Top positive review
4 of 4 people found this helpful
on 30 August 2014
The reportage of Joe Sacco has had quite an impact on me; it's down-to-earth and presented in a very interesting way to digest. I know there are people out there who scoff at "comics" but they really haven't acquired the skill to read them like a storyboard, they haven't read stuff like Sacco. So it was with great interest that I got hold of "The Great War; July 1, 1916 The First Day of the Battle of the Somme".
I was actually slightly surprised that it really IS a panorama - how unusual and yet how obvious! There is a long tradition of warfare being depicted through panorama; Kossak and Styka's "Raclawice Panorama", Roubaud's "Borodino" or Grekov's "Stalingrad". It is so natural to scroll the scene and watch the events unfold.
And so it is with Sacco; we watch Haig strolling through his peaceful garden outside his chateau and then the build-up of the troops, the marching into the trenches, shelling, the walk to death... explosions throw bodies into the air or tear them apart, the wounded are carried back to the field hospitals and the dead are buried as more soldiers march to the front.
It is so well done in simple black and white (no colour). There are no real dramatics... it just unfolds, almost pleasantly, unfeelingly, with the coldness of nature and history.