Joe Sacco’s “The Great War” - The New Yorker
Joe Sacco’s latest work, “The Great War,” a twenty-four-foot-long panorama that folds like an accordion, illustrates the first day of the Battle of the Somme, one of the bloodiest battles in history, which took place on July 1, 1916. The Maltese-American cartoonist is best known for his comics journalism, including works like “Palestine,” “Safe Area Goražde,” and “Days of Destruction, Days of Revolt” (his 2012 New York Times best-selling collaboration with Chris Hedges), but “The Great War” is a purely visual work, homing in on a specific moment in history. We spoke with Sacco about his approach. When I got a call from an old friend of mine, an editor at Norton, asking me to draw a panorama of the Western front, my first response was “No!” Being a cartoonist, I always think in terms of narrative—but I grew up on Australia, and there the First World War truly gives Australians a sense of national identity. I don’t feel a separation from the people I read about in history books.
Related: World War I
• World War 1