Portland-based cartoon journalist Joe Sacco has written and drawn about the Middle East, Bosnia, Portland, and most recently World War I. For his latest project he’s going back to the Balkans. Srebrenica, is a webcomic that looks back on a massacre in the Balkans through the eyes of one improbable survivor. The project is something of a first for Sacco in that he’s never done a webcomic. Based on the promo video it's apparent that the comic is animated, with all kinds of things that the reader can click on and drag about. As a
comics dork sequential art enthusiast I've found motion comics to be pretty hit-and-miss, but Sacco generally knows what he's doing and can hopefully make the quasi-animated style work.
A big strength of Sacco’s is that his reporting is very often about specific people, places, and events, even as his subject matter seems grand and sweeping. Footsteps in Gaza and Safe Area Gorazde both focus on discrete incidents within the Palestinian-Israeli conflict and Balkan wars, respectively, and both bring a certain amount of personal focus to events that often seem to involve crowds and nations as opposed to, you know, people. Srebrenica seems to be going in that same direction.
Sacco’s publishing the comic through Acuerdo, a new multilingual publication that’s supposed to debut at the highly specific time of “this Winter.” So far Acuerdo itself looks… uneven. Several bits of texts on the site are very obviously and poorly translated into English, and the site seems to have more ambition than promise. The publication seems to be a little bit Vice, a little bit NPR, and definitely has potential but... they're obviously in the embryonic stages of being whatever it is they'll end up being. Sacco is, by far, the biggest thing that the publication has going for it, and one overriding reason why I’ll be checking out their debut later this winter. Whenever that is.