On Art Speigelman’s Maus: Should Comics Expose Kids to the World’s Horrors? Pretty Much Pop: A Culture Podcast #122


In light of its being recent­ly banned in some set­tings, we dis­cuss Art Spiegel­man’s Maus (1980–91), which con­veys his father’s account of liv­ing through the Holo­caust. We also con­sid­er oth­er war-relat­ed graph­ic nov­els like Mar­jane Satrapi’s Perse­po­lis (2000) and George Takei’s They Called Us Ene­my (2019).

Your host Mark Lin­sen­may­er is joined by comics schol­ar Vi Burlew, comics blerd/act­ing coach Antho­ny LeBlanc, and come­di­an/graph­ic nov­el­ist Daniel Lobell.

Are comics par­tic­u­lar­ly effec­tive in chang­ing hearts and minds when they dis­play peo­ple’s hard­ships? Should kids be exposed to the hor­rors of the world in this way? What about the com­plex­i­ties of social jus­tice and gen­der iden­ti­ty? We also touch on Gilbert Got­tfried and the rela­tion­ship between humor and tragedy, learn­ing his­to­ry vs. read­ing one per­son­’s expe­ri­ence, the ages at which became polit­i­cal, and how comics may have aid­ed that.

Read Vi’s Wash­ing­ton Post edi­to­r­i­al about cen­sor­ship that inspired this episode.

Oth­er rel­e­vant sources include:

If you enjoyed this dis­cus­sion, try our episodes fea­tur­ing Vi talk­ing about the trope of the hero­ine’s jour­ney in film, Antho­ny talk­ing about blerds, i.e. black nerds, and Daniel talk­ing about the com­ic Peanuts.

Fol­low us @ViolaBurlew, @anthonyleblanc, @DanielLobel, and @MarkLinsenmayer.

Hear more Pret­ty Much Pop. Sup­port the show at patreon.com/prettymuchpop or by choos­ing a paid sub­scrip­tion through Apple Pod­casts. This pod­cast is part of the Par­tial­ly Exam­ined Life pod­cast net­work.

Pret­ty Much Pop: A Cul­ture Pod­cast is the first pod­cast curat­ed by Open Cul­ture. Browse all Pret­ty Much Pop posts.

Open Culture was founded by Dan Colman.