Books: What's Going On?

Joe Sacco's Safe Area Gorazde is a comic-book look at a horrible war

We've had seven centuries to understand this Balkans thing, and still it's not happening. "Three antagonists is one too many. Maybe it's two too many," says Joe Sacco, who spent 4 1/2 months in the former Yugoslavia to report his epic comic book, Safe Area Gorazde (Fantagraphics; 230 pages; $28.95), due out next month. "People can follow what's going on in a soap opera but can't follow what's going on in Bosnia."

Like Art Spiegelman's Maus, Sacco's book juxtaposes the pop style of comics with human tragedy, making the brutality of war all the more jarring. Though Sacco hasn't made the...

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