Maus is a Pulitzer Prize-winning comic of furry interest written and drawn by Art Spiegelman, telling his father's true story of surviving the Holocaust, in whereas human beings are portrayed as anthropomorphic characters.
Volume One was released from 1973 - 1983 and Volume Two was released from 1986 - 1991. All installments were collated into one graphic novel in 1996. Maus was published by Pantheon Books.
There are two story arcs within Maus. Vladek Spiegelman's story of surviving the holocaust, and Art Spiegelman's present day story of his flawed relationship with his father.
Spiegelman used a tape recorder to capture most of his father's tale as he told it, but he also recorded and took note of events that occurred while he was trying to create Maus. Often there will be a present day scene ending with Art prompting his father to continue his story, at which point Vladek's story picks up where it was last left.
- The Jews are represented by mice, satirizing the Nazi portrayal of Jews as vermin. Also the German verb 'mauscheln' (which visually if not etymologically includes the word 'Maus' - mouse) means originally 'to talk like a Jew', 'to cheat/swindle/deceive like a Jew'.
- The Germans are represented by cats. The Germans, as cats, suggest power over the Jews.
- The Americans are represented by dogs. This depiction suggests power, friendliness, loyalty and other positive values. The stereotypical dog also dislikes cats and may attack them. The choice of dog may have been inspired by the term "dogface," which was a common nickname for the American G.I. (especially infantry) during the WWII era. It may also be an allusion to some cartoons, such as Tom and Jerry, in which a dog (Spike) will protect a mouse from a cat, or it may also refer to a German reference to American Marines as Teufelshunde or "Devil Hounds" during World War I.
- The Poles are represented by pigs, suggesting views of them as greedy and brutal, as well as reflecting the traditional agricultural Polish way of life.
- The Roma (Gypsies) are represented as gypsy moths.
- The French are represented by frogs, a reflection of the English nickname for the French, as well as an allusion to the frog legs typically found in French cuisine.
- The Swedes are represented by reindeer, a species native to Sweden, also suggesting that Sweden's neutrality was a timidness like deer's.
- The British are represented by fish, suggesting Britain's naval supremacy, as well as the antagonism between cats and fish, as existed between Germany and Britain at this time.
- The child of a Jew and a German is shown as a mouse with cat stripes.
- Polish release of the comic has been delayed considerably, as it was first published in Poland in 2001. The reason for this was the controversy that the use of pigs to represent Polish characters caused. Even Art Spiegelman officially stating that he did not intend to portray Poles negatively did not help shorten the delay.
- On the series 'The Simpsons', episode 'Husbands and Knives', Art Spiegelman appears as himself, signing autographs of Maus at Coolsville, a new comic book store. Eventually, Comic Book Guy picks a fight with Art Spiegelman, Alan Moore, and Dan Clowes, at which point Spiegelman puts on a mouse mask and retorts, "Maus in the house!" before continuing to pummel Comic Book Guy with his fellow freelance comic artists.
|This stub about a comic could be .|