On the anniversary of the September 11 attacks, I thought it appropriate to reread Art Spiegelman’s graphic novel In The Shadow Of No Towers. Spiegelman is most famous for his Maus series. Several years ago, I had the privilege of attending a talk where Spiegelman explained his reasons for writing No Towers which made a tremendous impact on me.
The book is not only a personal memoir of his experience of being in New York City during the attack, but it is also a strong social criticism on the US government’s actions following the attacks. He accuses the Bush administration as using the tragedy as a way to justify their agenda.
The structure of the comic strips is intentionally chaotic, creating a sense of confusion in the reader, where one stares at the page, not knowing where to start or where to turn next. Essentially, Spiegelman uses the comic-strip genre as the perfect medium to instill the reader with the sense of anxiety and confusion that he experienced.
There is no question that our world changed after September 11, 2001, and we have adapted to this new world. Many of us, like Spiegelman, have a sense that the world as we know it is coming to an end. So, I suppose it’s apropos to conclude with a quote from Art himself: “I still believe the world is ending, but I concede that it seems to be ending more slowly than I once thought … so I figured I’d make a book.”
Click here to purchase this book from Amazon, or go and visit a local independent bookstore.