There’s been a lot of kvetching in various venues over THE 9/11 REPORT: A GRAPHIC ADAPTATION by Sid Jacobsen and Ernie Colon — it’s simplistic, it’s inappropriate, blah blah. This review at sums up many of the objections even while sheepishly admitting that the book makes the story easy to follow:

Exhibit A: is there anything gained from drawing a bunch of phone operaters saying the phone system is swamped with a caption from the 9/11 report saying, the phone system was swamped?

Any critique of a comic’s effectiveness must weigh whether the art and the text balance each other, assist each other, or just become superfluous. Guess what happens most of the time here?

[snip]That’s what this is. And, like Classics Illustrated, the purpose isn’t the comic. The purpose is to basically fill you in on the plot details of a book you won’t read otherwise. And on that level, 9/11 Commission Chair Thomas Kean and I agree: A graphic adaptation works. I still haven’t read the original.

Jacobsen and Colon appeared on The Today Show yesterday morning — a pretty lofty place to sell books. The video is here, but as usual, our Mac can’t handle it.

Any way you slice it, the book is getting a LOT of attention.
And it appears to be paying off. As of yesterday, the book was at #7 on Amazon. Not on the graphic novel chart, but overall.

We could be looking at an actual bestseller here. And yeah, it may not be elegant, and it may have a lot of exclamation points, but this kind of straight-ahead storytelling has the potential to appeal to a LOT of people. Worth remembering.


  1. My mac played it fine. Which mac do you have Heidi? Maybae it isn’t your mac, maybe it’s your modem connection or something…?

  2. Jacobson and Colon were also on NPR’s Talk of the Nation on Tuesday. They explained that they wanted to make the report understandable by all readers of all ages. I saw an advance copy at the American Library Association Annual Conference in June – Messrs Jacobson and Colon succeeded in doing just that. That’s good enough for me.

  3. What ticked me off about the Tom Paine review was the offhand dismissal of Ernie Colon as a “hack artist for Richie Rich,” tossed off as if to explain the allegedly crappy quality of the material. (Wonkette also played the Richie Rich card.) If nothing else, it shows how low the reviewer’s esteem is that they pretty much ignore all the other work Colon’s done–not to mention condemning his work for Harvey, presumably simply because it was done for a kids comic. That’s not only a lack of class, the lack of simple research also speaks poorly of the reviewer’s journalistic abilities.

    Sorry, sorry, it just really ticked me off. I have yet to read the book (or the excerpts), but I appreciate Colon’s work, especially the stuff he did for DC in the ’80s.

  4. To know that Colon worked on Richie Rich actually made me happy, because I read a LOT of Richie Rich comics when I was a little kid (many decades ago). A caller to the Talk of the Nation took NPR to task for perpetuating the image of comics as “the drooling idiot bastard stepchild of literature.” We need to take Tom Paine and others like him to task for the very same thing.

  5. I’m sure the book is selling well and doing great, but those Amazon numbers don’t mean as much as one might think. They have a weird algorithm to get that list. I’ve known folks with #1 DVDs on Amazon and didn’t really sell all that much.

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