The shock of 9/11 generated a long wave of graphic commentary, memoir, and thinly disguised fiction from cartoonists and graphic artists who in many cases watched the towers burn with their own eyes. While individual filmmakers, poets, playwrights, and novelists have addressed 9/11–related themes, 9/11 and its aftermath resonated in a singular way within an industry and subculture that remains anchored in the five boroughs. The destruction and horror of the attack on downtown Manhattan affected many cartoonists personally, and in a few cases inspired their best work. The events produced some cartoon kitsch as well. The outpouring of 9/11 comics speaks to the reassuring intimacy of the handcrafted text-image, the undiminished role of cultural geography, and the long-standing connection between the city and visual narrative.

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