Tuesday, August 22, 2006

A Graphic 9/11

If you make it a habit to visit Slate.com, you might already know what this is about, but if you don't . . .

Slate has coordinated with two graphic novel artists, Sid Jacobson and Ernie Colon, to adapt the government report on the terrorist attacks of September 11, 2001 into a graphic novel format. Every day until September 7, Slate will release another chapter in this graphic novel. (Each chapter is approximately 25-30 pages long.)

Some will no doubt say that doing this is inappropriate, equating the graphic novel format to comic books and writing the entire thing off as juvenile. Others will say that it cheapens what happened on that day. Still others will claim that it is too soon, too raw, too real to be presented in such a way.

I have a small bit of experience with this subject, as it turns out. In the last few years I have worked with graphic novel artists to tell historical stories in this format. I and one of my colleagues even attempted to do this very thing by telling the story of Flight 93--the plane that was crashed by the passengers in the Pennsylvania field. The first draft of the six-page story we began to develop would have (with the exception of one or two panels of disturbing images) told the story of those passengers in much the same way that I think the Slate graphic novel attempts to do.

I haven't read the released chapters yet, but I will hold an open mind until I do so. (You can begin reading here.) I'll report back what I uncover.

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