A comic chronicle about the life of refugees in the Middle East

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Rubén Escobar ( / Translation from Catalan: Edén Altabás
  • Comic panel. Image: GQ
    Comic panel. Image: GQ.
  • "Rolling Blackouts" cover. Image: Amazon
    "Rolling Blackouts" cover. Image: Amazon.
  • Sarah Glidden, author of the comic. Photo: Wikipedia
    Sarah Glidden, author of the comic. Photo: Wikipedia.

Sarah Glidden tells her experience from post-war Iraq until civil revolution in Syria through vignettes.

"Rolling Blackouts" is the end result of North American Sarah Glidden's trip to Turkey, Syria and Iraq, a comic book that portrays the life of refugees in the Middle East. It all began in 2010, when the young illustrator joined two of her friends in a journalistic nonprofit organisation called The Seattle Globalist. Her original idea was to stick to these two journalists and write a book documenting their work. This book is now 300 pages long and has been edited by Salamandra Graphic.

Previously, in 2011 Glidden had already published an autobiographical report which featured vignettes called "How to Understand Israel in 60 Days or Less", which made her won the Ignatz award of Best New Talent. The journalistic NGO reporters had the objective of giving refugee's witness to expose consequences of the Iraq War. The war in Syria had not started yet and the regime of Bashar El Assad suffered demonstrations by civilians demanding freedom and rights. A childhood friend and former Marine joined the trio, whose service in Iraq provided an unexpected and disconcerting view to both people they met along the way and herself.

What is journalism? How are stories spread? When do memories and truth blend? These are some of the questions that the comic adresses, translated into Spanish by Regina Lopez Muñoz. Glidden claims that reporters are only news hunters and shows the difficulty of being independent in this profession. Some characters appearing in the comic are an Iranian blogger, a representative of the United Nations, a taxi driver and an Iraqui expelled from the United States.

This non-fiction graphic novel shows the results of several interviews that the artist had with different characters. Her work places her among the most original voices of non-fiction at the time. Other authors have also published graphic reports like Glidden are the alternative comics author Joe Sacco, with his graphic novel "Notes on the foot of Gaza" and "Gorazde: Protected Zone" or Guy Delisle, with works like "Pyongyang", "Burma Chronicles" or "Reports from Jerusalem".

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