Joe Sacco
  • Joe Sacco
This week I had the incredible opportunity to interview one of my top five heroes, Portland-based comics journalist Joe Sacco. After creating groundbreaking comic books detailing the lives of Bosnianas, Palestinians and punk rock musicians, his new book Footnotes in Gaza tries to unravel violent incidents that occurred in the occupied territory 50 years ago.

We had a pretty serious conversation about terrorism, writing and history, but I also had to know why a globe-trotting journalist star with a Maltese passport and a partly-Australian upbringing wound up in Portland. From the interview:

I'm wondering why you decided to live in Portland. You went to high school here, but why stay?

Well, I didn't stay. I've actually moved away a number of times. I lived in New York, I lived in Europe a couple of times, I lived back in LA. I've moved around quite a lot. But I came back about six years ago or maybe seven years ago to finish this book. Because I was living in Europe at the time and I was thinking, "What's the next city I want to live in?" I just needed to be in a place where I know I can work and I will have as many distractions as I want, not too few necessarily—it's not like New York where you're just distracted endlessly. Portland's a place where you can hear yourself think.

I like that answer. I find it true in my life, too.

Cut from the final interview: in addition to enjoying the space to think, Sacco appreciates the culture that Portland's weather creates... namely a lot of good bookstores and beer.

You can read our conversation here and check out Sacco in person next week at Powell's.