Aug 14, 2019

Spider-Rama: Amazing Spider-Man #38

Welcome to Spider-Rama! Each Wednesday, Ben and Duy will look at a Spider-Man issue from the very beginning, in chronological order, and answer questions for various categories, inspired in large part by one of our favorite podcasts, The Rewatchables by The Ringer. Our goal is to make it to Amazing Spider-Man #200. Will we make it? Grab your Amazing Spider-Man Omnibus or crank up your tablet to Marvel Unlimited, and then tune in every Wednesday to find out!

AMAZING SPIDER-MAN #38
Spider-Rama
by Stan Lee and Steve Ditko

In Steve Ditko's final issue, Spider-Man fights a guy named Joe.



POINTLESS TRIVIA

BEN: First appearance of Joe Smith.
    DUY: You'd think Joe Smith was a one-time appearance, but no. He even fights Captain America in Cap's 246th issue.



    BEN: Second (shadowed) appearance of Mary Jane Watson. Second full appearance of Norman Osborn.

    WHAT'S AGED THE BEST?

    DUY: Joe becoming an actor after all that is..... pretty realistic.

    BEN: To be fair, I think he becomes a stuntman.

    WHAT'S AGED THE WORST?

    BEN: Joe Smith, the only Ditko villain that keeps the Looter from being the worst of the bunch.

    DUY: In the age of Google, the character name "Joe Smith."

    BEN: Another couple pages of only sound effects. It really seemed like they were coasting as a team at this point.

    DUY: So did Ditko get fired before he finished the cover? The pose is directly from an interior panel.



    NITPICKS

    DUY: My biggest nitpick is that this is Ditko's last issue. Specifically that this is Ditko's last issue.

    BEN: I wish I could remember the source, but another theory I’ve read about Ditko’s departure was that Martin Goodman, the owner of Marvel Comics back then, wanted him gone. Goodman had become increasingly frustrated with Ditko’s behavior and how angry Peter Parker was being portrayed. Stan was stuck in between the two. Allegedly this page of Peter berating the very readership Marvel was catering to, was the last straw. Goodman wanted him off the book.


    DUY: There's something different here though — Peter can't be told he doesn't want to save the world, he does it on a daily basis. Another thing, Stan could have saved this with dialogue if it was such a problem.

    BEN: That’s what I thought as I was reading it, why didn’t Stan fix it? If that was indeed the problem.

    DUY: Could it be possible that Stan didn't think it was a problem, but Goodman did after publication?

    BEN: That could be it. There’s also the other theory that Ditko was mad about not getting any cut of the burgeoning Spider-Man merchandise market. That’s not as glamorous, but is simple enough to be true.

    DUY:  Yeah, I can imagine Ditko simply being, I do X% of the work, I bring in X% of the fans, I should make X% of the money.

    BEN: There’s the saying that all disagreements between NBA players are because of money or women, and I don’t think a woman’s affections was the conflict here. But regardless of why it happened, this is obviously Ditko’s last comic of the character he co-created. I think it was actually a good time for him to go from a purely creative standpoint. For him, and the character.

    DUY: He should have left before. And by "before," I mean "before creating Joe Smith."

    BEN: Frankly, he should have left at #33.

    DUY: Ideal, but #37 would have been fine too.

    FAVORITE PANEL

    BEN: Haha, so random:



    DUY: I'm going to miss Ditko's action sequences so much.



    WHO WON THE COMIC?

    DUY: No one wins in this issue, because it's just a huge shame that 3 of the last four Ditko issues are clunkers. And all following his peak, mind you.

    THE BEST AND WORST OF STEVE DITKO

    DUY: Since Ditko is gone from this point on and he'll never draw Spider-Man again, even in crowd shots (except for that zine he drew to show he should be credited as co-creator), let's rank his 5 best and 5 worst creations who aren't Spider-Man.

    Best: 
    1. J. Jonah Jameson
    2. Dr. Octopus
    3. Green Goblin
    4. Gwen Stacy
    5. Flash Thompson
    Worst:
    1. Joe Smith 
    2. The Looter
    3. The Molten Man
    4. The Cat
    5. Aunt May

    BEN: Going purely by Ditko’s 41 comics, and not what came after. I'm going by volume of terribleness for my worst rankings.
    Best:
    1. J Jonah Jameson
    2. Gwen Stacy
    3. Flash Thompson
    4. Liz Allen
    5. Doctor Octopus
    Worst:
    1. Aunt May
    2. Harry Osborn
    3. The Molten Man
    4. Ned Leeds
    5. Joe Smith

    DUY: You are ranking Gwen way too high here.

    BEN: She's feisty!

    DUY: That's it for Spider-Rama this week.

    BEN: Thank you, Stan Lee and Steve Ditko—

    DUY: Yes, thank you, Steve Ditko—

    BEN: —for telling us we aren't the only ones.

    Leave us a comment below or on our Facebook page. See you next week!

    Aug 12, 2019

    Five Things to Love in Earth X

    We've got a guest column this week! JD Shofner has been a Cube friend for a while, and he particularly loves a specific comic that is celebrating its 20th anniversary this year, so here is...


    Five Things I Loved in Earth X
    by JD Shofner


    Twenty years ago the first series of a three volume epic called Earth X began. Published by Marvel, each series ran for fourteen issues plus four spotlight issues Cap, Four, Spidey, and Thor. The series began in 1999 and ended in 2003. It was written by Jim Krueger with art by Jean Paul Leon and Doug Braithwaite with character designs and covers by Alex Ross. The tale took place about twenty or so years in to the future (Hey! That’s right now!) and is in a lot of ways Marvel’s Kingdom Come. They share a similar time jump and the same near-dystopian landscape, there’s Alex Ross’ involvement and the use of the most iconic versions of most characters (at the base level, as every character has gone through major changes by the time they are introduced in Earth X).

    Earth X, and it’s other volumes Universe X and Paradise X (both with art by Doug Braithwaite), spans from the smallest places (Man-Thing burns the microverse!) to the largest battlefields (every dead hero and villain ever vs the entire Kree race vs the forces of Death herself!). Earth X shines in Krueger’s character studies where he attempts to add slight twists in the familiar super-origins we all know by heart. He weaves a story that has its origins all the way back to the very beginnings of the Marvel Universe. Jack Kirby’s ideas and explorations about alien influences on a young mankind and the world is fully mined in Earth X by Krueger, Leon, Ross, and Braithwaite. It’s the central plot that fingers its way in and through Earth X and the entire Marvel Universe.

    Sadly, the series sputtered critically and it wraps up rather quickly at the end. It’s not particularly beloved or on anyone’s top ten list but it has remained in a prominent place on my shelf regardless. I will stop there to keep spoilers at a manageable level. I’m hoping this might pique your interest in one of my personal favorites. So, as the title up there stated, here are my top five moments of Earth X.

    Happy 20th, Earth X! (In no particular order... and SPOILERS follow.)

    Honorable Mention: Spider-Man



    Spider-Man is not a big focus of Earth X. He isn’t on one of the different team ups we follow throughout the series (though there are a couple of Spider-persons who get a bit of spotlight). He has a stand alone that is not of great bearing in the larger narrative. His story here is more personal. We first meet him as an over weight and retired Peter Parker in Earth X. He looks more like his Uncle Ben than the Peter we know. In Universe X Peter is now back in fighting shape and working for the NYPD along side Luke Cage. In the Spider-Man one shot, Peter has become trapped in a world of his own making (a more-than-a-nod to Moore and Gibbons’ Superman story For the Man Who Has Everything) and he is visited there by his daughter Venom(!!) and they work through their relationship and Peter’s long standing guilt over the death of Gwen Stacy and his failures as a husband to MJ. The art changes as you go back and forth between our world and Peter’s creation. While inside Peter’s fantasy the art is provided by legendary spider-man artist John Romita Sr. I assume this is not a Spider-Man that many people are big fans of. I don’t know, but the emotional and creative way Krueger weaves through the minds and emotions of this particular Spider-family, and having John Romita Sr. provide that classic Spider-man style, deserves to be on my list of moments even if I had to cheat a bit to get it on there.

    #5 THE ABSORBING MAN



    I’m cheating a bit again. This is a subplot that spans almost the entire series and not just one moment. I have always loved the character of Creel ever since I first read Secret Wars as a kid. I have no idea why. And in Earth X a lot of other people love him, too. An entire cult in fact. We learn that years ago Creel, after absorbing the artificial intelligence of Ultron, had killed nearly all the Avengers. He was stopped by the Vision when he was tricked in to becoming stone and then shattered. The Vision hid the “Pieces of Creel” among some lower-tier heroes like Johnny Blaze and Sunfire. However, those pieces were reunited. But Creel decides to save the world instead of taking revenge on it. Why? To save his love Titania, of course! The fact that every one else is saved, too, is just a bonus, I guess.

    #4 THANOS HAS SOME ISSUES, AM I RIGHT?




    Mar-vell faces off with Thanos one more time and reveals Thanos’ “secret origin”. Turns out Thanos’ mother was a Skrull! She was forced to hide her true self and live a lie only her son knew. For that reason Thanos grew up hating his family, and himself, which is why he’s so edgy all the time. This is also why Thanos loves Death more than anything. When he looks at Death he sees his mother. Yikes.

    #3 ODIN IS A JERK



    The Asgardians aren’t gods! They’re aliens! But also gods. But really they’re aliens! Odin was a keeper of the old tales in his village when he was visited by some aliens whose shape and form was determined by what others believed them to be. Odin used these aliens to create Asgard, and separated it from the earth for selfish reasons. There is a moment in the Thor standalone where the book's art style changes completely for a moment when Odin tries to trick his “children” as he manipulates their alien physiology and the world around them. I remember being taken aback by it when I first read it. Loki has a very prominent role in Earth X and his cry of “Why did you make ME evil?!” is my all-time favorite Loki moment.

    #2 NAMOR KILLS THE HUMAN TORCH



    In an overpopulated future the oceans are being over fished. Namor gives the surface world an ultimatum and teaming with Dr. Doom, attacks the United Nations. During a fight against the Fantastic Four, the Submariner murders Johnny Storm which leads to an explosion that takes the lives of Sue Richards and Victor Von Doom. I make that one of my top five because it leads to-

    #1 SUSAN RICHARDS’ RESURRECTION



    In Earth X, when heroes and villains die, they go to the “realm of the dead”. The twist is that the dead think they are alive, and believe that the living are the dead ones. The dead Sue Richards is confronted by the dead Dr. Doom. He helps Sue to learn that she is in fact dead and that realization, with the help of the Soul Gem, helps her escape back to the land of the living to be reunited with her long grieving husband. If you’re a softy like me bring the tissues.

    You can get Earth X on Amazon:

    Aug 7, 2019

    Spider-Rama: Amazing Spider-Man #37

    Welcome to Spider-Rama! Each Wednesday, Ben and Duy will look at a Spider-Man issue from the very beginning, in chronological order, and answer questions for various categories, inspired in large part by one of our favorite podcasts, The Rewatchables by The Ringer. Our goal is to make it to Amazing Spider-Man #200. Will we make it? Grab your Amazing Spider-Man Omnibus or crank up your tablet to Marvel Unlimited, and then tune in every Wednesday to find out!

    AMAZING SPIDER-MAN #37
    Spider-Rama
    by Stan Lee and Steve Ditko

    Professor Mendel Stromm is freed from prison and seeks revenge on his former employer — Norman Osborn!


    POINTLESS TRIVIA

    BEN: First appearance of Professor Mendel Stromm, and the first full appearance of Norman Osborn.

    DUY: Stromm dies in this issue, but comes back to life eventually during the Clone Saga  in the 90s during one of those proposed solutions to the story that didn't pan out.

    WHAT'S AGED THE BEST?

    BEN: Gwen with the cold burn on Harry Osborn:



    DUY: At this point I think they're realizing that organized crime with the journalism stuff has kinda become a niche they can fall back on. After two dud issues, we're back to the crime beat.

    WHAT'S AGED THE WORST?

    BEN: I have never been able to differentiate between Smythe and Stromm.

    DUY: This definitely does not age well, for obvious reasons.



    BEN: If you isolated Peter’s interactions with his classmates without the benefit of his thought bubbles or concern for his aunt, he’s a real dick.

    NITPICKS

    BEN:  I’m pretty sure the cops noticed Spider-Man exiting that stolen car and swinging off.

    DUY: You're telling me this new secretary has not once seen JJJ smile?



    BEN: Not even Jonah’s creepy unnerving smile?

    DUY: And well, this is a complete 180.




    BEN: But he’s scared of the Looter, right, Gwen?!?

    FAVORITE PANEL

    DUY: College can give you a new confidence. I can see that.



    BEN: Spider-Man: Noir is born.



    DUY: But I want to point out this one too. I know that some readers struggle with the idea that a character is lying, but I love how for a character like Jameson, it's just so obvious. "All I'M doing is publishing the result of an absolutely impartial, unbiased newspaper survey! La dee dah!"



    BEN: You’d have to be pretty dense not to understand Jameson’s duality.

    WHO WON THE COMIC?

    BEN: Say it with me now: Gwen Stacy.

    DUY: No way, for the first time in a while it's the new character. Norman wins this one. At the very least, you're intrigued.

    BEN: So, Norman Osborn is introduced and he’s clearly evil, which is a point toward him always planned as the Green Goblin reveal. Plus, there’s the silent ascent to the high window, and silent retreat. Points against, are him using a regular gun, and being a little too scared of Stromm. But those could be intentional misdirects. A pumpkin bomb would be too obvious, of course.

    DUY:  I doubt this was intentional, but Norman hits Peter in the back of the head and says "If that blow didn't finish him off" as if he's convinced he could have actually done the job. Either that's a sign of an egomaniac, or someone with superstrength... You know what, I'm convinced. This issue has convinced me. Norman was always going to be the Goblin. I don't know how the legend persists. It's actually obvious if you read the comics. Norman wins.

    BEN: That’s a solid point. My counter is, Gwen Stacy.

    DUY: That's it for Spider-Rama this week.

    BEN: Thank you, Stan Lee and Steve Ditko—

    DUY: —for telling us we aren't the only ones.

    Leave us a comment below or on our Facebook page. See you next week!

    Aug 5, 2019

    The MCU Is About to Get Nerdy

    I used to make the two-mile ride on my white Huffy BMX bike to Campus Comics several times per week.  Sometimes several times a day on the weekend if a back issue I absolutely needed to have came in, prompting me to race back home in search of loose change or comics to trade in for credit.  The first comics I ever read were Transformers, but it was Spider-Man and the X-Men that made me a comic book fanatic.

    Like most fanatics, you get hooked by the popular acts before eventually digging deeper into the more obscure gems.  At some point, when you’ve run out of money for the big names, you’ll try anything that might satisfy your craving for fictional adventure.  Fans of the Marvel Cinematic Universe are about to experience that same progression.

    The Marvel Cinematic Universe Is About to Get Nerdy
    Ben Smith

    Fans of the ever expanding Marvel movie universe started much like many of us longtime comic book readers did, with superhero A-listers like the Avengers.  Captain America, Iron Man, and Thor may not have been household names when the movies began, but they’ve been mainstays of the comic book universe since the very beginning.  They have very much been the same gateway type of characters for many a comic book fan, as they became for movie fans.

    Alongside those Avengers, Hulk and Spider-Man are the biggest pop culture icons Marvel has had pretty much from the very beginning of the company.  They’re as mainstream as superhero characters can get.

    A character like Doctor Strange was a bit more of a stretch in the eyes of comic book fans, but not really that much more than Captain America was.  Strange was created by Steve Ditko, one of the legends of the industry, all the way back in 1963.  He may never have been front and center in the Marvel comic universe, but he’s been around ever since then. The real big swing of the first ten years of MCU movies was Guardians of the Galaxy, at least from a comic fans perspective.  The few of us that knew about them, knew they’d be perfect for a larger audience, and that was proven to be true.

    But you can only read Avengers or Spider-Man or X-Men so much before you start getting interested in even more obscure characters.  For me, that meant discovering Micronauts, Iron Fist, and Ghost Rider in the back issue boxes.



    In that same vein, the next wave of the Marvel Cinematic Universe is about to get pretty weird.  Falcon, Scarlet Witch, and Vision have primarily only been supporting characters in the comics and the movies.  In the comics, they’ll occasionally get their own limited series, which is the equivalent of what these streaming shows will probably be.  Loki is a villain, so to stick with my analogy, you probably weren’t getting any comics with villains as a lead character until you were fully a comic junkie.



    The Eternals is a comic that most hardcore comic book fans have likely never even read.  It involves a race of immortal humanoid beings created five million years ago by super powerful godlike beings named Celestials.  The Celestials created the perfect Eternals, and the monstrously grotesque Deviants.  Hijinks ensued.  Even though the Eternals was created by the legend Jack Kirby in 1976, they’ve had less than 50 issues of comics published since then.  They are about as obscure as mainstream superhero comics get, which is why the cast is absolutely loaded with big name talent.



    Thor is the biggest name in the announced slate of projects, but the reception to Ragnarok was polarizing online (even though the naysayers are definitively incorrect, it’s a top 5 MCU film).  It was also revealed that Natalie Portman’s Jane Foster will become Thor, which is based on a comic storyline that was arguably even more polarizing among online fans (again, the naysayers are dead wrong; those comics are fantastic).



    I don’t think anyone could argue against the first Doctor Strange as one of the middle tier MCU movies in terms of success.  But it looks like he’s going to be one of the centerpieces in this phase of movies.  It’s something we see in the comics from time to time, if a character can make the leap fully onto the A-list.



    Last but certainly not least is Shang-Chi, a character that has gone long stretches without published comic book appearances, and has been hampered by a connection to the racially offensive Fu Manchu.  Not to mention the stereotypes involved with the first Asian superhero lead character being a martial arts master.  Despite all those roadblocks, I don’t doubt that if you strip the character to his core, he could be a great vehicle for an entertaining movie.  And if it can appeal to an underserved demographic the same way that Black Panther and Crazy Rich Asians did, it’s sure to be a smash success if they can execute it properly.


    The obscure comics may never have been as successful as the popular superheroes, but that doesn’t mean they weren’t as entertaining.  The next phase of the MCU may be the most challenging yet for Marvel Studios in terms of name recognition (both character and actors) idea execution, and marketing unknown or supporting heroes to the audience, but I have full confidence they can do it.  Not every movie they’ve made has been great, but they haven’t really let me down yet.

    But I’m a mark for Marvel already, the true test will be to see if the movie fans are ready to get nerdy with us.  I believe they will.

    Recommended Reading:

    Jul 31, 2019

    Spider-Rama: Amazing Spider-Man #36

    Welcome to Spider-Rama! Each Wednesday, Ben and Duy will look at a Spider-Man issue from the very beginning, in chronological order, and answer questions for various categories, inspired in large part by one of our favorite podcasts, The Rewatchables by The Ringer. Our goal is to make it to Amazing Spider-Man #200. Will we make it? Grab your Amazing Spider-Man Omnibus or crank up your tablet to Marvel Unlimited, and then tune in every Wednesday to find out!

    AMAZING SPIDER-MAN #36
    Spider-Rama
    by Stan Lee and Steve Ditko

    Spider-Man fights The Looter!


    POINTLESS TRIVIA

    BEN: I have a disproportionate level of fondness for this issue because it was the only Ditko Spider-Man comic I owned as a kid.
    DUY: First Looter. As if that matters.

    WHAT'S AGED THE BEST?

    DUY: Uh, so the Looter failed science in high school but is convinced he's a genius. There's actually a modern psychoanalytical story to be told here because he's clearly delusional. A good writer could really work with that, I'm not even being sarcastic. Also, Spider-Man closing his eyes and just following his spider-sense is always so cool, I have to wonder why he just never does it by default. And here's Peter's self-centeredness coming into play: "Why do I always get interested in girls that can't see me for dust?!!" He's already forgotten about Liz.

    BEN: And Betty literally gave him eight more second-chances than he deserved

    WHAT'S AGED THE WORST?

    BEN: The Looter's real name, Norman Fester. His facial hair. The only thing that keeps the Looter from being the worst Ditko Spider-Man villain is issue #38.

    DUY: "Spidey as you like him! In college!" on the cover feels like blatant pandering to the new crowd.

    BEN: And they depict it exactly like high school.

    NITPICKS

    BEN: Look, if a costumed criminal ever leapt into a room I was in, you better believe I’m running away as fast as possible. I know it’s part of his bad luck persona and all, but these other characters shouldn’t be holding it against Peter because he appears to flee.

    DUY: First girl Peter ever hits on in high school is named Sally. First girl who ever hits on him in college is named Sally. And there is no way Peter Parker turns down a date just because the girl sees him as an egghead. Where the hell does the "Betty only liked me for my brains" thing come from? And did Norman Fester get powers and decided he needed to look younger and then dyed his hair brown? This entire issue is a nitpick!

    FAVORITE PANEL

    DUY:  I kinda like this. Spider-Man is so agile that he's even accurate when he's going through structures.



    BEN: Mine:



    WHO WON THE COMIC?

    DUY:  I dunno, that's two duds in a row. I guess the Looter wins this one just because he's not Joe Smith.

    BEN: Victory! But no, it's Gwen.

    WHERE'S BETTY BRANT?

    BEN: It would appear Betty is officially phased out of the comic for now. Why do you think they wanted to end the Peter and Betty relationship?

    DUY: I would think it was just time. We're committed to this new direction (college, which surprises me a bit that Flash is still there). Writing Betty and Liz out actually foreshadows the fact that that's eventually gonna happen to Gwen.

    BEN: Betty had fallen into a rut as a love interest. A rut that Gwen would ironically succumb to also. Flash was too important as a pain in the ass to lose.

    DUY: Gwen eventually gets to the point where they can't break up because they're too in love. Betty.... I never really bought it.

    BEN: It’s a pretty perfect rendition of puppy love to me.

    DUY: That's it for Spider-Rama this week.

    BEN: Thank you, Stan Lee and Steve Ditko—

    DUY: —for telling us we aren't the only ones.

    Leave us a comment below or on our Facebook page. See you next week!

    Jul 29, 2019

    The Five Most Horrific Scenes from Art Spiegelman's Maus

    Art Spiegelman's Maus is legendary. Originally published in the magazine Raw between 1980 to 1991, its first volume came out in 1986 and is frequently mentioned in the same breath as Alan Moore and Dave Gibbons' Watchmen and Frank Miller's The Dark Knight Returns as part of a triumvirate that changed comics. In 1992, Maus won the Pulitzer Prize.

    Maus is an biographical comic. It tells the story of Art Spiegelman's dad, Vladek, a Holocaust survivor, and weaves in and out of the present and the past. Each chapter starts with Art visiting his father, and then goes into his father recounting his experience in the Holocaust. It's what's called a "frame tale," or a story within a story.

    Spiegelman is, in his other works, incredibly experimental, playing with symbols, panels, and other constraints of the comic page to see what the medium can do. But in Maus, he uses exactly one conceit: each race is represented by a different animal (the main one: Jews are mice and Germans are cats). Other than that, the art style is straightforward and even quite crude, and it works perfectly. The diagrammatic, minimal lines really force you to focus on the content, so without further ado, here are, for me, the five most horrific scenes in Art Spiegelman's Maus.

    5. Just bodies lying around

    There's a scene towards the end of the war where the Jewish prisoners get taken on a train, and then the train just... stops. They start eating snow from the window just to stay hydrated, and if you fell, the prisoners would just step on you.


    In the concentration camps, the Nazis wouldn't clear the place of dead bodies, so those who stayed alive just had to walk over corpses.

    4. Every man for himself

    If that sounded like compassion and empathy were in short supply in the camps, it was. Vladek Spiegelman mentions you'd even have to bribe family members just so they could help you out of a jam. The scene that struck me the most in this regard is this one, in which the camp guards wanted soup transported, knowing full well that a beating awaited any prisoner who would drop the soup and spill it. Spiegelman immediately found the strongest other prisoner he could get his hands on so that they wouldn't spill anything, leaving the weaker prisoners to be paired up with each other. And if they dropped the soup? Too bad.



    3. They built their own gas chambers

    And yes, the Nazis had the Jewish prisoners working on building the gas chambers that would be used to kill them.

    It seems difficult to believe, as we're raised on a diet of fiction in which the underdog can overcome, but Vladek explains to Art, amidst Art's utter confusion, that there were many reasons the Jews didn't fight back:

    • There was a general state of disbelief at everything that was happening, and the Jews were too beaten and tired to fight.
    • The Jews lived in hope that someone would come to save them.
    • The Nazis had the weapons, so whether you fought them or not, you end up dead regardless.

    I can't imagine living under such conditions. And neither should anyone reading this in 2019 be able to.

    2. The callous killing of children

    "Some kids were screaming and screaming, and they couldn't stop. So the Germans swinged them by the legs against a wall... and they never anymore screamed."


    Jews were dehumanized so much that the callous murder of a child was not uncommon. And, horrifically, they were beaten down so much that the governess of Vladek's first child, thought it was okay to kill them, because at least this way they wouldn't be killed by Nazis.


    Dehumanization and oppression bring out the worst in everyone, and this should not ever be a thing humanity should have to return to.

    1. These three scenes in the present day

    After a long day of hearing his dad talk about the Holocaust, Art Spiegelman finds out that his dad threw out his coat. He becomes fixated on this.
    After hearing about the horrors his dad went through, all he can focus on is how his coat is gone.

    I am not judging. I would react exactly the same way. But it does make me think about whether or not that reaction is appropriate in that context.

    Worse, when Art and his wife, legendary comix editor Francoise Mouly, pick up a black hitchhiker, Vladek reveals himself to be a flat-out racist.




    Francoise snaps, "How can you, of all people, be such a racist! You talk about blacks the way the Nazis talked about the Jews!", to which Vladek responds with "I thought really you are more smart than this, Francoise. It's not even to compare the shvartsers and the Jews!"

    Despite everything that's happened to him as a result of bigotry and prejudice, Vladek gives in to the same thoughts, perhaps not to the same degree that he's calling for their deaths, but certainly in the same vein in that he wants nothing to do with them.

    And that's scary. If someone who lived through something like the Holocaust still harbors basic prejudices, what hope does the rest of humanity have?

    The third scene takes place when Art is talking to his therapist, also a Holocaust survivor.



    "...Look at how many books have already been written about the Holocaust. What's the point? People haven't changed... maybe they need a newer, bigger Holocaust."

    I dunno about you guys, but that disturbs me. And it's scary. And compared to when I first read this book in 2002, it feels all the more resonant.

    Maus is a groundbreaking book and I would recommend that you all read it, because we should all be able to learn from history.

    If only it were so.