In the Shadow of No Towers - Art Spiegelman

Art Spiegelman is the creator of Maus, a well-known graphic novel about his parents' experience in Auschwitz. He's a prominent figure in the world of underground comics, and was also a staff artist and writer for The New Yorker for some time. In the Shadow of No Towers is his personal reflections on the September 11 attacks, which he witnessed firsthand. The image of the north tower just before it fell stuck with him, and over the next two years he created ten broadsheet-sized comics pages dealing with his reactions. He chronicles reactions many people experienced in the days and weeks following the attacks, from shock to outrage at the terrorists to outrage at our own government to the ironic relief that things are back to New York City "normal."

The book itself is a pretty unique piece of publishing: each two-page spread reproduces one of his 14"x20" pages, and the pages are stiff board-book materials. He also includes an essay about old comic strips from the early days of newspaper comics, and then several full-sized pages of the old comics he's referring to. Spiegelman confides that after the attacks he found solace in these comics, and his own comics include many of the old characters in place of himself.

It's a book that doesn't take long to read, but could hold up to repeated viewings. Spiegelman is a genius of comics, and this book contains some real emotions and reactions portrayed in a powerful way.

Fed to jonathan's brain | October 18, 2004