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9-11 - 2001
Volumes 1 and 2
Various Publishers (Volume 1)
DC Comics (Volume 2)
Various creators; $9.95 each
The 9/11 tragedy was probably the most horrifying thing I've ever witnessed,
but even if there were no horror tie-in I would make a point of reviewing 9-11 VOLUMES 1 AND 2. These are a pair of trade paperbacks, containing all
original material from a variety of creators, responding and reacting
to the events of September 11th, 2001. Volume 1, co-published by Chaos!,
Dark Horse, and Image Comics, primarily showcases the work of independent
creators, while Volume 2, published by DC Comics, features the work of
contributors to DC, Wildstorm and MAD Magazine. This gives the two books
slightly different sensibilities (most noticeably, the presence of DC heroes in certain Volume 2 stories), but for
the most part, they really could have been a single book, because every
piece found herein deals with the same theme: the shock, horror, sadness,
anger, despair, gratitude and redemption that consumed us all during and
after the terrorist attacks.
All profits from both books go to various 9/11 relief charities, and I would give them my wholehearted recommendation for that reason alone.
But they also make for incredibly compelling reading. The stories are
all short, ranging from one page to a handful. Some are just images, others
have narrative. They deal with the day itself, the heroism of the rescue
workers, and the response of ordinary people. They cover anti-Arab prejudice,
world politics and history, individual stories of the heroes and victims,
and the experiences of the creators themselves. Some evoke sorrow, others
hope; some anger, others a sad smile. All the work is among the most personal
and emotional the contributors have ever produced.
My favorite stories are the ones that surprised me. Brian Azzarello and Eduardo
Risso's tale of two Red Sox fans struggling with a post-9/11 urge to root
for the Yankees actually made me laugh, which is the one reaction I wasn't
expecting (it helped that I'm a BoSox booster myself: this is our year, I can feel it!). Tom Mandrak's simple yet chilling
one-page depiction of a homeless man who made his home under the WTC and
doesn't know if his friends are alive or dead made me realize that we
will probably never know the identities of all the victims. But, by far,
my favorite story in either volume was a wordless two-pager by anonymous
and Kevin Nowlan, about two lost souls; an old woman and a dog - coming
together in the aftermath of the disaster, and saving each other. And
that sums up the beauty to be found in these two books, and our country,
in the wake of these monstrous events; rather than surrendering to despair,
we have opened our hearts and let love reign (well,
most of us, not those nut jobs who shoot innocent gas station owners).
If you want more reasons to pick up the books, I've got them. At a combined
400 pages for under $20 for both, they're an incredible bargain. The lineup
of creators includes everyone from Will Eisner to Neal Adams, Stan Lee
to Tony Millionaire, Joe Kubert to Kyle Baker. You'll find the first new
Neil Gaiman "Endless" story in years, and the return of "Astro
City. Alan Moore is here. So is Frank Miller. All doing intensely personal,
For the first time, I am awarding Five Rabid Fanboys. The 9-11 volumes deserve the rating, because they are an important example of the
power of the comics medium to explore and understand the human condition
- which is what art is all about. Not to mention it's a damn good cause. So buy 'em already.
copyright 2001 E.C.McMullen Jr.
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