The Big Lie: 6th Most Controversial Comic Book of 2011

Truth Be Told Comics Jan 15, 2012

The Big Lie has been awarded a 6th place standing in the most controversial comic books of 2011!

The 11th Annual Rumour Awards, presented by Bleeding Cool, has named The Big Lie as the only title from Image Comics to make the list for most controversial comics of 2011.

Veteran artist and writer Rick Veitch teamed up with other veterans of the industry; Thomas Yeates for the cover and editing; Gary Erskine for inks; Dominic Raegan on colors and Annie Parkhouse lettering to create The Big Lie. Brian Romanoff, new to the comic book industry, assisted in editing and fact-checking. Produced by Truth be Told Comics and published by Image Comics, The Big Lie was released on September 7th, 2011 - days before the 10th anniversary of the attacks.

Among the 12 comics awarded a placing, The Big Lie is notable due to its story content that brings readers back to the day of September 11th, 2001.

Essentially recapping the events of 9/11 with a dramatic fictional approach of time travel, The Big Lie covers facts like; foreknowledge of the attacks; interesting business relations to the Saudi Royal Family; missing air defense; FBI agents trying to warn their superiors; and WTC 7 among other amazing details.

Bleeding Cool awarded the Controversial Comic book awards, the descriptions offered were short, but hyperlinked to more information:

#6 The Big Lie by Rick Veitch and Gary Erskine was another 9/11 publication, one that saw a scientist travelling back in time to save her husband from death on that very day. But in doing so, it also laid out a number of versions of events more commonly embraced by the “Truther” movements. So, yes, that was certainly going to get coverage.

However, The Big Lie was not the only comic in the group of 12 mentioned to deal with a 9/11 theme or background to the story. Two other comic books offered completely different approaches to 9/11.

Frank Miller's long-awaited graphic novel, Holy Terror, received 7th place directly behind The Big Lie. Holly Terror originally was set to have Batman fighting Al Qaeda, however due to more than one problem that was cancelled so Frank could introduce a new character: The Fixer. Reading reviews about Holy Terror, one can't escape the feeling that not too many people liked it.

David Brothers at Comics Alliance wrote this about Holy Terror:

The Fixer is openly bigoted towards Muslims; torture is portrayed as something that is thrilling; Islam is explicitly and exclusively depicted as something out of the Dark Ages, and the word "Al-Qaeda" isn't mentioned until something like eighty-five pages in. As a result, the enemy in Holy Terror is not so much the terrorist organization, Al-Qaeda, but the religion of Islam. Miller fuels the fire when he portrays an ex-Mossad agent, David, as an ally and galvanizing force for The Fixer. David has a blue Star of David tattooed on his face. That was around the point where I wanted to put the book down forever and pretend like it never happened, to be perfectly frank.

Bosch Fawstin's The Infidel #1 took 12th place. A short description of The Infidel is provided by the artist:

THE INFIDEL is about twin brothers Killian Duke and Salaam Duka whose Muslim background comes to the forefront of their lives on 9/11. Killian responds to the atrocity by creating a counter-jihad superhero comic book called PIGMAN, as Salaam fully surrenders to Islam. Pigman's battle against his archenemy SuperJihad is echoed by the escalating conflict between the twins.

The differences from The Big Lie to Holy Terror and The Infidel are obvious from the cover of the comics to the story inside. Many readers and reviewers have noticed this about The Big Lie:

“There are likely to be a number of lazy September 11th comics. those who play up the shock angles from a variety of viewpoints. The Big Lie, despite being embedded in Truther arguments, is a stunningly comprehensive and cohesive narrative that entertains, infuriates and convinces on all levels.” – Rick Johnston, Bleeding Cool


“Rick Veitch wants you to think about things. Specifically, the writer/artist wants readers to think about the events of 9/11.”

“No stranger to writing about 9/11 with 2007′s “Can’t Get No” Vertigo graphic novel already under his belt, Veitch still finds he has something to say about the tragedy and its effect on the nation.” – TJ Dietsch, Comic Book Resources


“Rick Veitch’s all-but-documentary tale on 9/11, starting in the first issue of The Big Lie, recaps material that has been done in documentary form, but primarily on internet-distributed videos. Michael Moore’s Farenheit 9/11 did touch on the Bush family’s comfy relationship to the Saudis, and the Bin Laden family in particular, but none of the real questions about the structural integrity of the buildings, anomalies in how they were brought down, or even the question of why the evidence was destroyed before a normal forensic examination could be made, well — none of those questions are even allowed in “mainstream” media. ” – Mark London Williams, SF Site


"Ultimately, time travel and intense drama aren’t the only literary hallmarks utilized in the pages of The Big Lie; Veitch and company also tap a familiar comicbook storytelling device in the form of American icon Uncle Sam, who becomes the story’s narrator, it’s “Uncle Creepy” if you will, and helps move the story forward. As the story plays out, each detail about the events leading up to 9/11 are discussed in a clear-headed fashion, and presented with the members of the risk-management team verifying all of the details."

"Needless to say, some of the rhetoric espoused in the book seems to play into Truther rants that have the government capitulating with the Terrorists (even perhaps setting on their tasks, in order to set off some sinister agenda against the citizens of the United States). Still, the underlying point of this comic is to get the reader to look at the events of that day through a different lens, and to question what they have been told by government and sanctioned media sources. To that end, the story succeeds in its endeavor. Sure it is easy to accept what we’ve been told — it is also easy to accept the “facts” of this comic, still the message is clear — question everything, and then make up their own mind." - Robert Sodaro,

The Big Lie is backed up by an impressive interactive-citations page that offers links and more detailed information for the many details presented in the help settle the controversy.


Holy Rad Reviews Batman!

This review came out in October of 2011, I missed it then, but here it is now. This is only a fraction of the review....


Yet that also makes The Big Lie a brave thing for Veitch to do. Because surely he knows this political climate. From his experience on Swamp Thing, he also knows the personal consequences that taking a moral stance can entail. But he believes in getting these ideas out there, and he’s chosen to do so for the tenth anniversary of 9/11, consequences be damned.

That is how Veitch has spun The Big Lie: that it’s not about pushing a conclusion, so much as raising questions. And indeed, before and after the comic, quotations and evidence are provided. Even within the narrative, the emphasis is always about bringing up evidence, rather than pointing to the Bush administration or any other culprits; yes, that’s there, but it’s implicit. Veitch has said that he doesn’t consider The Big Lie a “Truther” comic for this reason: it doesn’t make claims about the truth behind 9/11, so much as raise questions.

That’s a fair point, in that one doesn’t want to dismiss anyone raising questions by lumping them in with the real wackos who claim to know all the answers. Having said that, I do think The Big Lie goes beyond simply asking questions. It mostly does that, but in its universe, there’s no doubt that the Twin Towers were destroyed by a controlled demolition. That’s enough for me to label it a Truther comic.

And just for the record, I don’t buy the conspiracy theories myself. I’ve seen Truther documentaries, which I thought were compelling, but I’ve also read the rebuttals, which I find far more compelling. There are legitimate discrepancies among eyewitnesses, but eyewitnesses are notoriously inaccurate. The way the buildings collapsed did surprise the experts, but experts have offered explanations that account for the collapse pattern. I admit that I’m troubled by the slow military response, after the first plane hit the World Trade Center, as I was on 9/11 itself. But I keep coming back to my own belief that it’s hard to keep a secret between five people in a room, let alone a huge operation on this scale. And the Bush administration? It wasn’t exactly the most competent, and we now know a huge percentage of private details about the administration’s thinking. I don’t believe that the administration that bungled Iraq so badly, from start to finish, could possibly successfully execute and cover up 9/11.

Do I have answers for all of the arguments and evidence raised by The Big Lie? No, but I’m fairly confident they’re out there, and I’ve already done enough idle research into the subject to satisfy me that I don’t need to do any further.

To his credit, Veitch avoids the most easily dismissed 9/11 conspiracy claims. So you won’t see claims, for example, that there were extensions underneath the aircraft, which are far easier to explain as shadows than as military modifications that few people saw and don’t show up in other footage. I’m no 9/11 conspiracy expert, but it’s clear that Veitch has done his homework.

Also, I don’t think there’s anything wrong with encouraging people to look at the subject. As long as one isn’t perpetuating information one knows to be wrong or discredited. And again, there’s no sign Veitch hasn’t been careful.

But most importantly, while The Big Lie obviously wants to raise issues, it must ultimately be judged on the basis of its artistic merit. Oliver Stone’s JFK is indisputably a masterpiece, a virtual textbook of cinematic devices. It’s polemic, but I don’t have to agree with its politics to appreciate it artistically. We all understand how Birth of a Nation and Triumph of the Will are cinematic touchstones and even beautiful, while we’re also (one hopes) repulsed by their politics. The Chinese film Hero is a more recent example, beautiful but politically repulsive. And even in comics, one doesn’t have to agree that Alan Moore’s Brought to Light is a full and complete depiction of U.S. foreign policy to appreciate the majesty of it language and its narrative devices.

Please don’t misunderstand: I’m not comparing The Big Lie with Triumph of the Will politically, a level at which there can be no comparison. Rather, I’m simply stating the obvious: artistic works are allowed to be polemic, and they can even be excellent works of art while being dangerous or repulsive for their politics. And this distinction is nothing new. In fact, it’s obviously got a great history in cartooning, the political cartoon being one of the great staples of American art, despite that many of the messages now appear dated or even repulsive.

And so we at last get to what I feel obliged to point out about The Big Lie, beyond its treatment of 9/11: it’s actually a rather good and engaging story. Surprisingly so, given the harsh criticism it’s received. And impressively so, give its subject matter.


Sounds like his own mind is made up

'The way the buildings collapsed did surprise the experts, but experts have offered explanations that account for the collapse pattern.'

Oh did they now?

Then there's this old standby:

'...I keep coming back to my own belief that it’s hard to keep a secret between five people in a room, let alone a huge operation on this scale.'

Not so hard when those people share common goals, and a common interest in keeping their mouths shut. And when others don't appreciate the implications of the tasks they are given to carry out, in isolation from other parts of the operation.

And this one:

'And the Bush administration? It wasn’t exactly the most competent... I don’t believe that the administration that bungled Iraq so badly, from start to finish, could possibly successfully execute and cover up 9/11.'

They made out like bandits in Iraq. We should all be so 'incompetent.'

OK, I'll end on a positive note:

' I don’t think there’s anything wrong with encouraging people to look at the subject.'