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MAUS II There is an old saying that a picture says a thousand words Art Spiegelmans series Maus II A Survivors TaleAnd Here My Troubles Began proves this saying to a tee Added to the dialogue a million possibilities arise The series is a autobiographicalbiographical comic book about his fathers experiences during the Holocaust It uses cats mice and other animals to present this very delicate subject The first book in the series received tremendous adulation and received the National Book Critics Circle prize in biography However the critics involved in this prize were forced to ask two questions Does a comic book represent the World Wars well or not and Was Spiegelman right to use the humor of a comic book to express the Holocaust I will attempt to answer these questions by focusing on Maus II And Here My Troubles Began Using artwork combined with pictures serves many purposes It allows the author to develop characters with a visual reference It serves to fill in the blanks by cutting down the necessity to read between the lines to understand the big picture These can be seen as pros and cons So Spiegelman attempted to reduce the gap between the dialogue and the pictures I didnt want people to get too interested in the drawings I wanted them to be there but the story operated somewhere else It operates somewhere between the words and the idea thats in the pictures which is in essence what happens in a comic This direct quote from an unknown interview done with Spiegelman shows that he meant to use the pictures only as a tool to express his ideas If too much emphasis were put on the pictures then whole story would not be shown However if the pictures and the dialogue are read as one then the entire story is expressed Spiegelman says in the quote that he doesnt want people to focus on the artwork
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