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Art Spiegelman, Maus
Art Spiegelman's classic graphic novel Maus -- published in two parts, in 1986 and with a sequel five years later in 1991 -- depicts not just a "survivor's tale" from Auschwitz as advertised in the subtitle, to a certain degree the "survivor" of the title is also Art Spiegelman himself, who seems to be wondering throughout the text how it is that he has made it thus far in life without asking all the crucial questions of his father (about his parents' survival in Auschwitz and escape afterward to the Rego Park of Spiegelman's youth). The somewhat difficult structure of the piece -- especially when viewing the two pieces as a whole, since Maus 2 seems written to deliberately complicate and problematize the reader's own sense of the first volume -- presents us with not so much a story about survival in Auschwitz done up in the…… [Read More]
e like to make believe in some kind of happy ending, even to an overwhelmingly gloomy story. Even the hero of Miller's The Dark Night Returns is hardly the hero that any of us would want to follow. Miller's Batman is an unapologetic reactionary who in the process of an interrogation of a prisoner, he threatened a man he had put in a neck brace and crutches and mocked him when he claimed, "I got rights (Miller 45)." The new Batman seems to be an even bigger reactionary than the person who trained him (ibid 199). The darkness of the Bat Cave brings the tale full circle as the heroes have become like what they are fighting, dark and corrupt without any inherent light. Only outside and artificial light illuminates imaginary Gotham of Miller's dark knight as it does the New York City of Spiegelman's mouse man as he sees…… [Read More]
Sally Mann's portfolio abounds of photographs of little girls, including here photographs such as the New Mothers and Sorry Game. All these, as the Easter Dress, are in black and white. In my opinion, the choice for black and white is an attempt by this modern artist to move the viewer's attention away from coloration and into the game of shapes and forms. If we compare this photograph with Dine's painting, the latter puts all emphasis on color (red in that particular case), while Mann insists exactly on everything that is not color: shapes, forms, movements.
The photograph depicts a little girl in a white dress playing/dancing in the foreground, while other characters, most likely members of her family (probably her grandparents, among others) are also present in the framework. As a modern art, photography has a characteristic that many other visual arts, including painting, do not: the ability of…… [Read More]
This 'floating' use of body parts and fluid use of human and mouse anatomical characteristics is another distinct feature of the graphic style of Maus.
In this frame, we discover the source of the father's displeasure with Mala. Mala was putting Artie's coat on a wire hanger. The petty nature of this tantrum indicates the stress under which Artie's father labors. He is angry about small things, despite having recently suffered some permanent tragedies (heart problems and the suicide of his wife) and tragedies in the past. This suggest that the father projects his frustrations and anger about the past into the present and gets angry at relatively minor matters because of his inability to deal with his past experiences. It also is a clue as to why he has heart trouble.
The father's irascible character traits are underlined in the explanatory voice-over by the narrator Artie, who…… [Read More]
Hopefully, regardless of what happens in the rest of the communication world and media, such magazines either in print, electronic or digital form will continue to amaze children.
nfortunately, most young adult books have hit rock bottom, dealing with death, abuse, divorce, sexuality and all the other topics that these youth are bombarded with day after day. It is recognized that youths need to deal with the problems that are facing them, and living in a fantasy world is not helpful. However, do they ever have a time to "chill" as they say it? However, the Twilight Vampire Series is really not the answer to this. It has, what is said, little "redeeming value."
It's difficult deciding on a best YA book and not going back to the classics. The best bet is finding a book that offers imagination, education and entertainment. There are few, but Rebecca Stead's When You…… [Read More]
Guy Billout (1941- )
A French born illustrator, Guy Billout has had a long career of producing clean and fresh illustrative works. Working within a modern and somewhat experimental tradition, Billout has shown his provocative works in many contemporary magazines such as olling Stone and Atlantic Monthly. He has also illustrator in several children's books including The Frog Who Wanted to See the Sea and Something's Not Quite ight.
With his work within children's literature, he is extending his influence to a younger generation as well as contemporary art fans. Much of his work portrays experimental images, portraying things in an unnatural, yet clean manner; "His illustrations use events which challenge physics such as rivers flowing uphill and gravity-defying structures," (Vienne 1998). In his work, Billout is constantly using the incorporation of irony to make social statements or to show man as vulnerable within a larger context of the universe,…… [Read More]
This is not stated directly, but is demonstrated by their individual reactions to the challenges of life.
The most important concept to remember about Mala is that she is a holocaust survivor too. Mala understands the reasons for Vladek's behavior better than anyone does, because she experienced the horrors herself. She may feel a sense of camaraderie with Vladek that others do not. She may see his reaction to society for what it is: a reasonable adaptation to what he experienced. This may make her much more tolerant than average regarding his behaviors. The complexities of Vladek's relationships are not revealed through conversation, but through how they get through the struggles that they face. This is symbolic of the silence that many holocaust survivors exhibited regarding their inner fears and feelings about the trauma that they experienced.
Spiegelman, Art. Maus: a Survivor's Tale. I: My Father Bleeds History. New…… [Read More]