Joe Sacco was born in Malta, October 2nd, 1960. He moved around the world to Australia, before settling in Los Angeles in 1972. As a child he vividly remembers buying war comics and Mad magazine 1950s reprints. He studied at the University of Oregon and graduated with a degree in journalism in 1981. He continued to travel extensively in the 1980s living in Europe and Malta where he worked as a cartoonist, an editor and an arts news editor for various comics presses, including The Comics Journal. hE traveled to the middle east for the first time in 1992 and came away from Israel and the occupied territories with the material that would make up his groundbreaking comic PALESTINE. Sacco was the recipient of the prestigious American Book Award in 1996 for the series.
In 1995, just prior to the Dayton Peace Accord, Sacco traveled to Sarajevo and its surrounding areas. There he began his book SAFE AREA: GORAZDE.