So, I read ‘MAUS’…

I read the graphic novel ‘Maus’, by Art Spiegelman. I enjoyed it. It’s a very easy to read graphic novel, despite the difficult nature of the topic. The constant shift between two times, that of the war and the present, is dealt with fluidly and without causing confusion or breaking up the flow of the story.

THE STORY

The story itself has tow difficult elements. that of the atrocities faced by the Jews and other minorities at the hands of the Nazis and also the difficulty suffered by the author in his relationship with his father whose story he is trying to tell. The anthropomorphic characters remove some of the harshness of the brutalities depicted, as does the comic book format. However I still found parts of the story disturbing and saddening. The difficult relationship between generations also told in the story is something that is easy to relate to for many who would read ‘Maus’. Whilst it may not be on the same scale or levels, I think most people can understand the clash of ideas and morals between a parent and child due to growing up at different times and experiencing the world in a different way.

The idea of making the story easy to relate to is appealing, and maybe something I would like to explore when I begin to make my graphic novel. I think this is helped by the honesty and truthfulness of the story.

THE ARTWORK

Ina  graphic novel the artwork is often as important as the story. Art Spiegelman’s style is simple and clear. The draftsmanship is not the greatest ever but it is ideal for the size of separate images being drawn. Expression and detail are simplified so as to be easy to decipher and not clog up the page too much. Shading is done with cross hatching and backgrounds are often simple. The size of box used for images varies depending on what the image is depicting. Larger boxes show scenes or allow for more action or characters to be involved. Generally the pace is fairly steady due to similarly sized and shaped boxes, however the odd box that is different draws more attention from the reader. Another interesting tool is the use of diagrams and maps which reinforce the realism of the story.

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