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Seth Tobocman: Why Keep Publishing "World War 3 Illustrated"?

Seth Tobocman, a renowned artist and activist and founding member of the World War 3 Illustrated collective, sent us these thoughtful words about why the collective is still creating and publishing its magazine.

Why is this political comic book, which started in 1980, still publishing?

The oil slick off the gulf coast, the collapse of a speculative housing bubble, the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan, Hurricane Katrina, the bombing and siege of Gaza, the massive anti-globalization protests in Seattle and other cities, the election of America’s first Black president. All of this proves us right.

We started this magazine in 1980 because we believed that Ronald Reagan was taking this country in the wrong direction. We believed that a new, radical movement would emerge to challenge these right wing policies.This was not a popular position at the time and even many who agreed with us cautioned us that it was unwise to be so bold and upfront about our politics.

Today, material conditions are driving politics. The Wall Street meltdown proves that “supply side” economic theories were false. The evidence of global warming and other ecological problems is all around us. The ongoing conflict in the Middle East demonstrates the failure of American foreign policy.

We also started this magazine because we believed that comic books were an important artistic medium with an untapped potential to energize American and World culture. At the time, book publishers had never heard of “graphic novels” and comic book companies were still gearing their products to appeal exclusively to adolescent males. So the current popularity of graphic novels, along with the many motion pictures based on comics and the emergence of web comics, all of this proves us right as well.

And that’s why we are still publishing this comic book as well as expanding into digital media and performance. Come celebrate the 30th anniversary of this visionary project!

Please join us Saturday, May 8 at 8pm in celebrating the past 30 years of work by the World War 3 Illustrated collective! Full event information is at