The 9/11 Report

The 9/11 Report: Graphic Adaptation is a fascinating read, I think, both for what it does well, and for its negatives implications.

What does it do well? I think that it proves that graphic novels can tackle nearly any subject, and that the mixed-media approach of art and text can be extremely useful in distilling even some difficult information. Did this subject need a graphic adaptation? No, not necessarily. But does any book need a movie adaptation? No. And some manage to offer a new angle, new and interesting perspectives, that the original material did not. That, I think, is the case here.

The negative aspect of this graphic novel, though, is this: it is already being categorized as a “young adult” piece of literature, which is odd to me. What makes something young adult? Pictures? Are we saying that comics dumb down even the most sensitive and important material, like the 9/11 Report? There’s a growing trend in creating graphic novel biographies (the recent Che biography, an MLK Jr. biography) that I would love to see continue, but if it is assumed that these are watered-down versions of the original, rather than a new artistic treatment impossible in text alone…then the form of graphic literature has a real problem.

I think this was a noble attempt. Not perfect, no. Hopefully, the next attempt will be more visionary, though, so that we can put to rest the question of whether a graphic adaptation is just a kid’s version of adult information.

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