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Looking Back on 9/11

A disturbing old brochure, promoting the World Trade Center.

Ten years ago I was president of the National Cartoonists Society and I brought our annual convention to the World Trade Center, shortly before its demise. I was looking through some of my old files this morning and I found a disturbing brochure (right) promoting the World Trade Center. Oh dear.

With the ten year anniversary of 9/11 coming soon, I collaborated on a French book project with Le Monde’s front page cartoonist, Plantu. We had a 32 page “conversation” about the ten years since 9/11 in comic book format for an anthology called 12 Septembre published by the big Belgian graphic novel publisher, Casterman (they do the Tin Tin books). The cover (left) of the book was interesting, disturbing, perhaps offensive, and a surprise to me.  With victims and planes casually falling, or floating without emotion, and a cute, red lipped chick, big in the foreground. I don’t get it – maybe it’s a French thing. I know that cute chicks on book covers sell books … still …

The collaboration with Plantu was great fun.  Plantu is a big star in France, with his cartoons gracing the front pages of the national newspaper, Le Monde, for over twenty years. I’ve never heard of editorial cartoonists having a graphic conversation like this before.  We decided to bounce back and forth between two page spreads, working forward through the ten years. This was a pretty big project, and explains why I didn’t draw very many editorial cartoons back in January and February.

Le Monde is publishing excerpts from the book in their weekly magazine; a copy of a spread from my conversation with Plantu is below, and further below are a couple of my spreads in English, at a readable size.

One of the spreads from last Sunday's Le Monde, showing my graphic "conversation" with Plantu.