Friday, November 4, 2011

Painful images

36. In the Shadow of No Towers by Art Spiegelman

The About: This collection is a set of one-page comics that deal with Art Spiegelman trying to come to terms with the destruction of the Twin Towers in his city, all the while growing angrier at how the then-administration took advantage of the raw feelings people felt after the attacks. His art goes from obsessive reproductions of the burning skeleton of the second tower to scathing political commentary, none of which leave the reader cold.

Thoughts: I was not in the country on 9/11. Yet I remember being incredibly shocked watching the live footage on TV. I cannot quite grasp the extent to which 9/11 affected people here personally, although intellectually I can understand it. Art Spiegelman's collection is a concise look into how people in New York, specifically Manhattan, felt during and after the Twin Tower attacks. The images burned into his brain are not the ones from newspaper front pages known all over the world; instead, he remembers kids high-fiving inappropriately, or someone painting the burning towers on a canvas on the street. And then there is the image that repeats and repeats: the glowing foundation structure of the tower, ready to collapse, which looms over everything Spiegelman is attempting to create.

This is Spiegelman's personal hurt and anger collected into one volume. Strangely enough, I can imagine this very personal account to ring true for many of his countrymen and women.

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