‘Maus’ sales surge after Tennessee school bans the acclaimed graphic novel


Following the controversial Tennessee school district banning of the graphic novel Maus, by Pulitzer Prize-winning Art Spiegelman, sales of the source material have surged.

Just days after the banning made national news, two editions of the graphic novel have reached the Top 20 on Amazon, and are in limited supply according to the Associated Press.

With Maus reaching number twelve early Friday evening, the delivery date was backed up all the way until mid-February, as per the report. The Complete Maus, which also includes the second volume, was out of stock and at number nine on the site’s sales rankings. That’s a stark contrast compared to the beginning of the week, when neither edition even cracked the top 1000.

When the news began to get national attention, Sandman comic book author and Good Omens showrunner Neil Gaiman weighed in on the situation, stating in a viral tweet Wednesday, “There’s only one kind of people who would vote to ban Maus, whatever they are calling themselves these days.”

Documentarian Ken Burns expressed similar disgust at the the situation, saying on Twitter, “The history of the Holocaust includes the banning of books.”

“Maus is a work of art that has helped generations understand Nazi brutality and how they dictated what people could think, ready and say. When you become fearful of ideas you forfeit your freedom,” he said.

The comic book is autobiographical, depicting Spiegelman’s father’s experiences in a concentration camp. The illustrations depict mice as persecuted Jews and cats as German Nazis. There are sections of the book where graphic depictions of Spiegelman’s mother, also a Holocaust survivor, are presented in a drawing as a nude, human woman having committed suicide in a bathtub.

According to the minutes from the board meeting, the vote for the removal of Maus from curriculum earlier this month at McMinn County School Board in Tennessee had cited “inappropriate language” and an illustration of a nude woman.

The decision from the Tennessee school board comes on the heels of conservative-sponsored legislation and other books pulled from curriculum, such as Tony Morrison’s The Bluest Eye and Harper Lee’s To Kill a Mockingbird.

About the author

Danny Peterson

Danny Peterson

Danny Peterson covers entertainment news for WGTC and has previously enjoyed writing about housing, homelessness, the coronavirus pandemic, historic 2020 Oregon wildfires, and racial justice protests. Originally from Juneau, Alaska, Danny received his Bachelor's degree in English Literature from the University of Alaska Southeast and a Master's in Multimedia Journalism from the University of Oregon. He has written for The Portland Observer, worked as a digital enterprise reporter at KOIN 6 News, and is the co-producer of the award-winning documentary 'Escape from Eagle Creek.'