art spiegalman

I would give the story five stars by itself, but the art style wasn’t really to my liking. I did enjoy the character motif of using cats and mice, I thought it was an effective tool. These stories are hard to read sometimes because it’s difficult to glean enjoyment from reading about someone’s actual misery (fake misery, or fictitious misery is another thing entirely), but it’s important to put a face to the victims of these terrible acts to really drive home how horrible it was and how important it is to make sure it never happens again. I believe my library had volume 2, so with any luck I’ll be reading that later this week

Copycat Y'all!

In 1985, Art Spiegalman, a cartoonist from the early 1980s, was working on a memoir, a graphic novel that featured an Eastern European Jewish family portrayed as mice, fleeing from evil cats to America. The novel, Maus, was based on his father’s struggle during the Holocaust. 

The problem? Don Bluth/Steven Spielberg had announced that release of a movie with a very similiar movie called An American Tail, that starred a mouse named Fievel and his Eastern European Jewish family fleeing to America from cats. Spiegalman was convinced that Spielberg had stolen his idea and should the movie be released first, it would be the end of his comic book career. So Spiegalman split his memoir into two parts, hurriedly releasing the first half before An American Tail hit theatres. Speigalman considered suing but cited the futility and lack of concrete evidence.

The second edition of Maus was released around the same time as An American Tale: Fievel Goes West, and Spiegalman referred to bot has “cynical, nasty pieces of shit”… He obviously didn’t enjoy Fievel’s cuteness.

I can’t say whether Steven Spielberg stole the idea or what. Or the mice metaphor is just a common analogy for the Jewish struggle… What I can say is I had to read Maus in college, and while I enjoyed getting to read a powerful, interesting comic book… I like watching An American Tail much more. I like my mice metaphors a little more fun.