Spiegelman lives with his wife and daughter in lower Manhattan. He and his wife were at home on the morning of September 11, 2001, and their daughter was at the United Nations school, in the shadow of the Twin Towers. When the first plane was flown into the south tower, Spiegelman and his wife Francoise ran to the school to retrieve their daughter. The 2nd plane was flown into the north tower while they were at the school. As they were leaving the school, daughter in tow, the 1st tower collapsed.
The first half of In The Shadow of No Towers is a set of large-format (tabloid-size) collage-style ‘comix’ depicting the events of that day from Spiegelman’s perspective. One image that repeats throughout is that of the tower glowing red just before it collapsed. Spiegelman swears that he could see the ‘bones’ of the building glowing.
He had a hard time getting this published in the US. Die Zeit in Germany offered to publish the series, and finally The Forward published them in the US.
The second half of the book is a collection of full-page newspaper comics from the early part of the 20th century. Don’t ask me why.
I found the Towers strips very moving. Like Spiegelman, I have been dumbfounded by the fact that apparently the entire US has gone completely insane since 2000. The Bush regime has systematically shredded the constitution, looted the treasury, transferred huge amounts of wealth from the working class to the wealthy, and exploited the terrorist acts of September 11 for their own political ends. Since then the regime has invaded two countries, one of which had absolutely nothing to do with the attacks of September 11, and has used that war as a means by which to divert still more money from US taxpayers to wealthy corporations. And there seems to be nothing we can do about it. Spiegelman is appalled. I am appalled. This book expresses some of that, and does it from the perspective of someone who was there, and whose life was directly and deeply affected by the attacks.