This one slipped under my radar … last week Art Scatter, a local art blog out of Portland, Ore., had a post by Barry Johnson comparing the non-fiction graphic novels of Joe Sacco, Craig Thompson and Guy Delisle:
This is still a disorienting experience. From the drawn world, the comics world, we don’t expect the activities of a journalist — the attempt to represent a slice of life as it was actually lived, to make sense of it, to draw conclusions from it. We are just starting to understand, thanks to comics journalists such as Sacco, that the combination of written and drawn representations can be more powerful than the greater abstraction of words alone, that they can convey more fully what the journalist/artist actually found. That they can literally sketch a real character like Soba at the same they “sketch” him.
One of the side benefits of reading the three books Johnson talks about — Sacco’s War’s End: Profiles From Bosnia 1995-96, Thompson’s Carnet de Voyage and Delisle’s Pyongyang: a Journey in North Korea, is that all three are also travel journals of sorts, taking the reader to places like Morocco and North Korea. “And the places aren’t just background, either, they emerge as independent subjects of their own,” Johnson writes. Much more at the link.