One of the best pieces of literature I’ve ever read – never mind one of the best comics – was Art Spiegelman’s Maus, his touching tale of Jewish oppression in Nazi Germany that presented Jews as mice and Nazis as cats.
Or rather, he’s getting other people to tell the world for him, in order to avoid trivialising the death of six million people.
And that’s just one thing about Sim’s Judenhass that is pissing off Brendan McCarthy.
The artist also takes Sim to task in this thread at Mark Millar’s MillarWorld for saying that every creator should write a story about the Holocaust at some point in his career.
McCarthy says: “I’m not sure I follow the logic: ‘In order to avoid trivializing the Holocaust, Dave Sim will be doing almost no active promotion for Judenhass.’ Of course I understand that Mr Sim wants to create a suitable atmosphere of reverential gravitas around his comic book, but his reasoning, ie – that to ‘promote’ a book on the holocaust is to ‘trivialize’ it, seems bizarre. So instead, he asks some other people to promote it, which, apparently isn’t trivialising the holocaust! OK, got it. Perhaps he’ll have a have a word with the publicists for Schindler’s List… Or even Maus.
“Well, I had a quick look at the online preview… Mr Sim reckons that every creative person should at some point, create a work that addresses the holocaust. I’m not Jewish myself, but obviously I think it was a terrible historical event. Through the random biological process of fertilization, I happen come from Irish DNA: Personally, I don’t think that makes me ‘chosen’ by God or any other tribal supernatural entity, but I do think that every creative person should do a work that examines the shocking crime of the Irish Famine, where horrific, deliberate actions by the British led to decades of death, poverty, hardship and mass emigration. And every creative person in the USA should produce a graphic novel on the utterly intentional ethnic cleansing of their own Native American peoples. Twenty million white slavic Russians estimated killed under the Soviet Communists may be worth a mini-series or two.
“In the Second World War, 60 million people were killed, the vast majority of them civilians. An examination of totalitarian systems, whether of the right or the left and how ‘soft’ fascism rises and hardens in democratic societies may be the more urgent subject matter.
“I find Mr Sim’s idea that hatred of Jews (‘judenhass’) is somehow a sort of innate psychological disorder in non-jews ( y’know, 99.999% of the Earth’s population) to be a deeply insulting and wackily racist idea. Tell that to the millions of ordinary working people who gave their lives liberating the camps: They were all a bunch of latent ‘anti-semites’, but just didn’t know it.
“I think I’ll give Mr Sim’s graphic guilt-trip a pass.”
Right on Brendan! Tell it like it is! I’ve seen Steven Spielberg give interviews about Schindler’s List and that didn’t seem to trivialise the Holocaust. And it does come across as a bit, well, daft, to let people like Neil Gaiman and Joe Kubert gush about your comic, but then go onto a message board and tell people you won’t be promoting it.
Still no sign of a reply from Sim…