War Junkie

Joe Sacco, Author
Joe Sacco, Author Fantagraphics Books $14.95 (136p) ISBN 978-1-56097-170-2
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This volume collects a number of shorter works by Sacco (Palestine), self-proclaimed cartoon genius. Only about half are about war; in the rest Sacco is in Europe, on the road with your typical leather-jacketed, crotch-grabbing American rock band. Despite the predictability of this rite of passage, Sacco's graphic inventiveness and storytelling ability are always vivid and hilariously candid. The band lurches from one dismal gig to another while Sacco records the usual drunken revelry, drug-laden fraulein groupies, band members' extravagant personality defects and all the rest of your basic rock road trip mythology. Sacco's at his best, however, when he's in a war frenzy. ``More Women, More Children, More Quickly,'' his mother's recollection of her childhood in Malta during the fascist bombings of WWII, is a tour de force, capturing the extraordinary hardship and terror experienced by a child caught in the midst of total war. He ends the collection with a cheerfully obsessive, ranting account of the Persian Gulf war and an equally funny account of his ``day off'' in Berlin. On a bright sunny day, Sacco finds himself visiting the former Gestapo headquarters and later is inadvertently drafted into a grim rally against Serb war crimes in Croatia: ``Let's face it,'' he laments, ``between the time you crack open a Fanta and toss the can, someone else has had his balls stoved in.'' (July)
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