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I don’t often go to a place just to check out all the cultural sites of a city.
– Joe Sacco
It’s a visual world and people respond to visuals.
I think any journalist who spends time in a place realizes that there are lots of stories around beyond their primary story. You meet so many interesting people and have all kinds of experiences.
There’s probably one more story about Bosnia that I’d like to do, because I spent a fair amount of time on the Serb side of the lines, which isn’t apparent in the other books.
And I think I find, I know a lot of people around, in different cities, and so it’s not – it might sound strange – but it’s not that hard to say good-bye, because I know there’s other people where I’m going. I can sort of fit in in a lot of places.
Of course, I’m drawn to a place like Iraq because It’s the biggest story of our generation.
And, in some ways I like traveling, in other ways I’m sort of fed up by the whole notion.
I don’t like just traveling in for a short time. I’ve done that before, because sometimes you work for magazines and they have a budget, and if you’re working for them, they want something by a certain time.
With comics you can put interesting and solid information in a format that’s pretty palatable.
When I was there, something clicked in my head; I found myself interviewing people, searching out facts and figures. Later on I became much more self-conscious of what I was doing.
Oh, it’s essential. I mean, you have to – if I’m writing about the Middle East, I have to go there, and if possible, stay long enough to get a real feeling for what’s going on.
Robert Crumb is an influence on how I draw, but not on the subject matter I take or my approach. One thing I do like about Crumb is that he’s chronicled his age, his times, and I think that is what artists should do.
I’d rather go to a place and spend a couple of months, get to know it, get to know the people.
I will interview bigwigs if I get the chance, but you are seldom surprised by people in power – you’ve got to get awfully damn close to get anything new.
It became clear to me that I had to push it toward a more representational way of drawing.
My guide had a copy of Palestine on my last trip to Gaza. He’d bring it out and show people what I was trying to do. That usually went over pretty well.
I try to ask visual questions. I’ll ask what someone was wearing, if that seems relevant. If possible, I’ll walk over the same ground that they’re depicting. Of course, I can never get it precisely as it was.
I tried to draw people more realistically, but the figure I neglected to update was myself.
I think I’m generally a good listener anyway.
I’m not a good tourist, I don’t like tourism.
I’d much rather hang out in a cafe. That’s where things are really happening.
When I went to Bosnia, I was there to tell someone else’s story and I was more methodical.