Book Review

Notes from a Defeatist by Joe Sacco

Notes from a Defeatist by Joe Sacco

Joe Sacco's Palestine was one of the "graphic novel" events of recent years. A wonderful, scathing, searching investigation and contemplation on the Palestine-Israel conflict it showed (like Art Spiegelman's inspired Maus stories) that comics could communicate issues of the upmost human importance at a level of fully engaged (and engaging) intelligence. Notes From a Defeatist is a collection of Joe Sacco's earlier work ("[p]art documentary travelogue, part satirical biography, part satire pure and simple" it says on the back) and, because of that, does not have the sustained power of a work like Palestine. It does, however, contain excellent early "political" work - When Good Bombs Happen to Bad People is a considered meditation on the Libyan bombing consisting almost of telling quotes from "military men, politicians, scientists, bureaucrats, and the US popular media" (Sacco says, in a useful introduction to these pieces that, "I am concerned with those who help shape the use of the aerial weapon - their tone, their detachment, their propensity to escalate"); More Women, More Children, More Quickly a child's view (in fact, Sacco's mother Carmen) of Italian and German aerial attacks on Malta duing the second world war. But this is a very different beast from Palestine and should be judged accordingly: it is uneven, as many collections are, but, equally, it is a fine way into Sacco's world.

Coming off like Robert Crumb happily stripped of the misogyny and crudity, Sacco is a comic artist who demands attention. Like the awesome Palestine, Notes From a Defeatist is "required reading" for anyone interested in what comics are up to today.

-- Reviewed by Mark Thwaite on 02/08/2005

Further Information
ISBN-10: 0224072706
ISBN-13: 97802240727010
Publisher: Jonathan Cape
Publication Date: 01/11/2003
Binding: Paperback
Number of pages: 216
URL: http://www.amazon.co.uk/gp/search?keywords=97802240727010&index=books&linkCode=qs&tag=marksbookrevi-21

Readers Comments

Leave a Comment

If you have not posted a comment on RSB before, it will need to be approved by the Managing Editor. Once you have an approved comment, you are safe to post further comments. We have also introduced a captcha code to prevent spam.

 

 

 

Enter the code shown here:   [captcha]

Note: If you cannot read the numbers in the above image, reload the page to generate a new one.