Graphic Novel Review – Helena Matheson

The book I read this month was Maus by Art Spiegelman. He wrote his father, Vladek, experience of the Holocaust, and he chose to portray the characters as mice, cats, and pigs. Vladek tells his story, starting in Poland where he marries Anja, Art’s mother. The Nazi’s then take over their city, and they are moved to a ghetto, where the couple tries to stay under the radar by hiding from the Gestapo. After a failed escape attempt, the couple is sent to Auschwitz. They are separated, but they manage to avoid being selected to die. They end up being moved to a Dachau, where Vladek catches typhus. The War eventually ends and they are freed, but Anja is forever haunted by the memories and kills herself.

Subject-to-subject, in Maus by Art Spiegelman

I think the author chose to portray the characters as animals to make such a horrific situation into something less gruesome. I think it helps not being humans because it is hard to think people would do this to each other and images are sickening. I think Spiegelman did a good job using subject-to-subject closure, as seen in this picture where the prisoners are walking and the German man has his own little bubble where he pops in. I think this does a good job of providing emphasis.

An example of the expanding mini square, in The Right Number by Scott McCloud

I have not read many digital comics before, which is why Scott McCloud’s The Right Number really stuck out to me. I think that it gave me a completely different reading experience than a traditional comic would. The transitions made reading it very interactive, as there is a mini square in each image, which contains the next image shrunk down. When you press the next button, the mini square expands to its full size, and then has its own mini square. I think this made reading it very fun and felt like I was being guided through the story.

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