9/11 conspiracies go mainstream in The Big Lie by Image Comics, a publisher better known for titles like Spawn and The Walking Dead. The Truther comic book, which features Uncle Sam as narrator, has no qualms about being propaganda. “It’s obviously more ‘propaganda’ than those other approaches [referring to titles like Catch 22, Doctor Strangelove, and Veitch’s Army@Love]. Using comics to present a political point of view. My art is usually as far from the realm of propaganda as I can possibly make it. But sometimes, especially for a situation like this, I like to wield it,” says writer Rick Veitch.
The personification of America is symbolically bloodied and tattered perhaps as much, if not more, by the “lie” than the physical attack. He declares, “Most times the bigger the fib, the easier for plain folks to be taken in. Well, I reckon there’s still a few good citizens got so much moxie they’ll overcome any obstacle to set things straight. Even time itself…” One such a person is Sandra Stratton, a physicist who travels back in time to save her husband. He works in the North Tower as part of a risk management consulting company, which conveniently deals with security, military, and political issues. Each department confidently refutes Sandra’s claims as either implausible or impossible. “In fact, your whole hypothesis only works if people in our own government were somehow in collusion with this imagined attack,” concludes the office manager. Sandra says she doesn’t know what on “behind the scenes” but one thing’s for sure: Bush lied us into a war. Another department backs up the idea of 9/11 being an inside job, citing some neo-cons desire for a “new Pearl Harbor.”
Despite her persuasiveness, Sandra’s own husband dismisses the danger. He just happened to write his thesis paper on the World Trade Center and explains that it was “specifically built to withstand the crash of a fully loaded jetliner” and the only way to bring it down is with high-grade explosives. When Sandra shows him footage of WTC 7 collapsing on her ipad, he is convinced what he sees is a controlled demolition and has her escorted from the building. Minutes later the plane crashes into the tower and exposes explosives attached to the building’s beams. In that instant, the book goes from theory to a claim of fact.
Veitch says he took care to “avoid some of the loonier theories that you see, like space aliens did it.” Yet, he gives credence to conspiracy theories just as loony, such as the belief that Jews were behind 9/11 in order to goad American into invading the Middle East. One of the reasons they doubt Sandra is that they are in the middle of a project for a famous filmmaker named “Stephen” (i.e.; Steven Spielberg), who wants to have a real-life collapsing skyscraper in his next movie. This goes far beyond coincidence and seem to implicate Spielberg so it’s not surprising Veitch spells his first name with a “ph” and leaves out his last name.
The Big Lie is a One-Shot comic but Veitch says, “Right now we are discussing a couple more 9/11 themed issues that focus on elements that were too complex to cover in our first issue. We’d like to do one that illustrates the money trail preceding and following the attacks. And we’d like to shine a much needed light on the Patriot Act, which had been on the Neo-Con drawing board for a decade until it was passed in response to 9/11.”