometimes contradictory values of Vladek.

Even after years of beautiful and intensely personal contributions by absolute masters like Will Eisner, it possible that Maus brought a new level of esteem to the graphic novel genre, earning Speigelman a Pulitzer Prize and inspiring a host of related and celebratory works by other artists.

Maus is more than a story about the holocaust (although it is superb in that regard anyway). It is an absolute work of personal art, and a careful yet natural examination of how the holocaust affected a man and woman and their offspring, and of the importance of documenting, preserving and understanding their experiences so that new holocausts may be avoided.

More about "Maus" and it's creator, Art Spiegelman:


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