We Are a Long Ways Past Maus: Responsible and Irresponsible Holocaust Representations in Graphic Comics and Sitcom Cartoons

  • Jeffrey Scott Demsky


In 1986, cartoonist Art Spiegelman published Maus: A Survivor’s Tale, the first book in his two-volume graphic comic novel about the Holocaust. He established, perhaps unwittingly, a new genre of Holocaust representation, i.e., comic animation that thrives in current times. While his intervention was “responsible” in the sense that it spurred, rather than spurned reverent remembrance, contemporary Holocaust-themed animation on sitcoms like Family Guy and South Park sometimes poke “irresponsible” fun. American cultural producers have a long tradition of ridiculing Adolf Hitler and Nazism. Joking about the Holocaust and its survivors, however, is something new. This chapter does not consider the question of whether or not this sort of humor is amusing, or appropriate. Rather, this study examines the messaging, delivery, and visible impact of such pop cultural icons on the ways people remember and forget the Holocaust.


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Copyright information

© The Author(s) 2020

Authors and Affiliations

  • Jeffrey Scott Demsky
    • 1
  1. 1.San Bernardino Valley CollegeSan BernardinoUSA

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