The graphic work in question is Sid Jacobson and Ernie Colon's The 9/11 Report: A Graphic Adaptation and it hasn't been without controversy. In Nelson's words, re: the creators's appearance on the Today Show:
"...A setup to their interview showed a relative of a WTC victim declaring the book 'inappropriate." The comcic-book format, she and others went on to say, was just too flimsy or silly or unserious to cover this ultra-serious and very tragic event."Nelson goes on to mention the ultra-seriousness of another topic, the Holocaust, that formed the basis for Art Spiegelman's Maus which won the Pulitzer Prize.
I didn't see the Today Show with Jacobson and Colon (I don't ever watch the show as I need to travel to work while it's on), but Nelson tells us that they explained their purpose was to make the 9/11 Commission Report, a rather weighty report, accessible to younger people and anyone else put off by the sheer size of the thing. She can't argue with that thinking and neither can I.
Why does it remain a part of the public psyche that if it has pictures and is on paper, it's less than serious, less than important, less than meaningful? Why do people persist in the old way of thinking that comic books are for kids, mainly kids who haven't "graduated" to picture-less text?
Nelson calls the graphic adaptation "bold, factual and extraordinarily creative," saying "It's a step forward in an industry that should welcome all the newthink it can get." I say, I agree. And I hope it continues the work Maus did in bringing the graphic format to a wider audience.
Comics already have to battle for an audience. With so much competition from online entertainments, movies, DVDs, gaming, and the like, comics -- the ones still printed on paper -- have to find new readers. There are two good ways to do that. Get younger readers hooked for life and hook the older reader who either used to read comics or never cared for them to try a more adult title and hope they like what they read and see enough to keep buying.
I never outgrew comics because I've always loved visual media. TV and movies and comics fit that description. I'll always love text only books, but there is nothing quite so thrilling as a story told in a perfect blend of words and pictures. If only more people can come to see their beauty, too.