Book Name: Maus: A Survivor’s Tale II—And Here My Troubles Began
Writer: Art Spiegelman
Artist: Art Spiegelman
Release Date: 1992
Art Spiegelman continues to track his father’s path during World War II beginning with Vladek and Anja’s arrival at Auschwitz and how they survived in the concentration camps. As Spiegelman gains more of the story, he questions how the past made his father the man he is today and how the events shaped his life.
Spiegelman published the first four chapters of Maus II in Raw magazine between 1986 and 1991 and then collected them, revised them, and published them with an ending in this 1991 collection. After the success of the first volume of Maus, this version also was lauded and led to Spiegelman taking home a Pulitzer in 1992.
While Maus I: A Survivor’s Tale I—My Father Bleeds History serves as a nice introduction to Vladek, Anja, Mala, Art, and his wife, but Maus II really feels like the meat of the story. It deals heavily with what it means to go through what Vladek went through and the repercussions of it. It tries to justify his penny-pinching behavior and how he treats Mala, but also questions why this is how he ended up, but Mala who also is a survivor ended up different.
One of the more interesting questions raised by Maus II is the idea of survivor suvivor’s guilt. Art feels he can’t compete with his dead brother Richieu and admits to his wife that he almost wishes he had been in the concentration camps to understand what his parents went through. This survivor’s survivor guilt also manifests in that he doesn’t know why he is really telling his parents story and if it really matters in the big picture, but also a realization that it is a coping method for him.
The Maus series is a fantastic example of how simple “cartoons” can be so much more. They allow the readers to really connect with a story they’ve heard hundreds of times and Spiegelman’s jumping back and forth between present day and the war really helps contrast the characters then and now and becomes a great tale of the relationship between a father and son. Maus I and II have been collected as one volume and also a newer publication called Meta-Maus with extra material.