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Comics and Evolution

SRB Picks of the Week (a very occasional series)

Joe Sacco’s latest book, Footnotes in Gaza, is attracting some very positive reviews, none more so than this one by Patrick Cockburn in the New York Times.

Sacco pioneered comic art as journalism in his book Palestine and then continued to develop the genre in his books on Sarajevo.

But not everyone’s impressed – with some Israeli historians claiming Sacco has massively exaggerated the numbers killed in a massacre that informs the book.

Meanwhile, El Pais has a front page report on Holocaust survivor Hedy Epstein going on hunger strike in protest against Egypt’s refusal to allow international solidarity protesters from entering Gaza. Eptsein, who lost both her parents in the Holocaust, is part of a major international protest against the blockade of Gaza.

I only mention the El Pais report because to date at least it isn’t making headlines in the English language press – which seems odd to me. (The only report I’ve found so far is this one from the Jerusalem Post. A google search finds dozens in Spanish and German but just the one in English.)

The Holocaust and the Israel/Palestine tragedy receives a huge – some would say, disproportionate – amount of press coverage so why the virtual silence on Hedy Epstein’s hunger strike?

Something similar happened with the death of the leader of the Warsaw Ghetto uprising, Marek Edelman, earlier this year. Edelman’s death in Poland was widely reported around the world. But most obituary failed to mention his outspoken support for the Palestinian cause. This obit from the Independent was one of the few exceptions.

Someone else whose most recent book is receiving rave reviews in the US is Auckland University’s Brian Boyd. On the Origin of Stories: Evolution, Cognition, and Fiction has been praised in everything from the New Scientist toThe Boston Globe.

And interestingly Boyd has placed the work of Joe Sacco and his fellow graphic novelist Art Spiegelman under his scholarly microscope in this piece published last year in Philosophy and Literature.

1 comment:

  1. Kerry, 30. December 2009, 18:53

    I must track down that new Sacco – they’re great pieces of journalism, and not bad graphic art; my favourite would be But I like it!, his description of touring Europe with bands in the 90’s.

    His take on the sectarian violence in both the Middle East and in the former Yugoslavia was raw and honest; not traits generally appreciated by those who guard the publishing empires of the USA, from whence most of the funding to keep Isreal afloat is garnered.