Joe Sacco Keynote Interview: The Practice and Effects of Comics Journalism

With works such as Palestine, Footnotes in Gaza, The Fixer, Safe Area Goražde, and The Great War, Joe Sacco continues to draw keen attention from scholars, critics, and fans.

11/16/2018 | 5:00 PM

For this event, Sacco will be interviewed by comics artist Aimée de Jongh, historian Kees Ribbens, and comics scholar Rik Spanjers. Each interviewer will pose questions from their own unique perspective on Sacco’s work, tackling topics including Sacco’s artistic and journalistic processes, his approach to the comics medium, and the strengths, weaknesses and effects of comics journalism. Key questions will focus on how Sacco finds his stories, how he gets them on the page, and how the situations he described have been impacted by his reports.

Entrance is only €5. Get tickets for this event here: (Choose ‘Keynote events only’ in order to select this event.)

The main feature that sets Sacco’s comics journalism apart from the kind of reporting that dominates the newspapers and television is his insistence on including himself in his reports. But while he can certainly be said to draw himself into his reporting through including his cartoon image in his works, there is a tentativeness to how he positions himself in the narrative. By refusing to show his eyes, Sacco demonstrates that even though he feels his reporting is more honest when he includes himself, the stories he writes do not revolve around him. Sacco thus positions himself as the one who sees and, at the same time, invites the reader to see with him. What his works consistently show us is what human resilience looks like in the face of adversity and tragedy—and they offer us new perspectives that can work to redress the suppression of historical voices and stories.

This event is part of the 2nd international Amsterdam comics conference, “Drawing Yourself In and Out of It,” organized by Amsterdam Comics, in partnership with CLUE+ Research Institute for Culture, Cognition, History and Heritage, Vrije Universiteit Amsterdam; The Netherlands Institute for Cultural Analysis (NICA); and The Amsterdam School for Cultural Analysis (ASCA).

The whole conference will take place from 15-17 November 2018 at Vrije Universiteit Amsterdam. Comprised of parallel panel sessions, keynote lectures, and a roundtable discussion, the conference aims to encourage interdisciplinary connections between comics scholars from various disciplines, comics artists, publishers, and cultural workers from museums and other heritage sites. More details can be found at: