The Big Lie #1
Writer(s): Rick Veitch
Artist(s): Rick Veitch, Gary Erskine, Thomas Yeates
US PUBLISHER: Image Comics
A scientist travels back in time to warn her husband about the 9/11 attacks, and tries to show him proof.
Browsing through my LCS (Local Comic BookShop) I found this sitting in a shelf, very lonely and without much sales, as the store clerk told me.
I will divide this review in two small segments. One for a comic review on the merits of the issue, devoid (as much as possible) of political connotations
The second part will be a mention to the political weight that this comics contributes to the 9/11 debate.
I found this comic to be commendable as “documentary comic”. “Documentary comic” used to be more prolific in the US between the 1950’s and 1970’s.
Documentary comic have a horrible tendency of being used frequently for propagandistic purposes. Religions use it to proselytize, political parties to gain adepts, corporations to gain the consumers support and good will, and a long etc of misussues.
I should also note that Documentary comics seem to have a longer history and tradition in some Europeans and South American countries more than in the US.
So, that said, The Big Lie, as a superhero comic, as a Sci/fi comic, as an erotic comic, or as a funny comic, it sucks. It suchs monkey ass.
But as a Documentary comic (the original intent why it was conceived), is very interesting, effective and well realized.
Now, the purpose of “Documentary comics” is not to give you the bland facts, the dry facts and nothing but the facts. “Documentary comics”, the same as their counterpart in movie documentaries, show you a side of the story, hopefully supported by verifiable facts, in order to expand your horizons and give you a new perspective on a given topic. They rarely try to be the “definitive” last word on any subject. They may even be heavily biased or show opinions skewed. That is fine. And you may be wondering… “how can that be fine?”
Well, because you, as a member of the discerning public, have the right and the obligation of listing to many sides of the same discussion AND MAKE UP YOUR OWN DAMM MIND.
And notice that I say right and obligation.
Now that I have clarified those points, I can say that this comic, The Big Lie is pretty well designed, has some good production values, and in very well written and brought to term. Is a fine example of documentary comics.
The art and pencils are courtesy of that underrated artist, Rick Veitch, about whom I wrote a nice review on his work The Bratpack.
His pencils have progressed over the years, accentuating his penache for the dramatic, and his keen eye for overly-expressive faces in dramatic angles.
Not sure how it may work on other genre, but it works very well here.
The back of the cover reprints quotes of the 9/11 commission report (one of the most half/read reports ever produced, and least commented on, given its importance) and from first responders.
As any good “Documentary comic” should do in the 21st century, this book uses the web to complement its documentation, referring the readers to the site
for explanation and elaboration on the statements it makes on the book. Kudos for that!
Also worthy of noting is the quantity of human “minutia” that Rick Veitch imbues into the comic, starting with the Ipad reference, continuing with the skepticism from the venture capitalist, to the disbelief expressed by the husband. Rick has always had such an attention to detail on his comics that made him stand apart as a wise painter of human qualities and shortcomings, and it was always his pleasure on human frailty that attracted me to his scripts.
The book manages to make itself enjoyable and brisk. It does have a lot of dialog, after all, it uses the device of Aristotle’s argue-counterargue to move the story along, and to expose one side and the other.
I searched for other critic’s reviews of this book, and was very disappointed to find very little support and very little explanation for the lack of support.
Now, I understand someone may give “Omaha the cat dancer” a low/bad review, and explain that it didn’t like the subject matter (due to moral or religious objections) and leave it at that.
When it comes to The Big Lie #1 I found people writing “I didn’t like it” but not saying anything else.
I even found a review that states in all seriousness, that they didn’t appreciate the “comedic tone” used in the writing of the book?
Uh???? Are there other versions of this book that I am not aware of??
Well, I am here to state, that this is a fine “Docu-comic”. It asks questions, and documents the sources to an acceptable degree. The art is fine, the plot moves along, and it carries the extra merit of being the first serious “Documentary-comic” to hit the market in a long time.
So, on my Critics rating, The Big Lie #1 gets
PS. Second part of the review.
I am driven to think that the negative press this comic received was due to how uncomfortable the subject matter makes us feel.
So people engage in a favorite American pastime of hiding their heads in the sand instead of trying to find the ugly truth.
There are so many facts pertaining the behavior of government officials prior/post 9/11 that do not make sense, and that the American public stopped requesting/demanding accountability…. It boggles the mind.
But it comes to my attention over and over again that when you engage in a dialog with an individual pertaining the incongruencies found in the investigation pertaining 9/11, lots of these individuals will shake their heads, and do the intellectual equivalent of putting their fingers in their ears and start singing “LALALALLALA” very loudly, instead of turning around, saying “Hey! That is right! It doesn’t make sense! Who is accountable for that?”
Well, I can only say that just men will always choose a painful truth over sweet lies every time, and face that knowledge with dignity.