WW3 Illustrated #39 Review
This is one of those books I ordered from Previews simply because it looked like something different. And it certainly is. World War 3 has been around since 1980 and was created by artists Peter Kuper and Seth Tobocman. In their own words, “WW3 has functioned as a microcosm of the the kind of society we’d like to see. Content is valued over style and ideas are not regarded for their popularity, but for their substance. Artists are given a forum to reach an audience with their work and the opportunity to interact and examine their concepts in a group setting.”
With a rotating team of editors and no shortage of contributors, WW3 offers true creative freedom and a rare outlet for some inspired artists. Every page has something to say about today’s world; both good and bad. The latest issue is an almost entirely wordless one. With over 30 short stories, this 120 page mainly black and white comic is a splendid read. Size-wise it sits somewhere between a standard comic and a magazine, reminding you that what’s inside is some entertaining and unique content. Reading it, I felt like an intellectual, part of the cultural vanguard, rallying against, “the man.” Or maybe I just felt that way because this is a comic from artists I’ve never heard of and doesn’t feature a single superhero. Either way, I’m so glad I picked it up. As with any anthology, the quality varies, but I was genuinely smiling at a few witty entries, particularly The Crisis by Terry Labahn about one man’s failure to learn his lesson about money and In Security by Santiago Cohen. The latter brims with dark humour, but like every story within these pages, it has a point to make. Some are obvious and quite touching in their simplicity, while others had me scratching my head as to what exactly they were trying to say. The art styles range from manga to cartoons to the swirling, expressive line work seen in the double pages of Mac McGill’s Song For Katrina. There’s also a short selection of Kuper’s photos of art seen on Mexican walls. A well researched 4 page article by David A. Berona on the history of wordless art as it relates to spotlighting social injustice is a nice touch too and helps remind readers that the powerful , yet simple tales within WW3 are part of a global force. The majority of the work here, as in every issue, is focused on humanity and it’s needless desire for destruction of the environment or itself. None of the stories are depressing however. They serve to remind us of what we already know, such as the sometimes foolishness of chasing material wealth. Those who know that comics don’t always live up to their potential as a storytelling force to be noticed, will find a kindred spirit within these emotive pages.
You can read an interview with Kuper about WW3 and this particular issue here.