Friday, April 21, 2006



If you are among those who still hear the voiceover from the mid-1960s Batman television show in their ears when you think about comic books -- never mind that you've probably seen the film versions of V for Vendetta, Blade, and The Matrix -- then Hill & Wang, an imprint of Farrar, Straus & Giroux, has a sobering surprise from you.

Soon to be published in 144 serial art pages is The 9/11 Report: A Graphic Adaptation. Of course, it will be edited by Sid Jacobson, who created the Richie Rich comic series, and illustrated by Ernie Colon, who has worked on Spider-Man, Green Lantern, Wonder Woman -- and Richie Rich.

My first reaction to this is that it's good news. Several years ago I'd lost track of a lot of the folks I'd worked with at DC Comics, and somehow I'd heard that Ernie had died. (Of course, there are still those rumors about me.)

The idea of turning a dry report on the events of September 11, 2001 into a graphic novel is fascinating. Making it more accessible has some value... but what does it say about our nation, when the most important event of our lives has to be reduced to a picture book before folks pay attention to it. (Editor's note: I haven't read the report, either, so I'm just as guilty.)

Maybe it's a sign of a culture whose parents will browbeat employers into hiring their young (see my spouse's reference to this particular societal disaster here).

In any event, I don't envy Ernie the task of having to spend hours drawing all that real horror. That's different from Wonder Woman, different from Spider-Man... and way different from Richie Rich.

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