Art Spiegelman, the author/artist of the Maus books, is an artist in real life. Art and his father Vladek never got along as father and son and fought continually. Finally, Art realized that if he were ever to understand his father and thus make peace with him, he needed to hear his father's story. As he listened to his father, he was horrified at his family's experience in World War II, and wanted to tell the story to the world. Because he was an artist, the drawing of Maus using animals as people became a way to tell the story with some distance between the reader and the horror of the story, plus use his skill as a cartoonist to tell the story in a new way. The graphic novel had not really appeared much in 1991 when Maus was published, and Spiegelman's drawings of the Holocaust's horrors were brand new and made the story much more approachable for his audience of readers.