Joe Sacco is not your average comic book artist. The Maltese-American illustrator began his career in journalism, and found himself drifting towards comics when the journalistic trend for detached storytelling left him feeling frustrated. His dissatisfaction led him to Palestine – and then Bosnia, Malta and a handful of others – from which he began the first-person war reportage in comic book form which would come to be seen as his characteristic style.
His latest work sees him take a step away from war reportage, however, instead choosing to depict the bloodiest battle of the First World War; the first day on the Battle of the Somme.And what’s more, he’s illustrated it in the form of a 24 foot long panorama. It’s a mammoth undertaking, yes, but not too enormous for Joe. Between his painstaking attention to every minute detail and the immeasurable brutality of a war scene depicted in cartoon form, the resulting work is, as you can imagine, very disarming.
We were lucky enough to chat to Joe about his impressive career in war comics and the way his creative process works in the Winter issue of Printed Pages, which is available now from the Company of Parrots shop. You can read the full interview and ogle yet more spreads from his new work inside!
The Great War, published by Jonathan Cape, is available to buy now.