The 9/11 Report: a Graphic Adaptation is an an attempt to adapt the 568 page 9/11 Commission Report into graphic story (i.e. comics) format.
The project is being published as webcomic by Slate, the long running online magazine. The graphic adaptation is written by Sid Jacobson and illustrated by Ernie Colón, both of whom have a long history in the comic book field.
The story is divided into chapters, the first thirty page chapter is devoted to the dramatic events of the day itself and the second chapter begins to go into some of the backstory, including the rise of Bin-laden and al-Qaeda. It looks like there will be about 13 chapters in all, so there is quite a bit of backstory and probably more detail on the events of the day to come.
It’s an ambitious undertaking, but Jacobson and Colón seem up to the challenge. Colón’s art is clear, unfussy, straightforward and built on solid draftsmanship, which seems essential to conveying this kind of information-dense account.
Colón’s drawings are also lively enough to keep your attention, and Jacobson knows how to break the story and backstory down into smaller coherent sub-stories, which also seems important in dealing with what could otherwise be a dry mountain of information overload.
The full graphic story project is available as a hardback print edition: The 9/11 Report: A Graphic Adaptation.
We have a chance here to see a broadly circulated example of the medium of comics conveying complex information in a way that is unique to the nature of graphic stories.
Comics are the only visual storytelling medium in which readers move at their own pace, hopefully making it easier for all of us to digest what actually happened on that fateful morning.