Joe Sacco's 'Palestine' graphic novel goes back into print as Gaza war sparks new interest

Joe Sacco's 'Palestine' graphic novel goes back into print as Gaza war sparks new interest
The landmark graphic novel is being re-printed in response to soaring demand amid Israel's war on Gaza, its publisher has said.
2 min read
11 December, 2023
Joe Sacco's 'Palestine' tells of his visit to the West Bank and Gaza Strip in the early 1990s [Denis Charlet/AFP via Getty]

The landmark graphic novel 'Palestine' by Joe Sacco is being re-printed in response to a surge in demand amid Israel's war on Gaza, the work's publisher has said.

The comic novel tells of the Maltese-American journalist and artist's visit to the occupied West Bank and the Gaza Strip for two months in the early 1990s. 

Its nine comic book issues were published from 1993 to 1995 by US publisher Fantagraphics, before being released as a one-volume book in the US in 2001.

Fantagraphics co-founder Gary Groth said demand for the book soared after Israel began its brutal onslaught in Gaza two months ago that has so far killed 18,000 people.

"We blew out of our inventory of several thousand copies quickly and are reprinting now," Groth told The Observer.

"Retailers and wholesalers began ordering the book in far greater quantities than in the recent past, which indicates that every element down the chain – consumers and retailers – are expressing demand for it."

The book has won a whole host of awards and was hailed as an 'all too real portrait of life under Israeli occupation'.

Renowned Palestinian-American academic Edward Said said in his introduction to the book: "With the exception of one or two novelists and poets, no one has ever rendered this terrible state of affairs better than Joe Sacco."

Sacco said demand for the book sparked mixed feelings in him.

"That the book itself still has relevance is a sorry testament to the enduring tragedy of the Palestinians – though, in some ways, it’s also a tribute to their fortitude, their unwillingness to give in," he told The Observer.

Sacco's other works include 'Footnotes in Gaza', in which he tries to uncover the events around Israel's 1956 massacre of civilians in the city of Rafah, in the south of the Palestinian enclave.

The Palestinian side of the Rafah border crossing with Egypt is currently sheltering thousands of Palestinians fleeing Israel's relentless air and ground assault on Gaza, which began on 7 October.