The Quietus - A new rock music and pop culture website

Baker's Dozen

Dr. Manhattan: Jeffrey Lewis' Favourite Comics
Aug Stone , December 15th, 2015 10:22

Aug Stone talks to the NYC musician and comic book creator about bizarre autobiographies, superheroes and (SPOILER) a whole lot of Alan Moore, as he finishes his UK tour in support of new album, Manhattan


Joe Sacco - Safe Area Goražde
Similar to Dan Clowes, I think Joe Sacco is one of the few artists that really have it both ways in terms of being an incredible illustrator and an incredible cartoonist. And some of his work gets too cartoony for me and some of his work gets too illustrator-y for me, but Safe Area Goražde is one where he just really gets the best of both worlds. He's also tackling a topic that is completely informative and educational and removed from what you see in most culture. These accounts of the conflict in Bosnia are being told in a way that you can't walk away from that book with the same view that you had before. It's so enriching to read, and so incredibly put forward it's hard to imagine that anybody could ever do something better. It's the perfect comic in terms of the concept, the execution, the writing, the art, the layouts, the morality of it - the topics that he's willing to tackle. It's like if somebody wrote down a list of what they would want in the greatest possible comic book, you couldn't really do much better than something like Safe Area Goražde.

This was another random grab from the back of the comic store where the alternative comics were kept. Anything that was published by Drawn And Quarterly or Fantagraphics was immediately interesting to me. Joe Sacco's Palestine comics were visually very appealing, and part of that alternative milieu that I was looking for at that time. I knew there must be great comics out there, and occasionally I would stumble upon something that was really great, and then I would have to try to get everything else that that artist did.

Safe Area Goražde was definitely a few steps above his Palestine comics. His illustration and the kind of work that he put into it is just staggering. But it's not staggering in the way that it's annoying to look at. He's not trying to overwhelm you with artistic excellence just to bludgeon you into saying he's great. He's using his skills to the best effect of putting forth what he's trying to put forth. That makes it better than something that's just amazingly complex.