The Groundbreaking Honesty of Joe Sacco’s Comics Journalism

His decades-long project of reportage in graphic form works like oral history—bearing witness to the historical traumas of his subjects.

That honesty is a crucial part of Sacco’s decades-long project. Whether covering the lives of Palestinians in the occupied territories, Bosniaks and Serbs in the former Yugoslavia, or the Dene, he seeks out difficult and painful stories and tells tales of war and oppression that many people may not want to hear. Sacco’s oeuvre is built on using words, images, and a potent combination of the two to make visceral the realities of historical trauma. As Hillary Chute wrote in her 2016 book, Disaster Drawn, his work “is about an ethics of attention, not about producing the news.” And as a white Western man, he’s keenly aware of the power his attention holds.

Exclusive: Joe Sacco's The Great War, documentary on the creation of an extraordinary graphic history

Joe Sacco is a spectacular political comics creator, and has earned a well-deserved reputation for his work on war and conflict with books on Sarajevo and Bosnia, Gaza and Palestine and other moder…

From "the heir to R. Crumb and Art Spiegelman" (Economist) comes a monumental, wordless depiction of the most infamous day of World War I. The Great War is a 24-foot black-and-white drawing printed on heavyweight accordian-fold paper and packaged in a deluxe hardcover slipcase. The set also includes a 16-page booklet featuring an essay about the first day of the Battle of the Somme by Adam Hochschild and original annotations to the drawing by Sacco himself.

‘They Planted Hatred in Our Hearts’

Joe Sacco’s account of mass killings of Palestinians in 1956 impressively combines graphic artistry and investigative reporting.

Joe Sacco will find readers for “Footnotes in Gaza” far into the future because of the unique format and style of his comic-book narrative. He stands alone as a reporter-cartoonist because his ability to tell a story through his art is combined with investigative reporting of the highest quality.