Title: Maus

Author: Art Spiegelman

Context: Maus is a graphic novel and survivor’s tale by the American cartoonist, Art Spiegelman. The novel about Art Spiegelman’s parents who survived a holocaust and the biography of his father under the exterminationist regime of the Nazis.

Synopsis: Maus has been serialized from 1980 to 1991. Spiegelman interviews his father about his experiences as a Holocaust survivor and a Polish Jew. Postmodernist techniques have been used in the work while representing the Poles as pigs, Germans as cats and the Jews as mice. The family underwent dehumanizing injustice which the cartoonist presents with fuming fury. Page after page in the book reveals how the fellow Jews underwent an enormous amount of brutality by the black-and-whites. The Germans are drawn to look like cats and Jews like mice in the central conceit. The author has tied the subject matter to the long history of cartooning anthropomorphized animals, right from Felix the Cat and Mickey Mouse.

Events have been presented more straightforwardly, attempting to pull off like broadcasting the screaming of both the dying and living while taking the camera away from brutal slaughter. Maus has been classified by critics as history, a memoir, fiction, biography, mix of genres and autobiography. The novel was the first one to win a Pulitzer Prize (the Special Award in Letters) in 1992.

Major part of the novel revolves around his disturbed relationship with his father and absence of his mother who committed suicide when he was twenty years old. Her Auschwitz written accounts were destroyed by her grieving husband. The graphic novel displays innovation in its page layouts, structure and pacing and uses minimalist drawing style.

Other works by the author:

1977 – Breakdowns: From Maus to Now, an Anthology of Strips

1991 – Maus

1994 – The Wild Party

1995 – Open Me, I’m a Dog

2001 – Jack Cole and Plastic Man: Forms Stretched to Their Limits

2004 – In the Shadow of No Towers

2008 – Breakdowns: Portrait of the Artist as a Young g %@&*!

2008 – Jack and the Box

2009 – Be a Nose

2011 – MetaMaus

2013 – Co-Mix: A Retrospective of Comics, Graphics and Scraps