Maus!! It is indeed an intriguing comic. It tells a tale about a young man’s father’s history. The young man’s name is Artie and his father’s name is Vladek, his mother’s name is Anja, his step mother’s name is Mala. The story beings when Artie is a young boy, about 12 years old or so. He is skating with his friends and challenges them to a race. His skate fails him by coming undone and his friends leave him behind. He starts to cry and finds his father, who is sawing a wood piece. Vladek commands Artie to hold the piece of wood well he saws it. Vladek then asks Artie what’s wrong. Artie tells him that he fell and his friends left him behind. Vladek then states that if you lock them in a room for a week with no food and then you could see what it is, friends! We are then rushed all the way up to chapter 5. Artie is now older and has a companion, with their own house. He is awaken by a call from his step mother, Mala. She is calling to tell him that his father is on the roof and will not come down because he is fixing the drain pipes. Artie’s father asks for him to come to the Queens and help him fix the roof. But Artie declines the request from his father because he doesn’t want to hear him criticize him. Artie then states that he became an artist so he doesn’t have to compete with his father. About a week later, he finally decides to go to the Queens and visit his father. He finds his father in the garage going through some nails. His father is separating them by the size and isn’t saying much. Through his father’s actions Artie feels that his father is angry with him for declining the request to come up and help repair the roof. Artie finds his step mother in the house and startles her. Artie asks her about his father’s behavior and questions if it has to deal with him declining the request for help repairing the roof. Mala says no and suggests that it could deal with the comic that he made about his mother. Mala has a copy of the comic and shows Artie who then rereads the comic.
The comic “Prisoner on Hell Planet: A Case History,” it tells a story about a prisoner whose mother killed herself when he was out of jail and 20 years old. His father discovers his mother on the bathroom floor dead. The prisoner was spending the weekend at his girlfriend’s house. He didn’t get home at the time he was expected to. He states that if he was back on time then he would’ve been the one to discover his mother’s body. He saw the crowd of people in front of his house and immediately got a bad thought. But his cousin said that his mother was sick and took him to the doctor. The doctor then told him straight forward and in a blunt manner the news of his mother killing herself. The prisoner then felt that it he should begin to cry and so he did with his cousin comforting him. The prisoner then found his father and comforted him. The funeral arrangements were made and they had an extremely hard time dealing with the situation. The atmosphere of the funeral room was too much for the prisoner to handle and he left the room. He went to hallway, where he was found and somebody was talking to him about crying. (I’m sorry I couldn’t fully read this part because it wouldn’t allow it to download) The next panel puts the prisoner in his room with a couple standing over him and blaming him for the death of his mother. The prisoner feels guilty about his mother’s death and blames himself for it. He has a flash back to the last time that he saw her. She was standing by the door and he was lying in bed. She asked him if he still loves her. He turns over on the bed away from her as she kneels bedside by him and answers “sure, ma.” She gets up and walks out of the room. The next panel shows the prisoner behind the bars and says that his mother committed the perfect crime and didn’t just kill herself, but him as well.
The comic is now back in the kitchen with Artie and his step mother Mala. He states that he is shocked that his father even read the comic because in past experiences his father doesn’t even look at the comics that he creates. His father then comes into the kitchen and asks Artie to come to the bank with him. Artie states that Mala told him that he read the comic about his mother. Vladek doesn’t deny reading the comic and admits that the comic brought back a lot of memories of his late wife, Anja. Mala then interrupts the confession from Vladek of always thinking about Anja and walks away when Vladek tries to say that he has a picture of Mala on his desk. Vladek then states that he found the comic when he was looking for some objects that Artie requested. He then requests that they leave for the bank. They then begin to walk and Vladek states that he must walk to keep the circulation going in his legs but he must walk slowly for his heart. On this walk Artie asks his father questions about when him and his mother were in the holocaust. Artie has a notebook with him and writes/draws the things that his father tells him. He tells him about how he lived in a small house but didn’t complain about it because there were some people that lived in the streets. They would walk to work and were guarded by other Jewish people that worked for the Germans. When Vladek was walking back from work he was greeted by a friend and told to go home quickly. He got home and his father was there. He was talking about how the “ghetto” was only going to get worse and that the people there were just going to get deported. His father could bribe the guards or he could get some papers for the children. If the children got some papers then they would probably be transferred to a safer place. There is an adult that is present in the room that agrees that the children should be sent away but Vladek disagrees and says that the children should stay with them because he has faith that they will be safe. Vladek must’ve finally agreed to send the children away because the parents are standing at a fence and are watching the children as they walk away until they can’t see them anymore. Vladek states that one day in the spring the Germans came back and rounded up 1,000 Jewish people mostly children. The children cried and screamed but the Germans didn’t have mercy on them but slammed them against the wall to make them be quiet. Vladek didn’t witness this incident with his own eyes but heard about it. He later learned that the village that they sent their children to live in was being cleaned out. That was when Anja’s sister stated that she wasn’t going to go to the gas chambers nor were the children. She had poison and ended her and the children’s lives. Her companion was sent to the gas chambers where he was later killed. Vladek then draws two pictures displaying the two bunkers that he has been in. The second was discovered by an informer who sold them out to the Germans. They were taken to a room and there were vans that would come on certain days of the week. The vans would come and people would be taken away to the gas chambers. Vladek knew someone on the inside who worked for the Germans and could possibly save them. He bribed him with jewery that he had. The cousin who worked for the Germans saved everyone but Anja’s parents who were later taken to the gas chambers and killed. Vladek was given a job to fix the soles of the German boots. He had to bury people and one of the people he came upon was the person who sold them out when they were in their second bunker. The informer had been shot and killed. The story goes back to when Vladek and Artie are walking to the bank. Vladek experiences a heart attack and Artie gives his father medicine. Vladek then goes with the story and talks about when someone had made cake and everybody was buying a slice, including him and for his wife. The cake had some laundry soap in it and everybody who bought cake had become sick. Vladek is then introduced to a bunker that disguised by the shoes and they are forced to go in there because the Germans are rounding up the last of the Jews in the village. They hide out in the bunker and when the coast is clear they dress in different clothes and walk out with the Polish workers as they walk to work. Anja and Vladek didn’t have anywhere to go unlike their friends who stayed with other friends. Vladek and Anja just walked and later came to the U.S.
Artie and his father finally arrive at the bank. Well they are at the bank Vladek asks the bank worker for a key to his security box, so he can give it to Artie if anything should happen to Vladek. Vladek then displays what he has in his security box and tells the story behind them. He shows a diamond ring that Anja wanted Artie to give to his girlfriend. Vladek then complains about how Mala wants him to give her all the money and about how many times she has made him change his will. He then asks “why, Artie I ever remarried?” Artie simply answers, “easy pop, let’s go home.”
This story was very interesting and definitely caught my attention because it is another way to tell what happened in the holocaust. But there is broken English written or is that an accent of some sort? Was this story true? It definitely sounds true and I don’t think anybody has a reason to make up such a story, especially when it is related to such a sensitive subject. I believe that this story relates to the Diary of Anne Frank. In the story of Anne Frank, she writes about her everyday experiences and the events leading up to her and her family hiding in the attic. The story continues all the way up to her death. And in this comic it tells what happened when Vladek was in the bunker and everything that he experienced. He also tells about the events of the death of his son and the way that they hid just to survive. This genre is geared to a mature audience or possibly an audience that is being introduced to the holocaust. It could be used as another way to explain what happened.