The first book leaves off when the Spiegelman’s are being taken to Auschwitz Anja is taken to Birkenau and Vladek stays in Auschwitz. Vladek dies in 1982, before Art is able to finish the first book and he talks about his struggles finishing Maus I. It’s his psychologist and Jewish survivor that pushes him to finish. He had recorded all of him and his father’s discussions and listened back to make the second book.
I think the second book is more personal because there is more interjection from Art’s life than the first one. You meet his wife Françoise and there is even a few pages where the characters are drawn with animal masks covering a human face instead of the usual body.
My family help hide Jews during World War II so I feel a special connection to the story because of my family history. And the intended audience is the new generation that studies the war in class and doesn’t understand the horror because of the way schools present history. It’s in comic book style and does make the story more appealing to the youth.