Two powerful, definitive chronicles of modern atrocities — the perfect books for anyone who doubts comix have grown up. The Pulitzer Prize-winning Maus
is a staggering personal depiction of the Holocaust, rendered all the stronger by Spiegelman's refusal to lionize the victims (Spiegelman's parents are presented as complex individuals — warts and all — instead of saintly martyrs) and his determination to keep his metaphor (Jews as mice, Germans as cats) from slipping into allegory.
Safe Area Gorazde suggests we didn't learn much from the Holocaust except how to avert our gaze when genocide is being enacted practically under our noses. Sacco's account of the war in Sarajevo is human and heartbreaking. His vividly rendered images put us right there in Gorazde, with an immediacy neither film nor prose can replicate. Nothing can truly atone for the world's complacency in the midst of the Sarajevo massacre, but Sacco's remarkable graphic novel goes a long way toward helping us understand the brutalities that our newspapers glossed over. Recommended by Bolton