The Fixer, by Joe Sacco (2003)
The Fixer

Joe Sacco is an extraordinary comic artist and journalist, who has traveled to many parts of the world to do his research. He was born in Malta, but spent most of his childhood in Australia, before the Sacco family settled in Los Angeles in 1972. He left the University of Oregon in 1981 with a B.A. in journalism in his pocket. He had difficulty finding a job and therefore returned to Malta, where he wanted to pick-up his hobby of cartooning.

He found employment with a local publisher, and additionally made a romance comic called 'Imhabba Vera' ('True Love'), the first art-comic to be published in Malta. He returned to the States in the mid 1980s, where he launched a satirical comic magazine called the Portland Permanent Press and eventually got a job as a writer with The Comics Journal.

Comic art by Joe Sacco

He subsequently traveled to Europe in 1988, and chronicled his experiences in his comic 'Yahoo', dealing with the Gulf War in the second installment. In the early 1990s, he went to the Middle East to do research for his award-winning 'Palestine' (1993-1995). He also traveled to former Yugoslavia to find material for his 'Safe Area: Gorazde', 'The Fixer', and the stories collected in 'War's End'. 'Footnotes about Gaza', Sacco's book about two bloody incidents during the Suez War was published in 2009.

comic art by Joe Sacco

Sacco has additionally made graphic reportages for magazines like The Guardian and Harper's Magazine, and illustrations for Harvey Pekar's American Splendor.

Sacco's comics are partly autobiographical, as he appears as a character in most of his comics. It is the combination of journalism, autobiography and comics that makes Joe Sacco an artist who is difficult to imitate. A good example of this unique style can be found in his 'Christmas with Karadic', which was serialized in Zero Zero magazine.

comic art by Joe Sacco

Last updated: 2013-02-08

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