Maus is arguably the most well-known autobiographical comic in the West. Art Spiegelman’s graphic narrative catapulted the medium into the popular imagination as a form that could tell “serious” stories. While Spiegelman and other creators including Justin Green and Trina Robbins had been using the comics form to explore powerful stories of personal experience for decades, Maus revolutionized the industry by bringing new, focused attention to the form and its capabilities.
This toolkit is one of the many resources offered by Get Graphic! with the Ohio Center for the Book at Cleveland Public Library. There are two PDF versions available for download: individual 8.5 x 11 sheets or onto 11 x 17 sheets which can be folded into an 8.5 x 11 booklet.
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Spiegelman’s Maus documents in comics form the story of Art’s father, Vladek Spiegelman, who survived the Holocaust. Vladek lived in Poland when the Nazis invaded and occupied the country, creating ghettos and concentration camps, and murdering millions.
Spiegelman documents his father’s story in comic form, drawing upon recorded interviews. Overlaying past and present, Art Spiegelman displays the impact of his father’s trauma on his childhood and adult life, revealing a story of intergenerational transmission of trauma as Art carries with him his father’s history and pain.
Art Spiegelman’s comic won a special Pulitzer Prize in 1992, and it has since been recognized by many cartoonists, from Marjane Satrapi to Alison Bechdel, as influential to their own long-form comics.