Another great interview to listen to from Radio National’s Bookshow. In this program, aired on The Radio National’s Book Show on Wednesday 21st April, had a review of Footnotes in Gaza by Joe Sacco. This is interview was conducted by Chris Flynn, reviewer and editor of Torpedo literary magazine.
When Joe Sacco left America in the 80s for his birthplace Malta he had given up on the journalism he’d studied at university. In Malta he wrote a comic book romance and after this new beginning, alternative comic books. Returning to journalism and to America and building on his love of drawing cartoons Joe Sacco forged his own distinctive style of visual reportage. They were serious cartoons, in the same vein as Art Spiegelman’s famous comic book biography called Maus, about his parents’ experience of the Holocaust. In 1996 Joe Sacco’s comic book Palestine won the American Book Award.His latest foray into visual journalism is Footnotes in Gaza. For this, he interviewed people about a 1956 massacre in southern Gaza. A fan of graphic novels, Book Show reviewer Chris Flynn read Footnotes in Gaza, which is a very different comic book.
Sacco has been described as a graphic journalist. This is an amazing book about two long-forgotten mass killings of Palestinians when the Israeli Army swept into the Gaza Strip in 1956. The events in the book invoked little international attention and were soon forgotten outside those directly associated to the victims.
Gaza has changed a lot since Sacco conducted his research for the book. In 2005, Israel unilaterally dismantled Jewish settlements and withdrew its military forces, although it remained in tight control of Gaza’s borders.
It is another example of just how powerful graphic novels can be in telling serious stories.