Abstract

This essay discusses three Holocaust graphic novels: Will Eisner's A Life Force, Joe Kubert's Yossel: April 19, 1943, and Pascal Croci's Auschwitz. It considers how effectively each work portrays the Holocaust by comparing them to the best-known and most celebrated Holocaust graphic novel, Art Spiegelman's Maus: A Survivor's Tale. The essay argues that Eisner's is the most effective of the group, because Eisner recreates a distanced perspective on the Holocaust. In contrast, when Kubert and Croci attempt to recreate the Holocaust itself, the imaginative leap required to envision an atrocity so outside the realm of ordinary human experience overwhelms their artistic powers. The essay also briefly considers the mainstream comics of both Eisner and Kubert as well as Eisner's The Plot: The Secret Story of the Protocols of the Elders of Zion. The author concludes that, while these graphic novels have virtues, none of them take the aesthetic and thematic risks found in Maus. In closing, Gonshak argues against the widespread critical view that the Holocaust defies artistic representation.

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Additional Information

ISSN
1534-5165
Print ISSN
0882-8539
Pages
pp. 55-79
Launched on MUSE
2010-06-24
Open Access
No
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