World War 3 Illustrated, A Review in Publishers Weekly

World War 3 Illustrated: 1979–2014

Publishers Weekly
June 2014

In addition to providing a history of the eponymous political comics anthology, this collection also traces the development of the progressive politics that came to define the Occupy movement of 2011. Appropriately, the collection ends with that explosive protest. It begins with the East Village squatting scene, viewed through the comics of the period, and covers broader topics like police brutality, women’s rights and religion, with a New York–centric focus. As the anthology stomps through the years, 9/11 is discussed, along with Israel, Hurricane Katrina, the Bush presidency, the Oaxaca riots, and other trouble spots. At times, the comics resemble the cartoonish agitprop that has become standard in radical protest over the decades, and readers’ appreciation of them will depend as much on their agreement with the authors’ views as on the aesthetic merits. Still there is no disputing the passion and conviction on every page. The best work—particularly that of Peter Kuper and Eric Drooker—uses biographical elements to personalize the topic. Far ahead of its time, World War 3 paved the way for the more established forms of comics journalism now. Even when the passion on display here overcomes craft, this is an indispensable collection of groundbreaking comics.

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