There’s been a lot of kvetching in various venues over THE 9/11 REPORT: A GRAPHIC ADAPTATION by Sid Jacobsen and Ernie Colon — it’s simplistic, it’s inappropriate, blah blah. This review at TomPaine.com sums up many of the objections even while sheepishly admitting that the book makes the story easy to follow:
Exhibit A: is there anything gained from drawing a bunch of phone operaters saying the phone system is swamped with a caption from the 9/11 report saying, the phone system was swamped?
Any critique of a comic’s effectiveness must weigh whether the art and the text balance each other, assist each other, or just become superfluous. Guess what happens most of the time here?
[snip]That’s what this is. And, like Classics Illustrated, the purpose isn’t the comic. The purpose is to basically fill you in on the plot details of a book you won’t read otherwise. And on that level, 9/11 Commission Chair Thomas Kean and I agree: A graphic adaptation works. I still haven’t read the original.
Jacobsen and Colon appeared on The Today Show yesterday morning — a pretty lofty place to sell books. The video is here, but as usual, our Mac can’t handle it.
Any way you slice it, the book is getting a LOT of attention.
And it appears to be paying off. As of yesterday, the book was at #7 on Amazon. Not on the graphic novel chart, but overall.
We could be looking at an actual bestseller here. And yeah, it may not be elegant, and it may have a lot of exclamation points, but this kind of straight-ahead storytelling has the potential to appeal to a LOT of people. Worth remembering.