The Complete Maus (Graphic Novel) Review

So after looking for a new graphic novel to read and a little bit of research I came across this on a lot of peoples top 10 best ones so I thought I might as well give it a read.

Combined for the first time here are Maus I: A Survivor’s Tale and Maus II – the complete story of Vladek Spiegelman and his wife, living and surviving in Hitler’s Europe. By addressing the horror of the Holocaust through cartoons, the author captures the everyday reality of fear and is able to explore the guilt, relief and extraordinary sensation of survival – and how the children of survivors are in their own way affected by the trials of their parents. A contemporary classic of immeasurable significance.

Taken from goodreads

When I started reading this I did find it a struggle at first, this is because it uses broken english, however after about 20 pages you do get used to it, and if anything it helps bring the story to life more as you are getting the story told by someone who doesn’t speak english as their first language.

The art style is not something I have personally seen before, the majority of the character novels are more super power based so they aim to make things look more action packed and bright and colourful. However the opposite is used here, Art Spiegelman has decided to make the characters all be animal based, with the polish jews being drawn as mice while the nazis are drawn as cats (I don’t have to tell you about the symbolism used here). Art has only used black and white as his colour palette, I really like this as it made you pay a lot more attention to the story but also to look at the art carefully to see how he has shaded a certain scene.

Now for the story, it is intense and that is the least I would expect about a prisoner of war story. This does a fantastic job in spreading the message of what exactly happened to people who were born in different parts of the world or what relgion they represented. You start to feel sorry for Vladek (the main character) as you discover the hell that he went through and just what he had to do in order to survive. Not only that but you get to see how Vladek has survived since the war and what the war has done to change this man.

After reading the novel you understand why it is the only graphic novel to ever win the Pulitzer Prize. For me personally if you are interested in learning a little bit more about WW2 and the struggles that people had then read this book.

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