Do you remember the fear, anger, hate, disbelief, worry and confusion that swirled around your brain immediately after you learned about the events of September 11, 2001? If these weren’t the exact emotions, we can all at least admit that we were flooded by confusing, sometimes foreign thoughts – things we had trouble dealing with at the time and I admit that still to this day, I’m not quite sure what to make of it. I do remember a moment when all I could think was that these foreigners had, if for just one moment brought what I thought was their world to America. I’d never been to the previous twin towers and have yet to visit New York City – so it all exists on television for me, much like images of the Middle East, specifically Afghanistan. It’s all at times not much different than Star Wars, events that happened a long time ago in a galaxy far, far away.
Every time I read one of Brian Wood’s DMZ trades, I am to some degree reminded of those mixed emotions that bombarded me after that somewhat-apocalyptic day, 9/11/01. DMZ portrays a world in which a portion of New York City has become a demilitarized zone with much of the rest of the United State deeply impacted by the situation – the western world has suddenly lost some additional layer of virginity, much like after the assassination of JFK. Reading DMZ brings up some additional emotions for me specifically – it’s wonderful reading – I aspire to write a world so complex with a protagonist so conflicted and developed over several years of consistant writing.
It is emotionally difficult that DMZ reminds me of 9/11. Good. We should never forget what happened on 9/11. But we should also never forget that there are areas of the world that live like that all of the time. DMZ serves both as excellent skill in the comic book medium but is also shows what the comic book medium can do – it can take the reader to a world that is not really that much different than our own, a world that for all intents and purposes could have been or might one day be our own and it reminds readers of a world that almost was – if for just a day.