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Goodreads Israel Comix Bookshelf

Saturday, April 26, 2008


While I can't hope to be comprehensive or exhaustive in a 40-minute presentation, I will try to provide answers to such questions as "who?", "what?" "where?" & "when", with respect to what I feel are the most interesting comics that have depicted Israel & Israelis during the 75-year history of the modern comic book.

Before I do so, though, I think it's important to ask the 5th "W" question : "WHY?". Specifically, why should any of us librarians even be interested in looking at this format when no more than 10% of your library patrons - whether you're representing a public, school, synagogue, or university library - even walk into a comic book store at least once a year.

Rather than answer that question, I'll deem it as irrelevant. Comic stories are no longer restricted to the ghettoes of the funny pages in newspapers and comic books found in comic shops. They're also found in graphic novels on bookstore shelves, on countless websites and in popular magazines.

Below is the 2nd page of "Hebron : A Look Inside" by comic journalist Joe Sacco. This appeared in Time Magazine 6 years ago (Mar. 12, 2001).

the curfew in Hebron

This is page 1 of "The Underground War in Gaza", also by Sacco, which appeared in The New York Times Magazine just 4 years ago (July 3, 2003). The article is still on the New York Times website and was found on the website of SRI International.

Sacco explains the tunelling problem in Rafah

Generally speaking, Sacco tends to portray Israelis (and, in particular, Israeli politicians and soldiers) as cruel, manipulative, sadist outsiders who are oppressing the indigenous, caring, freedom-fighter Palestinians.

I'll come back to Sacco later, but in the interest of full disclosure, I should mention that one of the reasons I'm not one of his biggest fans is a piece he did which ridiculed librarians and patrons alike called "Voyage to the End of the Library" (Yahoo #3, April 1990), reprinted in Alternative Library Literature 1992/1993 : a biennial anthology Jefferson, NC: McFarland & Co., p. 30-38 and Notes from a Defeatist Fantagraphics Books, 2003, p. 109-118).

Sacco complaining that libraries have become populist

Buy Notes from a Defeatist


Yours Truly said...

I really enjoyed going throughout some of the posts in your blog (and plan to come back to read some more).
I hope you keep on posting more interesting articles - perhaps expanding to how Israel is portrayed in caricatures around the world.

Yours Truly

David H. said...

from what i can see here there are more then one reasons not to like this sacco guy. i suspect his comics would go over well in the arab world and among many "intellectuals" in the West. i could see noam chomsky especially being a fan of sacco's work.

David H. said...

steve, that your pro-Israel is pretty cool but your otherwise a real dick.