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Palestine (2001)

by Joe Sacco

Other authors: See the other authors section.

Series: Palestine (Omnibus 1-9)

MembersReviewsPopularityAverage ratingMentions
1,749439,696 (4.2)107
IN THE EARLY 1990s, Joe Sacco spent two months with Palestinians in the Occupied Territories, traveling and taking notes. The result was the comic-book series Palestine, which combined the techniques of eyewitness reportage with the medium of comic-book storytelling to explore a complex, emotionally weighty situation. The fifirst collected edition won a 1996 American Book Award and singlehandedly created a new genre: graphic journalism. It remains a perennial classic, and a landmark work of both comics and journalism.… (more)
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» See also 107 mentions

English (37)  Spanish (2)  Swedish (1)  German (1)  Dutch (1)  All languages (42)
Showing 1-5 of 37 (next | show all)
Important document describing everyday life inside Palestine mostly from the West Bank and Gaza Strip during the early 1990s. The author is sympathetic and makes many friends, living with them often in cramped and squalid conditions. B&W throughout. ( )
  AChild | Sep 20, 2023 |
Joe Sacco’s Palestine draws upon the cartoonist’s experiences in Israeli-occupied Palestine near the end of the first Intifada in the early 1990s. Drawing upon both his background in journalism and years of work as a comics creator and commentator, Sacco works to capture the complexity of Palestine and the varying viewpoints among the Palestinians in the West Bank and Gaza, deliberately commenting on himself as an outsider as he seeks to expand the American understanding of the events currently occurring in those regions. He not only endeavors to relay the different personal narratives and opinions that people share with him, but shows how his own presence can affect events, either by drawing suspicion or experiencing roadblocks, skirmishes in the streets, funerals and weddings. Sacco uses his work to show how the occupation of the West Bank and Gaza are a form of modern-day colonialism. While some Israelis encourage him to do similar research in their region, he points out that the Israeli narrative dominates the discourse in the West and his goal with the project was to learn about the Palestinian perspective. Sacco concludes, “That’s the thing about coming to the Holy Land or Palestine or Israel or whatever you want to call it… no one who knows what he’s come here looking for leaves without having found it” (pg. 280).

Sacco’s artistic style resembles many of the underground comix artists of the 1960s – 1990s, in particular Robert Crumb, Gary Dumm, Greg Budgett, and Brian Bram. His caricatures of faces successfully capture the emotions of his interview subjects, ranging from suspicion to grief, anger to fatigue, joy to malaise. In addition to focusing on facial emotions, Sacco brings to vivid life the physical conditions of the refugee camps, bombed-out cities, and demolished villages. He represents both the scale of the destruction in large splash-pages and the way people try to eke out some comfort amid the deprivations of soldiers and the weather in tighter panels. His use of black-and-white linework ensures that Tel Aviv’s comparative cleanliness and sleek architecture stand out all the more in juxtaposition to the Palestinian refugee camps when he visits Israel at the end of the graphic novel.

Sacco refers to Edward Said’s “The Question of Palestine” as “one of the reasons” he traveled to Palestine (pg. 177) and, in a nice connection, Said later wrote an introduction for this complete graphic novel edition. This edition collects all nine issues that Sacco originally published individually. ( )
  DarthDeverell | Aug 6, 2022 |
Clave para entender un poco ( )
  Alvaritogn | Jul 1, 2022 |
Joe Sacco spent two months in the Occupied Territories in the winter of 1991-92 as the first intifada was winding down. He interviewed dozens of people, sometimes with a Japanese photojournalist, sometimes alone. He eventually turned his experiences and the interviews into a series of nine documentary graphic works, which are compiled here into one volume. This is not a history of the Palestinian-Israeli conflict, nor is it a discussion of all the issues. Instead it is the story of a young journalist hoping to get a scoop and the testimonies of the people he encounters: conversations with old men at tea shops, families he is introduced to, two Jewish women in Tel Aviv, random people he shares a cab with, an American who teaches in Gaza. He talks with members of Hamas, the PLO, and Fatah, and others who are unaffiliated. It's a messy, confusing situation, and Sacco offers no pat answers or solutions.

The artwork is entirely in black and white, and people are portrayed with large mouths, lips, and teeth. Faces press in giving a sense of immediacy and overcrowding; closeups of boots stomping through mud or hands thrust out authoritatively jump from the page; and grimaces of every sort convey anguish and despair. Every once in a while, however, there will be a one or two page spread of a scene that is drawn with fine detail and is quite beautiful, in contrast with the heavier, bulky style of the rest.

I found Palestine to be moving in ways I didn't expect. I had to stop every few chapters to recoup from the intensity of both words and images. The combination of journalistic reporting and graphics is very powerful. The complete nine-volume series won the 1996 American Book Award, and Edward Said wrote a very insightful introduction to the compilation. ( )
1 vote labfs39 | Feb 23, 2022 |
Showing 1-5 of 37 (next | show all)
Sacco is formidably talented. A meticulous reporter, he scrupulously interprets the testimonies of dozens of victims of the Israeli regime into cartoon form. He is also a gifted artist whose richly nuanced drawings tread a delicate path between cartoonishness and naturalism.
 
Palestine not only demonstrates the versatility and potency of its medium, but it also sets the benchmark for a new, uncharted genre of graphic reportage.
added by stephmo | editThe Observer, David Thompson (Jan 5, 2003)
 
It figures that one of the first books to make sense of this mess would be a comic book.
 

» Add other authors (4 possible)

Author nameRoleType of authorWork?Status
Joe Saccoprimary authorall editionscalculated
Said, Edward W.Introductionsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
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Epigraph
Dedication
Dedicated to Kenji, Erlis, Jamileh, Jad, Jemal, and Shafeek
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Comic books are a universal phenomenon associated with adolescence. (Homage to Joe Sacco by Edward Said)
This book collects all nine issues of a comic book series called Palestine under one cover for the first time. (Author's Forword to the complete edition of Palestine)
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Quotations
...but that’s the thing about coming to the Holy Land or Palestine or whatever you want to call it...no one who knows what he’s come here looking for leaves without having found it.
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(Click to show. Warning: May contain spoilers.)
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Wikipedia in English (1)

IN THE EARLY 1990s, Joe Sacco spent two months with Palestinians in the Occupied Territories, traveling and taking notes. The result was the comic-book series Palestine, which combined the techniques of eyewitness reportage with the medium of comic-book storytelling to explore a complex, emotionally weighty situation. The fifirst collected edition won a 1996 American Book Award and singlehandedly created a new genre: graphic journalism. It remains a perennial classic, and a landmark work of both comics and journalism.

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