Knoxville Comic Shop Raises $96,000 to Give Out Free Copies of ‘Maus’

Knoxville, Tenn. (WATE) — After “Maus,” a Pulitzer Prize-winning Holocaust graphic novel, was banned in McMinn County, Nirvana Comics in Knoxville wanted to make sure students in eastern Tennessee had access to the delivered. The comic book store launched a GoFundMe on January 28 to raise money to purchase copies of the book.

Originally, Nirvana was just going to lend the store’s 10 books to anyone who wanted to read “Maus”, but it quickly grew into something bigger. They set a goal to raise $20,000 to buy 1,000 copies to distribute to local students. However, in three days, more than four times that amount was raised.

“I’m sure that school board and the parents meant very well in trying to protect their kids, but I think they got the exact opposite result because I don’t think they’re protecting their kids by protecting them from books like ‘Maus.’ In fact, they hurt them because they grow up expecting the world to be something it isn’t,” said Nirvana Comics co-star Rich Davis.

By Tuesday evening, $96,309 had been raised and nearly 3,000 people had donated. The store will give away the book to all students who want it, along with a study guide created by teacher Heather Moira Green. Nirvana asks people to contact them on Facebook or Instagram or drop by the store to receive a copy.

“The fundraising success has forced us to reassess how we handle this, as it has grown from a small local initiative to now something that has the potential to impact the lives of many students” , Davis said.

“Right now, there’s a pretty long waiting list to get copies, so we’re going to fill them up as quickly as we can. Residents of Tennessee will get priority, so they’ll be relegated to first place, especially county from McMinn,” Davis said. “After that, we’ll start shipping them all over the country.”

They also encourage students to donate their copy of “Maus” to a local library or to another student who wishes to read the book.

Daniel K. Denny