Last year I read Watchmen for the first time. I read it before watching the movie because I didn’t want my perception of the novel to be influenced by the movie, I wanted to compare the movie to the graphic novel.
I’ve read edgy graphic novels before, but I was primarily brought up on a diet of 2000 AD and Batman. After reading Watchmen however, I made a pledge to broaden my reading spectrum and seek out more edgy, interesting and unusual graphic novels that don’t feature super heroes – particularly ones that have not yet been made into movies. I picked up a copy of 500 Essential Graphic Novels: The Ultimate Guide and one of the first novels I decided to purchase was The Complete Maus by Art Spiegelman.
Maus is the true story of the survival of Spiegalman’s father and mother through the Nazi holocaust with Jews depicted as mice and Germans depicted as cats as well as Polish pigs, French frogs and others which go to form visual metaphors for the range of nationalities featured and their attitude towards events at the time.
Despite its animal theme and comic format, Spiegelman pulled no punches in depicting the realities of life at the time, including the violence and death that encircled his immediate family. At the same time, the novel does not attempt to paint Vladek (Speigelman’s father) as a wholly innocent and guilt-free victim. Not only do we see Vladeks resourcefulness and caring side, we see prejudice, paranoia, stinginess and even racism. In fact this is part of what makes the story so powerful – the fact that his father, despite all he has been through, is human just like the rest of us.
The story recalls to my mind both Watership Down and Animal Farm. Both of which use animals as metaphors to convey certain characteristics, and both of which deal with violence, persecution and other mature themes. The story is both intense and immersing. I didn’t want to put it down, but had no choice due to it being so weighty in words. I do not think it is intended to be a tragedy, nevertheless this is the feeling you get when you come away from it, yet there are moments of humour and hope punctuated throughout the story, including towards the end where Art and Vladek seem to become reconciled towards one another, as well as Art’s revelations through meeting with his shrink. I particularly like the way Spiegelman has drawn himself ‘shrinking’ to the size of a little boy whilst sitting on the couch!
Rich in details and character driven, I highly recommend Maus, it’s a story I think that will appeal even to people who don’t usually read graphic novels.
I hope you liked my first review of a graphic novel, actually my first review of anything really. I just hope my next one is a little shorter and less work!
It’s going to take me a while to setup this blog just how I like it, as well as get the right set of widgets, so please be patient when you find yourself coming back and seeing something completely different!
Well that was quick. My main blog has now been moved over to this domain, soon I’ll be picking up the other blogs and attempting to do some interesting things on this website. I’m working out a way to publish my previous Geocaching logs on a blog, which for now will be utilised through the xml-based pocket queries. But hopefully this can be a base for listing puzzles and multi caches too.
A little while ago I discovered www.itsnotaboutthenumbers.com and was using their embedded html on my profile page. It’s a fine web based tool but I’ve recently come across something cooler which provides even more details – and the best thing about it is it’s cross-platform including Linux.
GCStatistic/" >GCStatistics from MacDefender is a tool which you download to your desktop. Once you open it there is a button to automatically log into geocaching.com and order your ‘My Finds’ pocket query (limited to 7 days). When you get the email you then load the gpx/zip into GCStatistics and select the criteria you want to create statistical charts on all your finds.
You can then export to html, but you don’t even have to switch to your browser and log in, GCStatistics will let you click another button to automatically upload the generated stats to your profile page.
I’m pretty impressed with this tool so I think I’m going to keep using it for the meantime. The stats are mainly for my benefit, there’s really no way of competing in Geocaching since a lot of people have been at it a long time, but I don’t have a problem with others seeing what we’ve been up to.
Happy New Year!
Hey I got a new domain: www.wafitz.net. I haven’t done anything with it yet but I intend to start moving ‘operations’ over there. This blog, maybe a static webcam, geocaching related stuff. And I’m working on a weekly(?) podcast with my brother in law – we’re just ironing out the technicalities.
Speaking of domains and online activity. Ever since I did my first egosurf (way back when we were all surfing web 1.0 with 56k dialup, Google was a sound a baby would make, email was the fastest way to communicate and AOL was a formidable giant of the web) this website is what drew in the top results. The image of the little girl has been “picture of the week” for the last 300 weeks. The whole website has never changed since it’s been up and yet it still gets significant ranking when I google my name.
Of all the daft forum posts, stupid blogs and other nonsense I’ve done online, I’d rather anyone see those than to mistake fitzweb.org for one of my achievements. I am probably not helping by linking to it, it’s probably bad form to even discuss it like this, but it’s something that’s bothered and haunted me for years so I felt maybe it’s time to clear up any confusion.