Joe Sacco at Town Hall 1/13/2010

I went down to town hall to see Joe Sacco present his newest book, Footnotes In Gaza. It was 30 minute PowerPoint presentation with slides from his book followed by close to an hour of questions. The presentation was interesting, although if you read the book you’ll get a pretty much the same information. However, since he has made himself less of a character in the book it was interesting to find out how he had put the book together with interviews and historic photos. The book itself is his biggest to date: 400 pages of drawings and another 20 of source material in his largest format book.

I was able to ask him how he paid for the trips to Palestine and Bosnia and he said it was all self financed. I suppose it makes sense, because he said he didn’t know any one in Palestine the first time he went their in the early 1990’s. He is a pretty even handed reporter and so the question and answer period was mostly about how his working style and how he developed the story. One questionnaire, noted that this book was less comic than Palestine, and Sacco agreed because it wasn’t about a newbie trying to find out how to report a story, but a work of history by someone who knows the ropes a bit more. He also noted that using the comix medium has its advantages over the documentary film because he can draw a scene with hundreds of extras, while documentary film makers can only afford a few extras.

Naturally, there were a few nut jobs that made no sense and the more controversial the topic the nuttier they are.