The Third World is a tough place to live. Privation, a poisonous environment, ignored (at best) by state forces, malnourished and short-lived in sub-standard housing--billions of people through the world live in such circumstances. While existing in the popular mind as a far-flung locale, the Third World is better conceptualized as the land and people of any country deemed useless by capitalists. Comic journalist Joe Sacco teamed up with muckraker Chris Hedges to document Third World conditions here in the the US. Days Of Destruction Days Of Revolt (Nation Books) examines desperate and destitute people in New Jersey, New York, West Virginia, Florida, and South Dakota. Sacco's intricate artwork and unblinking sympathy dovetail with Hedges's examinations of social forces leading to personal suffering.
A collection of Sacco's earlier work also graces us this month. Journalism (Metropolitan Books) collects pieces previously published in outlets such as Time, Details, Harper's, Virginia Quarterly Review, and the Boston Globe, among others. He focuses on migrants and the displaced, those fleeing economic or military crises. His artwork is incredible, but it's his relationship to his own stories I admire most. He includes himself and his gathering of stories in the comics, illuminating his own subjectivity as an author.
Probably these titles will not make one feel better about the state of our world. But as edifying recent history they are highly recommended. For those who are discovering Mr Sacco for the first time, his earlier works on conflict in Bosnia and Palestine are also a wise investment.