Saturday, February 28, 2009
Maus Vol. 1 (1986)
Featuring: Mice as Jews, Cats as Nazis, Pigs as Poles, Flamingos as drag queens (not really)
The Gist: Art Spiegelman works out his issues with Vladek, his aging father by asking him to recount his experiences of Poland at the beginning of World War II. He then illustrates it all in a way that makes the events simultaneously easier to digest than if he’d drawn human characters but also more disturbing because your imagination will occasionally bring you to the actual scenes being described and soft-balled in your direction.
And then what happens?: If you’ve read anything like Craig Thompson’s Blankets or Marjane Satrapi’s Persepolis books, or even seen Waltz With Bashir, then you’ll be familiar with this kind of storytelling. There’ll be raving quotes on the side talking about how revolutionary it is and blah blah dee blah but at the root of all of those stories, and this one, is someone exorcising some very dark personal experiences as honestly as they possibly can. So skip the tastefully-nude-Kate-Winslet in The Reader, or the thousand other Nazi snorefests released this year, and read this instead.
Read it for: I really can’t get enough of how Vladek constructs his sentences. My fault it isn’t, I blame only Dr. Zoidberg.
Level of Crazy: 10. You want I should kick you?