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Friday, September 17, 2021 

Sid Jacobson's 9-11 graphic novel

The Valdosta Daily Times did a brief retrospective on veteran comics editor Sid Jacobson's 9-11 Report graphic novel from 2006, probably one of the very few in the industry proper to ever deal with the subject. It begins with a fishy part:
Two years ago following the investigation into the Trump-Russia connection, someone asked if I would like to borrow a copy of the Mueller Report, I only partially joked, "I'm waiting for the comic book adaptation."

Which was finally released later that year as "The Mueller Report Illustrated."
And just how honest or dishonest was that? The whole "connection" was phony, all concocted by the Democrats to create drama for attacking a man who's now been unfairly ousted from office for the sake of installing a politician who's not fit for the job into it, which has since led to the horrific disaster in Afghanistan. It wouldn't surprise me if the illustrated take on the topic was biased against Trump.
But several years ago, the 9/11 Commission Report was published in book form. People purchased it as they are purchasing the Mueller Report. I read a copy of the 9/11 Report like many other Americans.

I also read "The 9/11 Report: A Graphic Adaptation" by Sid Jacobson, the man who created Richie Rich, and legendary comics artist Ernie Colon.
Umm, the part about Richie Rich is inaccurate, but what else could you expect from such un-dedicated reporters? Alfred Harvey, Larz Bourne and Steve Mufatti were the creators of the character in 1953. Jacobson may have been the editor for a lot of the Richie Rich stories, but he was anything but the creator per se.
Yes, there was a comic book adaptation of the 9/11 Report. There was nothing disrespectful about it. Jacobson and Colon took a serious look at a serious subject.

From the history of Al-Qaeda's rise to the history of terrorism in America to the training of terrorists in flying but not landing planes to the awful events of Sept. 11, 2001, the details of the 9/11 Report lent themselves to adaptation in comics form.

Though when reading the original report in text book form, the thought would have never crossed my mind to adapt it into a graphic novel.
What's really sad is that, if you take a look at the atmosphere since, much fewer in the industry proper want to touch upon the subject. That aside, I'd written about this subject 15 years ago, and found the GN has a lot of ups and downs, so it's a very mixed bag for anybody hoping to see a tour de force look at a serious topic. As a result, can it be considered the most serious look at the issue?
Jacobson and Colon created a tremendously readable version of the 9/11 Report as a comic book. There were graphic interpretations for data and loads of information boiled down to a hundred-some pages of masterful comic book storytelling.

"The 9/11 Report: A Graphic Adaptation" even received a promotional blurb from comic book legend Stan Lee: "It will surely set the standard for all future works of contemporary history, graphic or otherwise, and should be required reading in every home, school and library."

It was and remains a milestone in graphic storytelling both in terms of displaying what the comic book form is capable of achieving and better understanding the history of an era.

Still worth finding a copy these many years later. Or pulling from the shelf and reconsidering again.
I had looked over the material provided years before, and a lot of the sample pages originally provided by Slate are still online. But as I said before, there are many strengths and weaknesses to the GN, so I wouldn't go so far myself to say it's the numero uno best book on the subject. However, I do wonder how well it's going to hold up now in view of what George W. Bush did wrong in his time, and now that he's made horrific, divisive statements on the 20th anniversary of 9-11, that were throughly inappropriate, and soiled what should've been a moment of unity. It's enough to make one wonder if there should be another graphic novel produced about what's gone wrong with the war against terrorism in the years since, including in France and Britain, but again, if past history is any indication, there's only so many comic writers and artists today who refuse to associate themselves with the subject, and that's why a serious issue like this is unlikely to be explored further, if at all. Political correctness has injured creativity and seriousness only so much. Who knows if even Jacobson and Colon are still willing to tackle all these issues?

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About me

  • I'm Avi Green
  • From Jerusalem, Israel
  • I was born in Pennsylvania in 1974, and moved to Israel in 1983. I also enjoyed reading a lot of comics when I was young, the first being Fantastic Four. I maintain a strong belief in the public's right to knowledge and accuracy in facts. I like to think of myself as a conservative-style version of Clark Kent. I don't expect to be perfect at the job, but I do my best.
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