|Josh Neufeld's story in "9-11: Emergency Relief"
You've probably seen reports about this project here at CBR or on other Web sites. Published by Alternative Comics, "9-11: Emergency Relief" is an impressive assemblage of independent creators with stories inspired by the events of September 11th. All profits from the sale of this 192 page trade paperback will go to benefit the American Red Cross.
One of the many contributors to this book is Josh Neufeld. Neufeld is likely best known for his work with writer R. Walker on "Titans of Finance" a satirical comic poking fun at the financial world. A resident of Brooklyn, New York, Neufeld was directly affected by the events of September 11th. For Neufeld, being a part of "9-11: Emergency Relief" was cathartic.
"Right after the Sept 11 attacks, I just felt numb," Neufeld told CBR News. "There was no way I could imagine doing art; the only thing I could do was watch TV, try to give blood, and find a way to volunteer in whatever way I could. But then as the days went by, I started to feel like I NEEDED to do art, to express my feelings that way. I had been invited to contribute to the Alternative Comics anthology, '9-11: Emergency Relief,' but I couldn't imagine how to frame my experiences in an appropriate, interesting way.
"The following Saturday, my wife Sari & I spent the day collecting and distributing donations for the relief workers. As we walked around Manhattan later that evening, we passed a group of people in Union Square. They were singing peace songs, hymns, civil rights anthems. It was sad but defiant, a time of coming together in tragedy. The last song was a dirge-like rendition of 'New York New York.' Upon hearing it, sung in that way, I suddenly knew how I needed to tell my story.
"Using the song to frame my own experiences on September 11, I found all sorts of parallels. Most of all, I saw new meanings in the song, how the lyrics could be so sad, not only the triumphalist anthem we normally associate it with. When I finished the story, I felt myself relax, I felt that my creative floodgates had been re-opened and I could move on to other work. Doing the piece was incredibly cathartic for me."