During the session we’ve talked about different collections and archives, such as Les Coleman Collection, and the difficulties that one can come across during the attempt of giving credit to the author of a publication (whether that is a comic or a magazine), the illustrator, the publisher and so on.

I was particularly interested to one specific comic that Ian Horton introduced to us. That was the graphic novel, previously unknown to me, MAUS by the American cartoonist Art Spiegelman. The novel uses a cat-mice metaphor representing the Jews as mice and the Nazis as malevolent cats; Nazis hunting down Jews like a cat chase its prey.

Spiegelman began the novel in 1978 and the first volume of MAUS published in 1980 in Raw, a comics anthology edited by Art Spiegelman himself and Françoise Mouly until 1991.

The Jews are presenting like vermin as Nazis used to claim that they are the vermin of mankind. Which is interesting considering that the Zyklon B the gas used in Auschwitz in order to kill was in fact a pesticide made to kill vermin. So the metaphor used from Spiegelman is indeed to the point.

21.jpg

google Available at: https://www.google.co.uk/search?q=Maus&client=firefox-b-ab&biw=1920&bih=971&source=lnms&tbm=isch&sa=X&ved=0ahUKEwjcmOrritHQAhWFKsAKHcT2ByEQ_AUIBigB#tbm=isch&q=maus+art+spiegelman&imgrc=IVvYbtiUevNaUM%3A (Accessed: 30/11/2016)

It is interesting that this graphic novel it’s not just any random occurrence of the times but rather an inescapable conclusion in Spiegelmans life considering his particular circumstances and experiences as well as the particulars of this part of the world and what was happening then. At that time the KKK was still a major issue in the US, and he was affected by it and together with his other influences from the hardships that he had seen inherent of World War II it stands to reason that he was deeply in need of expressing his antiracism. His initial idea was to create a comic called Ku Klux Kats.

In my opinion, MAUS is a great example of how art can provoke serious thinking and analyze such a painful and hard subject as the Holocaust and the World War II.

Bibliography:

The New York Review of Books (1963-2016) Available at: http://www.nybooks.com/daily/2011/10/20/why-mice/ (Accessed: 30/11/2016)

WIKIPEDIA (2016) Available at: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Maus (Accessed: 30/11/2016)

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