With her How to Understand Israel in 60 Days or Less soon to come out (and getting solid advance reviews) cartoonist Sarah Glidden is embarking on another journey to the Middle East, with hopes of turning it into another non-fiction comic. And she’s funding part of the travel via Kickstarter with a project called “Stumbling Towards Damascus”. For the project, she’ll be working with the Common Language Project, a Seattle-based group of journalists who travel to under-reported on areas. For this trip, they’ll be journeying to places affected by the Iraq war, including Syria, Turkey and the Kurdistan region of Iraq. Glidden’s larger hope is to follow in the tradition established by Joe Sacco, whose “comics journalism” in the Middle East has won multiple awards.
By shadowing my reporter friends, I’ll be learning to be a reporter myself, and this book will be a move towards the kind of narrative non-fiction journalism–in comics form–that I have been thinking about making for a while. I think comics journalism can be a great way to bring real-world issues to life, and many artist/writers such as Joe Sacco have already been doing this masterfully for some time. I feel that the best way for me to learn how to make journalistic work like this myself is to literally follow in the footsteps of the people I’m close to who have the experience in the field.
I’ll be traveling with the CLP for one month, starting in November. We will fly into Istanbul, take a short flight to Eastern Turkey, where we will look into water scarcity and border issues, then cross over into Iraqi Kurdistan. After that we will head to Damascus in Syria where an estimated 1.5 million Iraqi refugees wait for years to be granted legal entry into the US or Europe. I will return in early December and the CLP will continue reporting for another month.
Here’s the promo video:
The project, which is raising money to help with travel costs, is just $300 short of its goal.