Joe Sacco, Palestine
Image: Joe Sacco, Palestine

The graphic journalist Joe Sacco is a familiar figure – we have followed him into the streets of Goražde in the course of the Bosnian war in Safe Area Goražde (2000) and into the Occupied Territories in Palestine (2001).  It is a little known biographical fact that Joe Sacco grew up in Melbourne.  His family migrated from Malta when he was 1, and remained here until 1972, when they moved to Los Angeles and the more familiar ‘author bio’ begins there, in the United States, when Joe began his journalism career working on the High School newspaper in Beaverton, Oregon.  This is, for example, the beginning of the story in the bionote provided by his publisher Fantagraphics (

This is not a hidden story so much as an irrelevant one.  But when does this biography become relevant?  When does Joe Sacco draw his Australian story into his graphics journalism, and why? 


Bio note

Gillian Whitlock is a professor of English at the School of Communication and Arts at the University of Queensland.  Her most recent book is Postcolonial Life Narratives: Testimonial Transactions (Oxford 2015) and she is currently writing The Testimony of Things, a study of the asylum seekers held on Nauru 2000-5, based on testimonial artefacts at the Fryer Library.

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