The Holocaust in Pictures: Maus and the Narrative of the Graphic Novel


  • Tea-Maria Munk Aarhus University



Art Spiegelman, graphic novels, Holocaust, anthropomorphic animals, comic conventions, iconic characters, identification, Literature in English 1, Form and Genre


This article examines the effect of comic conventions and the depiction of characters as anthropomorphic animals in Art Spiegelman’s graphic novel Maus, a pivotal piece depicting the Holocaust and its impact on the survivors and their children. The article will claim that instead of the graphic medium being a hindrance, Spiegelman uses the comic conventions to his advantage, allowing the reader to identify with the characters and narrative in a unique way. In this way the graphic narrative underlines the verbal, demonstrating that the medium of the comic and graphic novel is not purely preserved for fiction or child narratives.


Chute, Hillary. “Comics as Literature? Reading Graphic Narrative.” PMLA, vol. 123, no. 2, 2008, pp. 452–465. JSTOR.

Doherty, Thomas. “Art Spiegelman's Maus: Graphic Art and the Holocaust.” American Literature, vol. 68, no. 1, 1996, pp. 69–84. JSTOR.

Langer, Lawrence L. “A Fable of the Holocaust.” The New York Times Book Review, The New York Times Company. November 3, 1991, Sunday, Late Edition.

McCloud, Scott. Understanding Comics – The Invisible Art. HarperCollins Publishers,

Spiegelman, Art. The Complete Maus. Penguin Books, 2003.




How to Cite

Munk, T.-M. (2018). The Holocaust in Pictures: Maus and the Narrative of the Graphic Novel. Leviathan: Interdisciplinary Journal in English, (2), 54–59.