Maus Essay

1275 words - 5 pages

Drawing the Line: Comic Books vs. Film Contemporary film is a medium closely related to comic books, in that both require the combination of words and images to convey a message. However, they are clearly not the same, and the fine differences between the two are crucial. The formats comic books and film each tell a sequential narrative through words and images. Until recently, neither medium was even recognized as a true art form. However, with masterpieces in contemporary film and revolutionary works in comics, critics are left with no choice but to acknowledge greatness in these fields. Art Spiegelman's prize winning comic book, Maus, is a prime example of such an influential work. Although film and comic books are closely related forms of media due to their blending of words and images, the film version of Maus would surely not stand up to the comic version. Maus was created in its artistic entirety by Spiegelman. However, film is the final product of a collaboration of many people. Spiegelman puts this into his own words: "I don't think it would work. Basically movies are done by groups. Comics can be done by an individual. If there's one thing my father taught me, it's not to trust groups. I'm not interested in making a creation with a committee. I don't understand why everybody is this culture seems to believe it's not real until it's turned into a movie. I do understand all too well, actually. But to me Maus found its proper form and it took me 13 years to give it that form. I'm not interested especially in seeing that diminished. I've had offers that I may pursue. People have come and said, 'Alright, so you don't want to make Maus as a movie, what kind of movie do you want to make?' And that I may pursue, because that could be interesting to explore. But then I would be thinking it through from the ground up, as working in that idiom" (Goffard).The relationship between words and images also aid in storytelling, to preserve both accurateness and ease to the storytellee. The words of Maus come directly from the Spiegelman family, with the exception of the portions told in the past. The sections that occur in the present and the narration of the past are true. The use of pictures and the comic book format make the information easily accessible to readers from a wide array of intellectual and social backgrounds as opposed to a textbook on the history of WWII, which would only appeal to a select group of individuals such as undergraduate war history majors.Contemporary film possesses a similar universality. The reason that Maus cannot successfully be translated into a film is due to several seemingly miniscule concepts. Time and spatial relationships play key roles in Spiegelman's interpretation of his father's narrative. In its current format, Maus exemplifies both of these vital concepts The bottom frame on page 135 shows many the many dimensions of the relationship between words and images in Maus. Here, Art and Vladek are physically...

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