BOOK REVIEW- ART SPIEGLEMAN – IN THE SHADOW OF NO TOWERS. 2004 Penguin Viking
Spiegleman’s masterful summary of his feelings following the collapse of the World Trade Centre on one of the most infamous days in modern history is presented in graphic comic strip art.
Few artists and book illustrators would dare to touch such subject matter, but Spiegleman had already dealt with his father’s experiences in the Concentration camps in Maus, and this book echoes that in many ways, most obviously by depicting the Jews of New York, and especially Spiegleman and his family, as mice. He wonders if the smell of the burning, dust, and charred flesh in the air as the towers caved in was the same smell of death his father smelled at Auschwitz.
Spiegleman narrowly avoided being killed in the attack, when he went to get his daughter from her school, close to the towers, between the planes hitting the towers and the collapse of the buildings. Haunted afterwards by the sight of the destruction, and how American politicians under the Bush administration hijacked the tragedy as wartime propaganda in a search for non-existent weapons of mass destruction, Spiegleman sought solace in a nostalgic love of old comic books, many of them set in a New York of the former age, but even that escapism kept reminding him of the grim realities, and characters from the Golden age recur in his modern comic strip to very haunting effect. The way modern politics seems to shrink the towers is well captured, and the simple line drawing of the glowing embers of the crumbling buildings are used to very emotional effect.
Some of the older comic strips are given in post-script to the main personal story, which makes the events of 9/11 as poignant in comic format as the terrifying events of Maus itself.
In The Shadow Of No Towers on wikipedia
FACEBOOK - http://profile.to/arthurchappell/
MY TWITTER PAGE - http://twitter.com/arthurchappell