Cats are the Bad Guys, What a Surprise

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Instead of focusing on a quote from Maus I, a graphic novel by Art Spiegelman which is about his father's experiences during the Holocaust, I'd like to focus on the artwork. I'm not artistic in any way, but I'm used to reading comics in black and white because I read manga (Japanese comics read from right to left). Overall, I thought the artwork in Maus was very good, but there were some scenes such as the one on page 61 where the Nazis are executing Jews in the woods and the black and white don't seem to balance out. It took me a few seconds to be able to tell what was happening. Manga can have these kind of problems too and since manga has a lot of action sequences, it makes it difficult to figure out what's happening. Maus is by no means about action sequences, it's about the story, all I'm saying is that sometimes Spiegelman's artwork is hard to make out.

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Melissa Schwenk said:

Sometimes his artwork was a little hard to make out, but overall I thought the desired effect allowed the reader to really understand what was taking place. It was probably dark a lot in the places Vladek and Anja were hiding and the darkness helps the reader invision what is taking place. I thought the drawing only enhanced the authenicity of the book overall.

Jessica Orlowski said:

While I see where you're coming from, Kayla, I tend to agree more with Melissa on this one. I thought that Spiegelman's artwork really enhanced the feeling of the book, particularly in the "lost comic book" about his mother. It was such an abrupt change that I didn't like it at first. However, once I looked back at it, I saw that it only served to enhance the feelings of the author.

I also agree with Melissa and Jess about Spiegelman's artwork. In the comments on my blog, I said that I didn't think the use of black and white was significant symbolically in Maus, but I do think that the variations in contrast, darkness, and lightness did enhance the reading/viewing experience. In the example you provided, I feel like the fact that it was hard to make out is supposed to serve as a way for the reader to emotionally understand the situation as best as she can. They were in a forest, so it was dark, and I think the darkness might actually be symbolic in this case because it adds to the confusion of what's happening. The reader can still see who is a Jew and who is a German because Spiegelman is careful to show the faces of the Jews in a lighter shade than anything else, so I had no problem with this illustration.

Aja Hannah said:

I can relate to Kayla about reading manga or artwork that has better contrast and is visually pleasing to the reader, but I disagree that it is bad/harder to read or takes away from the story. It's just a different style of art that I had to get used to.

But while I do think he did a good job in his artwork like on page 12 (like in Karyssa's blog) I don't think it is signifigant to the plot of the story or anything. I think this is just the style that Spiegelman knows how to draw/write in.

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