25 Nov 2010

The Indie Club: 9/11 HEARTBREAKER

The Indie Club is an irregular feature where we take a closer look at any small press or self-published books that have crossed our path.

Writer: Craig Staufenberg
Art: Craig Staufenberg

Matt C: Everyone has their own memory of the day the Twin Towers came down, an event that has loomed over the opening of the 21st century more than any other, and this idea forms the starting point for Craig Staufenberg’s graphic novella 9/11 Heartbreaker. Told from the point of view of a twentysomething Buffalo, NY native, it takes her meeting with a guy who collects peoples' stories of 9/11 as an opportunity to meditate on what historical events mean to us, how we all perceive them differently, and how they have the ability to alter our lives in both obvious and barely perceptible ways. Furthermore, it highlights how history isn’t just about the big, world-changing events – it surrounds us. Everywhere we look is drenched in the stuff, you just have to really pay attention to notice it.

While it tackles big themes, it’s a very personal book, and it succeeds due to the humanity contained within the script. The illustration may be simple (for want of a better word) but it is extremely effective at conveying the emotions of the accompanying prose, and it shows just what a versatile method of storytelling the comic book medium is.

It’s brief, but it’s tightly constructed to ensure that every panel, every sentence, counts. It has a quiet power rippling throughout, strong enough to guarantee that it’s a though provoking read that features a welcome message of hope even when dealing with such potentially upsetting subject matter. 8/10

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