As G often reminds us, in Iraq, every day is 9/11. Surely there's something just a little bit ridiculous about September 11th being a kind of gruesome national icon, while people suffer on a massive scale in Darfur, and Rwanda, and Iraq, and . . .

Nevertheless, 9/11 is a day I lived through, and it remains a potent memory for me.

I'm using today's anniversary as an opportunity to plug an incredible work of art: Art Spiegelman's In The Shadow Of No Towers. I recommend it highly. If you're not inclined to buy a book like this, sit yourself down in your local bookstore and read a few pages.

Spiegelman, creator of the famous Maus graphic novels about the holocaust, lives near what is now Ground Zero; on September 11th, his daughter was in school only blocks away from the attacks. After 9/11, Spiegelman suffered from post-traumatic stress syndrome, and creating comic panels about the experience helped him regain equilibrium. For a long time, it was the only work he could do. The panels were gathered into No Towers, which was released at this time last year.

In The Shadow Of No Towers perfectly conveys Spiegelman's fear and horror on 9/11, his paranoia and his own awareness of it, and his disgust and further fear of all the new horrors for which 9/11 would be used as an excuse. And, because it's by Art Spiegelman, it's funny, poignant and visually compelling. The graphics pay tribute to a panoply of comic book styles from the earliest days of newspapers. It's a masterpiece.

Here's the publisher's site about the book, a review in Salon with some sample graphics, and more about the genius of Art Spiegelman.


Crabbi said...

I love the Maus books, but haven't read Towers yet. One more for the must-read list.

Spiegelman is so cool. He did an interview - I forget where - and was allowed to smoke the whole time, even though the venue was of course non-smoking. Apparently, he can't go more than five minutes without a cigarette. Not that I'm advocating chain smoking, but I love his quirkiness. No smoking, no interview.

James Redekop said...

Atrios has a nice comment over on his site:

Imagine, if 4 years ago I had told you that 4 yours hence we'd be celebrating the events of that day with a Clint Black concert...