Welcome to “Wishlist Wednesdays,” a new feature on this blog where I post things that I wish I had, or just find pretty cool. This week, The Great War, by Joe Sacco.
We were discussing artist’s books in class last week and myProfessor brought in a selection of books for us to look at. Among the books passed around was Joe Sacco’s The Great War, a 24 page accordion-style book illustrating the first day of the Battle of the Somme. Due to the panoramic nature of the work, Sacco provides illustrations not only of the battlefield, but also of officers quarters and villages well beyond the front lines so the audience has a clear overall picture of wartime battles as well as life itself.
The Battle of the Somme was one of the largest battles of the First World War, as well as one of the bloodies, with over 1,000,000 men killed or wounded. The result of this Battle was inconclusive, and with such high losses sustained, it left many wondering, “Is it worth it?”
While some may feel that Sacco’s illustrations and “cartoonish” style of drawing detract from the brevity of The Great War, I disagree. For me, this depiction of the Battle of the Somme is all the more powerful for being wordless.