Book title: In The Shadow of No Towers [+]*
Author: Art Spiegelman
Posted September 11, 2004
This is a gorgeous book. The cover features Spiegelman's haunting black-on-black image of the World Trade Center that the New Yorker published a few days after September 11, 2001; superimposed over the images is a small panel of characters that have been kicked by a goat -- they tumble through the air, confused and mixed up. The cover captures the sense of confusion, loss and fear that Spiegelman explores in his strips.
Like Spiegelman's Maus, these comics are personal. Spiegelman lives very near ground zero and was walking in his neighborhood on September 11. The first half of these strips explore his feelings immediately after the event, as well as his confusion and anger about the U.S. government's subsequent actions. His introduction to the collection is moving and insightful, and several of his panels (like the one where he's trying to find his daughter among 3000 students, at her school in the shadow of the collapsing towers) made me cry. Similarly, his political criticism made me wave my fists in the air and scream, in the same way that Fahernheit 911 did -- it's so good to hear someone speak my pain.
The second half of the book is a bit puzzling. It's a collection of several comic strips from around 1900 to 1905. In all of these examples, there's a nugget that could have been drawn/written today by someone like Spiegelman--a criticism of the government, of the passionless attitude most Americans have toward our freedoms, an exploration of paranoia and fear. As interesting as these were, what I really wanted was more Spiegelman -- I know he works slowly (Maus took him 13 years to write), but still, I wish the book contained more of his work.
However, setting that aside, this is good stuff -- go get it and read it now.
This is my notebook, my musings about what I've read lately. For more about why this site exists, please see the about page.
Key to symbols
* library book
Mysteries & Thrillers
Arts & Crafts
In The Shadow of No Towers [+]*
The Girl Who Played Go [+]*
The Salt Roads [+]*
If Chins Could Kill [+]*
Secret Soldiers [+]*
Caveat Lector: This website documents my own reading adventure. I am the only reviewer and book selection is guided by my own tastes and interests. You may or may not agree with my opinions -- that's what makes the world an interesting place.