My sis, true to form, scored 180 with her Christmas present. It was Joe Sacco’s latest tome about Palestine: ‘Footnotes In Gaza’. Now, very few people out there spur me to become a completist of their oeuvre. Lee Perry. Don Paterson. Joe Sacco. That’s about it. And let me tell you that Joe Sacco is a great deal easier to be complete about than Lee Perry. Isn’t it great to be a drooling irrational fan sometimes?! Especially for overloaded and occasionally cynical minds like mine. I bless the musicians, writers and artists who can do that to me. So I’m blessing Joe Sacco.
Truth is, Sacco has taught me what journalism can really do, if booted off its hack butt by imagination and guts. It’s pure gonzo, for sure, but the graphic novel format adds something essential to the gonzo genre. It can basically loosen up words, make them more limber, more adventurous and less tied to the drudgery of actually describing and scene-setting. The pictures anchor the scene. The words, devoid of erstwhile responsibilities, can then just go doolally. That’s why I reckon graphic novels, and maybe the best hip hop lyrics, are about the most vivid sources of verbal inspiration around at the moment. And no one can possibly accuse Joe Sacco of producing disposable literature. I tried to imagine the effort it must have taken him to produce each page of ‘Footnotes In Gaza’, and all his other works too, but it made my head hurt too much, so I gave up. So bless you Joe…keep it going. Stick to the one great piece of work every three years or so. Completist nerds will love you for it.
Andy Morgan, (c) 2010