Our class read the graphic novel, Maus, recently. I thought that the book was very interesting in how it portrayed the story of the Holocaust. This book was different than any other book that I have read about the Holocaust. First, it was in all comical drawings, with the Jews being mice, the Nazis being cats. At first, I questioned the seriousness of this book. I did not think that a graphic novel could properly describe the events that occured during that time. However, after reading it, I was very surprised at how my view and opinions changed. I thought that this book was so interesting because even though you were reading a comic book about the Holocaust, I was still able to take the characters and the storyline seriously. I found myself forgetting that the book was a comic, rather than a meaningful story.
In fact, I believe that the comics and the general look of all of the characters allowed me to put my own thoughts on what was happeneing. the book opened itself up to more imagination, in my opinion. The pictures throughout the book were sometimes very simple and ordinary, which allowed me to put my own thoughts and ideas into the story.
This sort of book made me think about how this terrible event, depicted as a cartoon with mice and cats, could make such a huge impact on me and others. I wondered if other serious events or wars could be depicted in this same fashion? I believe that the reason this book was such a success was because there is a big enough gap between the events of the Holocaust and my generation. For example, I do not think that people in today’s society could handle a graphic novel about the War in Iraq, or maybe even the Vietnam War. In a recent article in the New York Times, an article talks about a suicide bomber who killed 33 people in Baghdad. My question is, can the events that we are reading about right now, like the article in the NYT, be made into a graphic novel someday down the road? I believe that if the story of the Holocaust can be made into a graphic novel, then it is not impossible for another serious event, like the Iraq War or Vietnam War, to be made into a graphic novel, like Maus. The key is to have the right timing. If an author decided to make a comic about today’s war, then it would be completely inappropriate and disturbing. People would not relate to it and it would not create an impact, as Maus does in our generation.
Art Speigelman, Maus
Alissa Rubin, Marc Santora, Bomber Kills Dozens in Iraq as Fears of New Violence Rise, March 10, 2009: http://www.nytimes.com/2009/03/11/world/middleeast/11iraq.html