Thursday, December 16, 2004

This Comic Is Good - Safe Area Gorazde

Cool! Paul is playing the recommendation game as well! Woohoo!

Now, on to my older comic recommendation...Safe Area Gorazde: The War In Eastern Bosnia 1992-1995.

One of the less well-known areas of comic work is the area of comic journalism.

This is what Joe Sacco does, and he does it amazingly.

Sacco went to Bosnia during the war, and spent four months speaking to the people there.

He then came back and gave us this remarkable depiction of what life was like for the people of Gorazde at the time, cut off from the rest of the world, yet firmly entrenched in the 90s.

Sacco also works in some history for the area, and how it came to this point...and he couldn't pick a more poignant place.

Safe Areas were places the UN put in the country where people could not be attacked. This Safe Area (Gorazde) was about to be dissolved...leaving the people with no safe haven. Can you imagine that horror? That unsettledness?

Well, with Sacco's help, we can. But we can also see how modern people (this is only a DECADE ago!) handle such a horrendous situation. Watch as the youth converse about Madonna and Levi's.

The coping mechanism of the human spirit is astonishing.

The art by Sacco is decent. He gives us a realistic, if over-the-top, presentation of what people look like. Very caricature-like.

Anyone read this?

Anyone read Sacco's previous work, Palenstine?

What do y'all think?


Blogger Max Zero said...

The saddest thing about this comic is it shows how completely fucking useless mainstream media were at reporting the war. I learned more about the conflict from this one comic book than I did from ten years of newspapers and television news.

I like how Sacco didn't make that much of an attempt to be objective, he just called it as he saw it. He lets his anger and frustration with what was happening seep through on every page, but still doesn't let that get in the way of a good story.

The thing that I like most about his journalism comics is the way he captures the people trapped in the shitstorm. They aren't noble matyrs or patriotic dicks, they're normal people with petty goals and annoying habits, scared out of their skulls most of the time. It's the point of view you just don't get in the thirty-second news-bite on the TV and it lets you get inside their lives for a while, so you really do care about what happens to them.

I liked 'Gorazde' more than 'Palestine', but that's probably because I read the former first. Maybe I just feel that way because 'Palestine' was more depressing, because there wasn't that cathartic release when the troubles ended, the problems in the Middle East are just going to go on and on.

Mind you, that bit towards the end with the kid being forced to stand in the rain was one of the best pieces of observation I've ever seen in any kind of journalism...

12/17/2004 04:30:00 PM  
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