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Pencils Vs warheads

Updated on: 09 June,2024 07:22 AM IST  |  Mumbai
Anand Singh |

As graphic novels about the Gaza conflict fly off shelves, here’s a look at how the genre can educate on pressing issues

Pencils Vs warheads

Joe Sacco’s graphic book ‘Footnotes in Gaza’. Pic/Joe Sacco

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Pencils Vs warheads

Maltese-American comic book artist Joe Sacco put together his masterpiece “Palestine” in 1993. Over two decades later, as the conflict in Gaza reignited on October 7, 2023, Sacco’s works, “Palestine” and “Footnotes in Gaza”, were rushed back into print.

The Israel-Hamas war has devastated millions of lives, resulting in over 37,000 deaths, including thousands of children. Sacco’s words and art serve as potent ammunition against injustice and oppression. Here are a few must-have graphic books that can educate both the young and old about.

Queer history 101

Meg-John Barker
Meg-John Barker

Queer: A Graphic History, (Meg-John Barker). Through their non-fiction graphic novel, this writer, therapist, and activist-academic illuminates the history of queer thought and touches upon almost every aspect of gender and queer theory in a highly illustrated, concise manner. It’s a perfect example of a serious graphic novel, and a must-read, especially for adolescents.

Naxalbari notes

Sumit Kumar’s satirical comic, Amar Bari Tomar Bari Naxalbari, will break your heart and move you to tears. It’s a rare, no-holds-barred take on a controversial topic, ie, the Naxalite movement. An essential read for all ages, the comic book covers a subject that impacts India and its citizens in a sensitive and responsible way. 

Suez Crisis diaries

Often referred to as the most ambitious work by Joe Sacco till date, Footnotes in Gaza is a journalistic graphic narrative about violent clashes between Israelis and Palestinians in Gaza during the Suez Crisis in 1956. The book came out in 2009, but is in popular demand now due to the ongoing conflict. Rafah has been a flashpoint of conflicts for decades. With the social media tag ‘All Eyes are on Rafah’ trending as the city is blown to bits, ‘Footnotes in Gaza’ gives face to its past victims.

Snapshots of Gaza

Joe Sacco’s graphic novel, Palestine, captures impressionistic views of the artist-journalist in the West Bank and the Gaza Strip in December 1991 and January 1992. In the time he spent there in the early ’90s, Sacco conducted over 100 interviews with Palestinians and members of the Jewish community. 

Deer Kashmir…

Strife-hit Kashmiris have often drawn parallels with Palestinians in their struggle. Comparing the issues is not far-fetched, say political analysts. Testimony to this is the closure of Jamia Masjid in Srinagar when Gaza was bombed in October 2023. In Malik Sajad’s partly autobiographical 348-page book, Munnu: A Boy from Kashmir, he touches upon unsaid aspects of the conflict-torn region through his childhood in the ’90s through an allegory featuring anthropomorphic endangered Hangul deer (Kashmir stag).

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