Joe Sacco’s new book, The Great War, is a merciless 24-foot long panorama detailing the first day of World War I’s devastating Battle of Somme. The wordless drawing details the first day of battle from it’s hopeful beginning all the way through the chaotic end. By time the first day came to a close more than 57,000 were dead or wounded marking one of the bloodiest days of battle in the entirety of the war. In an interview with NPR Sacco says of his book, “It’s very visceral. You open the page, and you are right there in the moment.”
This isn’t Sacco’s first foray into using the medium of comics to tell the story of a war zone. Between 1993 and 1996 Fantagraphics published his Palestine series which chronicles his experiences as a journalist within the Palestinian Occupied Territories. Those issues were released in trade paperback format in 2001. He’s also produced a series of illustrated books addressing the war in Bosnia. His use of graphics to tell the stories of life in war zones have earned the artist a number of awards including an Eisner and an American Book Award.
Sacco will be taking part in a Q&A regarding his book at Mrs. Dalloway’s, 2904 College Avenue in Berkeley, on November 13 at 7:30 p.m. He’ll be introduced by To End All Wars author Adam Hochschild.