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July 20, 2005

Joe Sacco and China Miéville

Today in alternative media...

Hillary Chute interviews Joe Sacco, the comic book journalist. Sacco is a reporter who has filed illustrated dispatches from Palestine, Bosnia, Chechnya, and Iraq. You might call him the Tom Tomorrow of international affairs.

Recently in alternative media...

Bionic Octopus links to China Miéville's Op/Ed on the London attacks and his follow up. Miéville is best known as a writer of science fiction and fantasy novels. To learn more about Miéville's literary work, check out Crooked Timber's mini-symposium.


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I dunno--I love Tom, but I think he's basically in the mode of the traditional political cartoonist. Sacco's stuff is much more journalistic (he doesn't have a particular political axe to grind that I've noticed) and literary, in the sense that he inserts himself in his books and examines his own motivations (like in War Junkie).

What Justin said.

Usually Tom Tomorrow is more of an editorial cartoonist. But TT sometimes does journalistic stuff. For example he was one of very few cartoonists to get press credentials for the DNC. There, he drew strips about his experiences at the DNC, not just editorial cartoons.

I'm not sure if I've seen those. Did he break at all from the strip format to do longer pieces?

I can remember him doing longer stuff in TAP, I think. It was not dissimilar to Peter Bagge's stuff in Reason, vastly different styles aside.

I always thought of Joe Sacco as being what Harvey Pekar would be if 1. he had immense drawing talent and 2. was from Malta.

Peter Bagge's reason stuff is great, by the way. His medical marijuana one this last month was really sad.

Sorry, it was the same China Mieville.

I love Tom Tomorrow, but his stuff is worlds removed from Joe Sacco's work. Pick up a copy of Palestine or Safe Area Gorazde if you've never seen his stuff before - a beautiful mix of journalism, autobiography, politics and comic book art. Brilliant stuff.

Did he break at all from the strip format to do longer pieces?

IIRC, they were either more panels per strip or more frequently posted (i.e., every day), possibly both.

Still extremely different from Sacco's books, but maybe vaguely similar to his shorter standalone pieces.

It's also worth mentioning that China Mieville is a revolutionary socialist, a member of the Socialist Workers' Party and the RESPECT coalition. And is freaking brilliant.

Revolutionary socialist fantasy fiction -- how can I not be in love with it?

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