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The 9/11 Report

A Graphic Adaptation

Sid Jacobson and Ernie Colón; Foreword by Thomas H. Kean and Lee H. Hamilton

Hill and Wang

The 9/11 Report Download image

ISBN10: 0809057395
ISBN13: 9780809057399

Trade Paperback

144 Pages



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An American Library Association Best Book for Young Adults
An American Library Association Great Graphic Novel for Teens Winner
A School Library Journal Best Book of the Year
A School Library Journal Best Adult Book for High School Students
A Kirkus Reviews Best Nonfiction Book of the Year
A New York Public Library Books for the Teenage
A Cooperative Children's Book Center Choice
A Garden State Teen Book Award Nominee

On December 5, 2005, the 9/11 Commission issued its final report card on the government's fulfillment of the recommendations issued in July 2004: one A, twelve Bs, nine Cs, twelve Ds, three Fs, and four incompletes. To Sid Jacobson and Ernie Colón, with more than sixty years of experience in the comic-book industry between them, far too few Americans have read, grasped, and demanded action on the Commission's investigation into the events of that tragic day and the lessons America must learn.

Jacobson and Colón have produced the most accessible version of the 9/11 Report. Jacobson's text frequently follows word for word the original report, faithfully captures its investigative thoroughness, and covers its entire scope, even including the Commission's final report card. Colón's stunning artwork powerfully conveys the facts, insights, and urgency of the original. Published on the fifth anniversary of the terrorist attacks on the United States, an event that has left no aspect of American foreign or domestic policy untouched, The 9/11 Report puts at every American's fingertips the most defining event of the century.


Praise for The 9/11 Report

"The work by Sid Jacobson and Ernie Colón is a vivid success . . . This is the kind of work that everybody, sooner or later, ought to take a look at . . . The 9/11 Report packs a great deal of information within a vibrantly accessible format. It's brilliant . . . [and] unexpectedly moving. You learn things you didn't know, and the things you did know suddenly have more clarity and relevance to other things you know."—Julia Keller, Chicago Tribune

"Jacobson and Colon's treatment is laudable. Their 'graphic adaptation' of a dry, wordy document—a best seller when published in 2004—is sure to reach many who never checked out the original. Comics are easy to read because they're easy to look at, even one like this dynamic presentation, packed with facts that still shock and enlighten."—Carlo Wolff, Chicago Sun-Times

"The 130-page 9/11 Report: A Graphic Adaptation . . . arguably places the attacks in context better than any nonpictorial book could, or any film or television show has done so far. And in the simple visual retelling of the written report's results, it carries a profound emotional impact that is disarming . . . Fans of top comic creators such as Frank Miller, Alan Moore and Art Spiegelman have known for decades the storytelling advantages of a graphic novel when dealing with adult issues—whether it's the Jack the Ripper murders or the Holocaust. But the comic book adaptation of the Final Report of the National Commission of Terrorist Attacks Upon the United States may be the best example yet, because it presents so clearly the advantages over the text-only document. Look at the timeline in the written report and then look at the graphic novel, written by Sid Jacobson (much of the prose taken directly from the text of the report) with artwork by Ernie Colón. While the written version must go back and forth between the events on the four hijacked airplanes, the comic stacks the events on top of one another to simulate real time—making it jarringly clear, for example, that United Flight 93 took off from the airport 23 minutes after a flight attendant on American Flight 11 notified American Airlines of the hijacking on that plane. Perhaps most important, the 9/11 Report: A Graphic Adaptation takes a document that is more than 500 pages long and often difficult to penetrate and makes it accessible to a much wider audience—tightening the narrative and increasing the spectacle without the fictionalization that made ABC's recent The Path to 9/11 movie such an unmitigated disaster . . . The finished product is so solid that Sept. 11 commission Chairman Thomas Kean went from skepticism about a Sept. 11 report comic book to writing the foreword. Finally, for Americans who haven't been poring over every blog entry and newspaper article about the attacks, the Sept. 11 graphic novel fills in a lot of gaps. Many of us checked out in the days and weeks after the nonstop coverage, looking for refuge in a trip to the zoo, an Adam Sandler movie, a strip club or anywhere where you were guaranteed not to see an image of people jumping out of skyscrapers to their deaths. Even the well informed will find new things in the graphic novel . . . The timing is right for graphic novels, which had been steadily gaining respectability before the attacks, and now make an even stronger case as a vital art form."—Peter Hartlaub, San Francisco Chronicle

"A stunning document of contemporary history . . . [The 9/11 Report] provides accessibility. Along with that comes a second chance for people to understand, not just what happened on Sept. 11, but also of why and how it happened. This isn't a book to store on the shelves as a memento or collector's piece. It needs to be read."—The Plain Dealer (Cleveland)

"Thought-provoking and timely . . . [The 9/11 Report] has broken ground by using comics to further popularize a critical document for the public good."—Andrew N. Arnold, Time

"Sid Jacobson and Ernie Colón are unfailingly true to the original, whose readability and potboiler pacing are key to its public influence."—New York magazine

"The illustrations are filmic and mesmerizing, as is the text, a tragic libretto adapted from the original, larger text."—Reamy Jansen, The Bloomsbury Review

"The 9/11 Commission Report was a surprise hit when it was released in 2004. Clocking in at over 600 pages, the book was still readable, packed with unexpected twists, and far more compelling than most expected. Still, many readers were probably put off by the volume's size. Enter The 9/11 Report: A Graphic Adaptation, from two legends in the comics business, Sid Jacobson and Ernie Colón. Their take on the epic tome remains remarkably faithful to the original yet also gives it an impact and effect through astounding illustrations. The errors that allowed this terrorist act to occur on U.S. soil are documented, as are the various studies into why it happened at all. As an educational tool or as its own version of the events that unfolded that horrible day in 2001, The 9/11 Report: A Graphic Adaptation is tough to put down."—John Hogan, Graphic Novel Reporter

"[The 9/11 Report] succeeds at what it sets out to do . . . [It] manages at once to be accessible and intelligent, and marks an important publishing experiment."—Houston Chronicle

"The bright, busy graphics and smoke-shrouded 'Blam!' captions will reach a wider audience than the readers who made it through the 567-page document that inspired this powerful adaptation . . . They manage to turn all the verbiage into dramatic imagery while holding to the essential facts of the day . . . You see the agony and the desperation of the moment, and the images linger as the rest of the sad story unfolds . . . The more surprising thing is how well it turns the long and complicated history of the attacks into the simplest of basic truths—an instruction manual on how the world goes wrong."—John Allemang, The Globe and Mail (Toronto)

"A triumph of popular journalism, [The 9/11 Report is] an intelligent and clear account of the causes, events, and aftermath of September 11."—Nicholas Wapshott, The New York Sun

"[The drawings] don't seem at all cheap or lacking in gravity . . . It's some kind of feat that Jacobson and Colón can make the Commission's recommendations about the re-organization of the government agencies in order to better handle the terrorist threat at all interesting, but they do . . . The 9/11 Report: A Graphic Adaptation is one of those books . . . which will likely be a source for future generations of high school kids to learn about the attacks, and it's certainly an honorable, nonpartisan addition to the growing body of stuff that's out there for adults, as well."—Cornel Bonca, OC Weekly

"The choice is yours. You could wade through the daunting 768 page prose-dense version of The 9/11 Report or whisk through this brisk and informative 131-page graphic adaptation . . . [a] remarkable and invaluable document. It should be mandatory reading for high school students . . . [makes] weighty material like this digestible and compelling . . . Colón uses innovative graphics to bring the story to life, with maps, emblems and separate timetables on the four hijacked airplanes. It's a stunning, revelatory achievement."—Contra Costa Times

"It is a tour-de-force display of comic-book storytelling and illustration, used in a way that makes information far more clear to the average reader than a traditional narrative in a government report or history text."—Burl Burlingame, Honolulu Star-Bulletin

"The graphic novel format is an effective way to unravel the complexities of the commission's voluminous report, and comic-book veterans Jacobson and Colon turn in the best work of their careers. Jacobson's adaptation carries the reader through a dizzying amount of information with clarity; especially helpful is the panel-by-panel timeline of the four highjacked flights. Telling those stories concurrently helps remind the reader of the chaos of that morning."—Ken Howell, The Columbus Dispatch (Ohio)

"Gripping, informative and heartbreaking . . . This is a sober, respectful examination through color, line and shading of the unimaginable acts of terror which reached the shores of the United States five years ago . . . Readers move through this book on a journey of pain, frustration, incredulity and anger as the Commission details the permeability of United States airline security in 2001, the chaotic and ill-equipped response to the attacks, and how Osama bin Laden announced his intent, through a well-publicized fatwa, in February 1998 which called for the murder of Americans as ‘the individual duty of every Muslim.'"—David Abrams, January Magazine

"Although a 'September 11 comic book' might not sound like a good idea, this book does a great job in making the report accessible. The format enables the reader to understand how synchronous events thousands of miles away from each other combined to devastating results . . . Students looking for an accessible way to approach the 9/11 Report will seek out this book."—VOYA

"If a picture is worth a thousand words, each panel here is way up in the hundreds at the least. With the blessing of the chairmen of the commission, the writer and artist have given form and feeling to facts that have seemed ungraspable in other ways. Most important, they have done it with restraint; ‘whomps' and ‘blamms' are kept to an effective minimum, and the depiction of violence still eaves something to the imagination . . . The rest of the book pulls images from the report that sometimes pour out of the pictures, or sometimes stand alone as powerful statements . . . The 9/11 Commission makes recommendations for what we should do now, based on a thorough analysis of what we didn't do then. Those recommendations have now been put forth as legislation in Congress; this book provides a concise, literally graphic documentation of where those ideas come from. Let's hope we can hear now what no one heard then."—Robert Moyer, Winston-Salem Journal

"The elasticity of comics makes Jacobson and Colon's adaptation more apt, more suited to our sense of how ‘unreal' the Twin Towers events were, than the 9/11 Report itself. And their adaptation has a diagrammatic quality that makes these fantastic events easier to read about and to understand than might be possible in prose alone."—Stephen E. Tabachnick, University of Memphis, World Literature Today

"A realistic treatment of the events surrounding the terrorist attacks on the World Trade Center and the Pentagon and the struggle aboard Flight 93 . . . The illustrations of the action aboard Flight 93 are particularly striking, conveying the tension of the passengers' fight with the terrorists."—Rob Colenso, Jr., Army Times

"We hope that this graphic version will encourage our fellow citizens to study, reflect—and act."—Thomas H. Kean, Chair of the 9/11 Commission, and Lee H. Hamilton, Vice Chair of the 9/11 Commission

"A comic book, utterly serious, documenting the attacks of September 11. The horrendous events of that day may seem an odd choice for comic-panel treatment, but Jacobson and Colón—known to legions of fans for their longtime work at DC and Marvel Comics—are doing an honorable public service by putting the official report in a form that anyone can understand, through words or not . . . The captions pack a lot of punch. Reads one, 'Little effort in the legislative branch was made to consider an integrated policy toward terrorism. All committees found themselves swamped in the minutiae of the budget process, with little time for the consideration of longer-term questions.' The point is well-taken, even as Osama bin Laden's eyes glower from the page. The graphics are meaningful as well, and some of them, such as the depiction of Afghan leader Ahmed Shah Massoud's last moments, are, well, quite graphic. The book includes the 9/11 Commission's sober determination that the invasion of Iraq was based on anecdotal evidence at best, as well as its recommendations that since so much of the US infrastructure is in private hands, the government would do well to integrate civilians into emergency planning. The most telling moment here comes at the end, and here the graphic treatment is exactly right: It depicts the Commission's 'report card' on the administration's response to its findings, with an average grade of D. All told, a thoughtful—and by no means dumbed-down—approach to events still very current."—Kirkus Reviews (starred review)

"At only 15 percent the size of The 9/11 Report: The National Commission on Terrorist Attacks upon the United States and more than four times the price, is this adaptation worth purchasing? The answer is an unequivocal yes. Jacobson and Colón intend this adaptation to bring to the commission's report readers who would not or could not digest its nearly 800 pages, and they have the blessing, acknowledged in this book's foreword, of the commission's chair and vice-chair to do so. Neither lurid nor simplistic, it presents the essence of the commission's work in a manner that, especially in the opening section, is able to surpass aspects of any text-only publication: the four stories of the doomed flights are given on the same foldout pages so that readers can truly grasp the significance of how simultaneous events can and did overwhelm our national information and defense systems. The analysis that follows in the subsequent 11 chapters cuts cleanly to the kernels of important history, politics, economics, and procedural issues that both created and exacerbated the effects of the day's events. Colón's full-color artwork provides personality for the named players–U.S. presidents and Al-Qaeda operatives alike–as well as the airline passengers, office workers, fire fighters, and bureaucrats essential to the report. This graphic novel has the power and accessibility to become a high school text."—School Library Journal (starred review)

"Feeling that the size and complexity of The 9/11 Commission Report had deterred too many Americans from reading it, Jacobson and Colon have produced this fine comics version . . . Jacobson and Colon avoid sensationalism and editorializing; the captions are adapted or directly quoted from the report itself . . . The artwork is well done, and its depiction (with some blood) of the destruction and the doomed victims can be chilling . . . [an] important and worthy effort."—Library Journal

"This is a dignified, carefully accurate graphic presentation of the basic narrative and conclusion of the 9/11 Report. It's quite astounding what the format is capable of conveying. The text is concise and well-organized. The graphics are dramatic and emotional. If there is an agenda, it is that of the 9/11 Commission: to point out the mistakes made leading up to 9/11 and on the day of the attacks—the inadequate resources, the uncoordinated intelligence—and the final report (December 5, 20005), which gives our nation very low grades in correcting the errors revealed in the commission's findings."—KLIATT

"Bold, factual and extraordinarily creative."—Sara Nelson, Publishers Weekly

Reviews from Goodreads

About the author

Sid Jacobson and Ernie Colón; Foreword by Thomas H. Kean and Lee H. Hamilton

For more than thirty years, Sid Jacobson (1929-2022) was the managing editor and editor in chief for Harvey Comics, the publisher of Casper the Friendly Ghost and Wendy the Good Little Witch, where he created the character of Richie Rich. He was also an executive editor at Marvel Comics for the Star Comics imprint, which published Ewoks and Muppet Babies among other licensed and original titles.

Jacobson was also a prolific songwriter of more than 100 songs, including the top ten hit “The End”, sung by Earl Grant, and Gary Cane and His Friends’ “Yen Yet”, which was featured on Captain Kangaroo.

The author of the novels Streets of Gold and Another Time, with Harvey Comics artist Ernie Colón he created the New York Times bestsellers The 9/11 Report: A Graphic Adaptation and Anne Frank: The Anne Frank House Authorized Graphic Biography.

Ernie Colón (1931-2019) was the illustrator of the New York Times bestseller The 9/11 Report: A Graphic Adaptation, After 9/11: America's War on Terror, Che: A Graphic Biography, and Anne Frank: The Anne Frank House Authorized Graphic Biography. He also worked at Marvel Comics, where he oversaw the production of Spider-Man, and at DC Comics, where he did the same for Green Lantern, Wonder Woman, Blackhawk, and the Flash.

Copyright Shure Lifton

Sid Jacobson

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