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January 17, 2005

Book Report

Quick book report today. Finally got around to reading Art Spiegelman's In the Shadow of No Towers. Settle down you skittish book-a-phobes, this is a picture book, no actually a comics book, about the effect of the 9/11 attack and the country's reaction. There's funny, scary and real thought provoking (provoking like "he poked it with a stick until it was provoked to attack him) stuff.

Spiegelman is not a popular guy in red states, or even the blue state that plays host to the commander-in-creep. Through some amazing and fantastic imagery, often multiple levels of reference and direction, Spiegelman speaks clearly and plainly about the reaction to and use of the terrorist attack, how fear and misdirection have screwed-up the country to the benefit of politicians and war business, and in general how we let it all happen to us.

What's fucking brilliant about the whole thing is the use of the Sunday comic format.  Give these things a bit of time to settle on your brain, it ain't Blondie and Dagwood. It harkens back 100 years to the origin of Sunday comics when William Randolph Hearst and his ilk were misrepresenting world events and driving the country towards an unjustified war.  Sound familiar? 

ItSoNT can be read in an hour or two, less if you rush.  The actual content of Spiegelman's comics could be consumed in even less time.  He uses half the book to show archival examples of the original comics he's deriving his form from, and to explain the historical and social context. The comic structure of stacked panels form towers themselves, references within symbols holding story, paradox, history, and fable.  Like we said, fucking brilliant.


The black on black cover image is awesome as well.  This thing is a steal at $20.  

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