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The Bold Outlines Of a Plot

LeBien resists comparisons to Hollywood films. "This adaptation is very different," he says, underscoring that the book uses only the facts of the commission's report. "The thing that I worry about most is that people will make that kind of conflation."

No matter how well done or factual a work is, there is still emotional fallout for the families of 9/11 victims, says Caitlin Zampella, interim executive director of a nonprofit survivors group, Families of September 11 Inc. The organization listed on its Web site the theaters where trailers for "United 93" were appearing, for example, so that families would not be taken by surprise.

"We can't control what people do or don't do, but we encourage people to practice good self-care," she says.

Neither she nor Tim Sumner, whose brother-in-law died in the South Tower of the World Trade Center, is sure about this next wave of Sept. 11 works.

"I want there to be good historical reference now," Sumner says, but he's not convinced a comic book is the right form.

"There are some legitimate efforts out there, which are probably worth doing from a historical perspective," he says. "While having not read the book, it sounds pretty cheap."

Says LeBien, "If somebody picks it up and looks at it and starts to read it with some care, they'll understand that it's respectful."

Colón and Jacobson said they weighed sensitivity issues, such as whether it was appropriate to use words such as "Blam!" to denote explosions.

"You have captions, you have balloons with text, you have sound effects," Colón says. "Doing without any of that would make it not readable." He didn't think anything could be presented in graphic continuity without the full language of the comic book genre.

Adds Jacobson, "Our feeling was that it would look like a silent movie without it."


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