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Old 03-21-2017, 08:40 AM
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Kirin Kirin is offline
Not a Beer
Join Date: Jun 2007
Location: NC
Posts: 20,148

#11 Maus
Mentions: 6, Points: 129
Writer/Artist: Art Spiegelman
Genre: history / Bipgraphy
Publication: insert in Raw magazine, 1980-1991
I have a sinking feeling that re-reading this right now might be a bit too harrowing...

I honestly didn't even know this was originally published serially, but then, at the time "graphic novels" were barely even a thing. Eisner used the term in '78, and it was just picking up steam with publishers, largely to counteract the low cultural status of "comics" which in most people's minds referred only to monthly pulp superhero stories for kids. The first Maus collection found a huge audience by being distributed through regular bookstores rather than comic shops. (Spiegelman wasn't too keen on this line of market-based reasoning but came to accept the term.)

Publishing minutiae aside, Maus is, of course, a harrowing tale of the Holocaust, told under a thin veneer of the "comic talking animals" genre with Jews being mice, Germans cats, French frogs, and so forth. Of course, Spiegelman himself acknowledges the limitations of such a metaphor, when some who claimed to be of German ancestry were labeled Jews and sent to the camps by the Reich. In the end he's said "these metaphors ... are meant to self-destruct".

There's also a contemporary frame story of the author's troubled relationship with his father, a survivor through whom most of the stories in the book come to light. All of this is drawn in a stark, high-contrast style sometimes reminiscent of woodblock prints.

Maus has basically won all the awards, so I won't bore you by listing them here...

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