HUMAN EVENTS ONLINE, which bills itself as “The National Conservative Weekly” and includes ads for such things as Ann Coulter and a website for beleaguered conservatives who can’t bear to date another liberal, has an article saying that the graphic novel version of 9/11 is not seemly or befitting the Memory of Those Who Died :

In just a few short days the comic book shot up to No. 11 on and to No. 1 on my own personal list of creepiest ways to remember 9/11. At the beginning of the first chapter, the 19 Muslim terrorists aboard the four planes are drawn to mimic the newspaper front pages that showed all the terrorists. Judging by Slate’s rendition, the 19 terrorists look like a bunch of caucasian skateboarders (no offense meant toward America-loving skateboarders). I couldn’t bring myself to flip through all the pages, but there were a couple stand-outs that range from absurd to creepy to disgusting.

The writer and artist use the comic book format to portray the Vice President showing virtually no emotion as he casually points to a television showing a second plane hitting the World Trade Center. In another frame, a pear-shaped and messy Karl Rove tells a robotic President Bush that “A twin-engine plane has crashed into the World Trade Center, Mr. President.” President Bush replies, “Oh no! Must have been pilot error!”

The crass images that really got to me were the Batman-like KAPOW! that was drawn over a fiery Pentagon (BLAMM!) and Twin Towers (R-RRUMBLE… and WHOOOM!). Onomatopoeia never seemed so sinister.

The writer of the piece suggests that giving out pins and standing around flags is a better way to commemorate 9/11.

Personally, I feel that education is a better means of preventing another terrorist act within the United States than standing around a flag. But what do I know, I only live here, as opposed to the writer of the piece who lives in a world where Karl Rove is not pear-shaped.


  1. I can understand the reaction, to be honest. The project is clearly open to misinterpretation as a exploitative gimmick, and if they’re using “Ka-pow” style sound effects, I think they’ve grossly misread how the mainstream public is going to respond to that. Hell, even superhero comics have been drifting away from them.

  2. “Even” superhero comics? Those are not read by the general public. This book is already a best-seller. I have two words for you: Dan Brown.

  3. I might be able to take this book seriously were it not so amateurish. The art is sub-Mary Worth and the dialogue is stilted and unreal. There is no good aim here; it’s a hack trying to make a name for himself with the biggest work of exploitation possible.

    But isn’t it funny that this is–proportionately–a bigger success than oliver stone’s or paul greengrass’s films, which did middling buxiness at best?

  4. Heidi, if Dan Brown is including sound effects like KABLOODLINE! and BUBUBABYJEEZUS! in The Da Vinci Code, then sign me up.

    (Bububabyjeezus TM & © M.P.Craig 2006)

  5. I have two words for you: Pear Shaped. No, really…

    The author of the piece sounds like another fella who just can’t stand to be reminded that everyone in our government was caught off guard that day. Does the author state if he was in favor of the 9/11 Commission?

  6. As I understand it, the book is NOT meant to be a dramatization, it is, as I think Salon said, a boring adaptation of a boring document.

    I have a copy of the book right here by my desk. I look forward to reading it on vacation. I have no plans ever in my lifetime to see wither FLIGHT 93 or WORLD TRADE CENTER. Iim guessing I’m not the only one.

  7. QUOTE: “…it’s a hack trying to make a name for himself with the biggest work of exploitation possible.”

    Who in this equation is supposed to be the hack? Ernie Colon? Surely he doesn’t need to make a name for himself. I would’ve thought his standing as an artist was cemented years ago.

  8. I flipped through the book yesterday and while I agree that as a work of art, it suffers from terrible dialogue and cheesy sound effects, it’s nowhere near as upsetting or as disturbing as the actual video of that day which was and has been shown over and over and over again on various news channels. Even more disturbing is the abuse and disrespect that has been heaped upon that day by conservatives like our President on down who use it as an excuse for every abuse of civil rights to the war in Iraq.

    Sorry, didn’t mean to go off on a political diatribe. I’m just tired of neo-cons who seem to live in their own warped reality.

  9. The publisher of the book wanted Ernie Colon to do the drawings because he had a “classic American style” of cartooning. This book is meant to interpret the 9/11 commission report in all of its detail and nonpartisan tedium. It is meant to give those of us who bought the book and never read it and those who will never buy a 600 page government report, another opportunity to actually read one of the most important documents of the new century.

    The 9/11 Report is clearly not the only record of the events of Sept. 11 but is damn good place to start. Despite his generic style, Colon has created some arresting and beautiful images in the book, all the while presenting all the information in the original. Dismiss it at your own peril. **Hyperbole warning** this book could transform nonfiction book publishing.

  10. My 23-year-old son won’t read that huge, long 9/11 Commission report, but he reads graphic novels, so he’ll read the adaptation. My pastor husband has so much reading he MUST do each week to prepare for his sermons that he simply doesn’t have the time to read the full report; I’ll make sure he takes the time to read the graphic adaptation. My 11-year-old son is too young to read the full report, but I want to make sure he is aware of important events that change our lives, so I’ll make sure he reads the graphic adaptation. These are the kinds of people for whom Colon and Jacobson did the adaptation and for whom Hill & Wang published it.

    In other words, I totally agree with Calvin Reid.

  11. It seems to upset some people that two long-time industry veterans are using the clear tools of comics communication. However, for the mass market, that seems the appropriate thing to do.

  12. Indeed. It would not have been appropriate for Alan Moore or Anders Nilsen or even Kevin Huizenga to write this comic.

    If you want a heavy fictional take on the zeitgiest of 9/11 read CAN’T GET NO.

  13. >

    Ditto. And for those who dismiss it because it’s a ‘comic book’, they simply don’t have to read it.

  14. I agree with Calvin Reid and Kat Can. And if the Conservatives (or other agenda’ed folk) don’t like it, let them do their OWN adaptation. We may see the graphic novel market getting more diverse, which could get real interesting. The bottom line? More people reading comics, eh?

    Martha Cornog

  15. I’ve got a sneaking feeling that this guy just isn’t ready to explore what happened on that day in any form of media. I know I won’t read this just as I won’t see the two movies until I’m ready. The difference being that I don’t care if someone else is ready before me and wants to read it. This guy is and THAT is a problem…

  16. I also think the artwork is sub-par, but I think that the book itself is important as an educational tool. As for the dialogue, well, I believe they are trying to stick with what was actually recorded on that day. If you want this to be an educational tool, you can’t really spice up the dialogue to make it read better.

  17. Karl Rove- Pear Shaped? Stupid things coming out of the mouths of Cheney and Bush the Second? Sounds like a completely accurate representation.

    I don’t particularly like the sound effects mentioned in the article. They seem silly. SFX words on a page could never encapsulate the sounds of that day. I would have gone with silent panels and graphic depictions, but that’s just my sensibilities.

    I don’t think Niles knows the difference between exploitation and education. I doubt he even read it. He probably just saw news coverage and a few links to certain pages and made up his mind.

    Everyone should read this book.

  18. ““Evenâ€? superhero comics? Those are not read by the general public. ”

    Yes, that’s precisely my point. Big sound effects in comics are so tainted that even the superhero audience finds them a bit tacky and embarrassing these days – and these are the sorts of people who don’t bat an eyelid at characters called “Doctor Doom.”

    I wouldn’t go so far as to call it offensive, but I think it’s a seriously bad call for a project that ought to be bending over backwards to avoid any appearance of trivialisation.

  19. I would so rather read an Alan Moore or Kevin Huizinga adaptation of the 9-11 report that this capable though bland artist
    In my opinion sometimes a realistic event can benefit better when not using realistic drawings

  20. The whole project is naive. There is no real point to reading the full commision report, let alone an edited down version, except to be critical of it. We’re looking at an investigation that didn’t begin until over 400 days after the crime, “researched” by a commitee working from assumptions that are baseless.

    Don’t believe me? Go look at the FBI profile of Bin Laden and show me where it says he organized 9/11 (According to the Muckraker report the FBI claims there isn’t any evidence). Name any steel structure that burned down to it’s foundation on any day but 9/11 (remember heat rises). Okay rant over, I won’t push your willing suspension of disbelief any further. today.

  21. My whole problem with this is that the commission and report itself was a joke. They Democrats made sure they got their attack dogs on it so they could whitewash the failures of the Clinton administration. I suppose none of you know the name Jamie Gorelick is?

  22. Every accounting of the 9/11 report I’ve ever read was that there was a lot of blame to go around with both administrations, Mike. Why would the commission, first stonewalled, then created by Republicans, whitewash the Clinton administration’s role?

  23. Because the Republicans got fooled into letting Democrats pick half the commisioners (They should have had both sides select everyone in agreement). This led to the Democrats basically selecting people who were known more for being political operatives then anything else. They basically stonewalled and covered up the role of the Clinton administration in their mishandling of intelligence and response to previous Al-Qaeda attacks. Jamie Gorelick was selected when she should have been testifying. It took the Attorney General at the time John Ashcroft to produce a memo from the department that showed she was deeply involved with crafting rules that hindered law enforcement.

  24. Okay kids, let’s not argue about all this crap. There are plenty of forums where we can argue Whitewater vs Halliburton. Let’s keep this vaguely comics related.

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