Cartoonmuseum Basel

Joe Sacco

Comics Journalist


Joe Sacco (born 1960) is a Maltese journalist and cartoonist living in the USA. He has revived “comics journalism” and developed it to perfection. Today, he is considered the most important representative of the genre. His reports from conflict zones offer deep insight into areas of the world where discrimination, hate, persecution, and war are ever-present. In his books, Sacco lends a voice to people suffering from violent conflicts, and thus arouses understanding and empathy with the readers. By using a critical and highly sophisticated approach, and by setting an exceptional standard of quality, Sacco has broadened the scope of comics and won new audiences. The raw material for Sacco’s reports consists mainly of interviews conducted on site, and is supplemented by intense research, sketches and photographs. The narrative is developed out of statements and testimonials and then translated into a series of drawings. These are interwoven with written comments and direct speech. The result is a well-balanced narrative of image and text. Sacco almost always draws in black and white. His characters are stylized and drawn in clear lines, while the backgrounds are often rendered in a more realistic way. The Cartoonmuseum Basel is the first museum in Europe to present a cross-section of this exceptional artist’s work. Joe Sacco has received numerous awards, among them the American Book Award, the Eisner Award and the Guggenheim Fellowship. The exhibition comprises more than 150 original drawings, from Sacco’s autobiographical and political early works, to his well-known reports “Palestine”, “Safe Area Goražde” and “Footnotes in Gaza”, and his latest satirical works. Several original drawings from a poignant panorama of the battle of the Somme (World War I) published in 2014, are a particular highlight of the exhibition.
Curator: Anette Gehrig

  • Joe Sacco “The Fixer” 2003 

  • Joe Sacco “Footnotes in Gaza” 2009