Why Comics? Maus II Chapter 2, In-Class Exercises

Art Spiegelman himself once said, “The comix I like, and try to do, can be read slowly and often,….I try to make every panel count and sometimes work as long as a month on a page…. I’m excited by the ‘secret language’ of comics – the underlying formal elements that create the illusions.”

This quote is especially evident when comparing it with chapter two of Maus II, a chapter full of stories in the camps, with many stories about how he survived through work. This chapter is full of content, and one must be very cautious to catch every detail in order to fully understand. Even catching every detail doesn’t guarantee you anything. However, you can really see how much effort Spiegelman puts into every single panel. Sometimes, the amount of detail he will put into the background creates an image of plethora. The number of Jews that are standing constantly in lines at these camps gives you a perspective of the vast amount of people found there. Each image tells it’s own story. There is so much that one can gather from each image that you could read it thrice over and still have plenty to interpret. Spiegelman’s taste in comix is evident from the same technique that he uses to write his own.

There are many aspects of his comics that are done extremely well, and this chapter felt to be one of the most engaging of the books thus far. Small details such as eyebrows being drawn in certain places, while being left out of most, are so seemingly insignificant that one can easily miss these ideas. However, when you take each panel as if it were it’s own story, you gain so much more understanding and knowledge from each and every panel that Spiegelman’s work can’t help put suck you in for a wonderful story.


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