The Fixer reviewed in Raleigh News & Observer, St. Petersburg Times, & Boston Globe

“Raleigh News & Observer Review - The Fixer” / Raleigh News & Observer / Carlo Wolff / April 12, 2004

Graphic novels come in all shapes, sizes and colors: anthologies of previously published, unrelated material; collections of thematically related material with a continuous story line; showcases for unrelated, up-and-coming artists; short story collections; and stand-alone stories. The best tell stories in which image and text cannot be separated.
Joe Sacco's The Fixer (Drawn & Quarterly, $24.95, 105 pp), a particularly striking blend of picture and text, is a graphic work in the Maus tradition of stand-alone story. Published last fall, Time magazine's Web site ranked it second best for the year (after Craig Thompson's 582-page Blankets, from Top Shelf). Subtitled A Story From Sarajevo, this powerful probe of the collapse of the former Yugoslavia focuses on Neven, a onetime mercenary who will sell anything: women, cigarettes, even his principles. The information that freelance journalist Sacco buys from Neven results in a picture of a city that remains attractive and singular despite its wounds. The profiles of warlords Juka, Caco and Celo are frightening and brave, and Sacco's depiction of Sarajevo is heart-rending. The book teems with people you care for, and Sacco's hyperrealistic graphic style - busy, precise and passionate - effectively blends the horrific and the attractive. This goes beyond "official" reports of ethnic cleansing that kept Bosnia on the front pages for the first half of the '90s and rendered it old news after the NATO bombing of 1995. Remarkable art, remarkable journalism - this is a remarkable work of conscience.

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