Comics have long been considered books for children. With the rise of the “nerd generation” over the last decade, it has become acceptable for adults to proudly state that they too read comics; in-fact they have gone as far as claiming their fandom towards them. As a result, comics have taken on a new life helped greatly by the successful TV and Film adaptations of some of the best selling graphic novels.
Just like most art forms, comics too have many sub-genres. From the funnies that we see in newspapers everyday to the Manga comic craze in Japan (and now pretty much across the globe) to graphic novels that cater specifically to adults because of their content, comics now can entertain pretty much all age groups across both the sexes.
My knowledge in the art of comics has been fairly limited, picking up graphic novels mostly based on films. I realized the true power of comics after I picked up Watchmen by Alan Moore and was left amazed by each and every element of the graphic novel. Something similar happened when I got around to reading Joe Sacco’s Journalism.
Comic-Journalism is a sub-genre that I was completely unaware of. Comics had been all about superheroes and the funnies till I began to flip through the pages of Journalism.
Was it possible to witness and experience the real world with the help of a comic?
Not only was it possible, but the impact was hard and instant. Joe Sacco brings together a collection of some of his best works in a graphic novel that takes you tip-toeing across some of the world’s most notorious war zones.
Journalism proved to be an eye-opener.
It walks the middle ground between photo-journalism and simply telling a story using the written word. It is a travel tale that forgoes the location choosing instead to focus on the people and their plight for survival.
Whether covering the immigrant “problem” being faced by the people of Malta or taking on the issue of poverty in India, Joe Sacco presents an unbiased picture of events through dialogue, using the power of “drawings” to humanize these very stories. His coverage of the Chechen and Palestine war is an in-depth study of the conflicts that have scarred the lives of the people from these regions.
Joe’s comic fluctuates from the very basic to impressive and detailed panel pieces, sometimes on the very same page. A closer look reveals that most of the faces drawn by the author are “dark” and “aged” having an almost inhuman look to them; a haunting reminder for the readers of the hardship being faced by the people in the featured “conflict zones”.
The acceptance of comics as a viable and authentic form of educational, entertaining, and impacting medium still has a long way to go. Joe Sacco’s Journalism is a step in the right direction as it not only promotes comics as a serious mode of information, but simultaneously provides an alternate and effectual method of journalism.
Joe Sacco’s Journalism makes for compelling and essential reading especially for those who travel around the world, be it in real or through the media.