Friday, 16 May 2014

Reading in 2014 - Book Eleven - Maus

My first graphic novel. Yes seriously. I am thirty one years old and this is the first non-garfield or Archie comic I've ever read.

I burned through it in one sitting, it's a pretty quick and brutal read. In case you live under a rock and haven't heard of it before, I'll give you the run-down.

Art Spiegelman, the author and artist, recorded his father's stories of being a Polish Jew during WWII. His father was actually put into Auschwitz and suffered for years at the hands of the Nazis but (obviously) survived. Between the accounts of his father's memories, Spiegelman included scenes between him and his dad, and the funny relationship they have.

Here's an example of a page.


A few months ago my dad and I went to a museum in Vancouver that happened to have an Art Spiegelman exhibit. He had some fascinating work...he illustrated for Topps bubblegum, covers for the New Yorker, but the most impressive one for me was the Garbage Pail Kids illustrations. haha I loved those as a kid.

 The exhibit was spread throughout multiple rooms, and one of them, containing all the pages of Maus, was also playing the original audio recordings that Spiegelman took of his conversations with his dad about WWII.

I give Maus 8/10 because I enjoyed it and it's a powerful read, but I couldn't get past the graphic novel format. It was too cutesy for the subject matter. Which I think was the point, to juxtapose "comics" with "holocaust" but it wasn't grabbing me with all the horror that the situations being described really deserved, if that makes sense.

And on a personal note, I feel like graphic novels move too fast for me. I don't take the time to appreciate the details in the artwork, I just read the words and move on to the next page and I feel like I lose a lot of the context and emotion. 

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