Superfluous Matter
Books - The Complete Maus, by Art Spiegelman

Heralded as one of the first great literary "comic books," Maus tells the story of a survivor of the concentration camps during World War II via a series of interviews with his son. The work blurs the lines between memoir, autobiography, biography and historical fiction as it is based on the real experiences of both the author and his father.

Maus later went on to win the Pulitzer Prize and along with "The Watchmen" and "The Dark Knight Returns" it was key in raising the profile of the graphic novel in the public mind. Graphic novels can be serious, adult, literary books.

Anyway Maus is a great read, although as one might expect the subject matter is rather heavy. Most of the atrocities we associate with the Nazi "final solution" are touched on but the tone of Vladek, the father, remains fairly positive. He survives using his wits and connections and a considerable amount of luck. He does not minimize the suffering but he also does not wallow in self-pity. I can't imagine living through something like that and coming out even half as well as Vladek does.

This book is important not just as a milestone for graphic novels, but as documentation of the horrors of the second world war and as a reminder to future generations of what can happen when people give in to fear.

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