Tag Archives: radical comics

Ad Astra Comix Hosts NYC Protest Artist Seth Tobocman for #TCAF2014

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World-Renowned Protest Artist Seth Tobocman Speaking in Toronto

Cartoonist to Discuss New Book and 35 Years of Grassroots Comic Activism at Toronto Comic Arts Festival (TCAF 2014)

Press Contact: Nicole Marie Burton
Phone: (647) 863-4994
E-mail: adastracomix@gmail.com
RSVP via Facebook: Saturday May 10, 6PM-10PM (city-wide event social & fundraiser), Sunday May 11, 1:30PM-2:30PM (TCAF workshop)
Purchase tickets online: HERE.

WeAreTheCity2As comic lovers gear up for the Toronto Comic Arts Festival (May 10 & 11, 2014), it has been announced that world-renowned protest artist and cartoonist Seth Tobocman will be in town. Seth will speak on over 35 years of experience making political comics, presenting his new upcoming book and sharing his experience on comics as a tool for social change. Tobocman will be giving one talk during the Toronto Comic Arts Festival, and a city-wide talk outside of the comics community between May 7th and 10th.

Tobocman is most well-known for his role as a founding editor of World War 3 Illustrated, a quarterly self-published journal of political comics, based out of New York City. Since the magazine’s inception in 1979, World War 3 Illustrated has served as a launch pad for both emerging artists and radical ideas. The artist’s work appears regularly in its pages.

Seth Tobocman posing in front of his original graffiti art, which served as the cover for World War 3 Illustrated's Issue #40: "What We Want"
Seth Tobocman posing in front of his original graffiti art, which served as the cover for World War 3 Illustrated’s Issue #40: “What We Want”

Tobocman is also notable for his comic documentations of a number of political struggles in New York City. His book, War in the Neighborhood, details the affordable housing movement of the late 1980s which led to a series of occupations of abandoned buildings at a time of intense gentrification.

Cover of Seth's book "War in the Neighborhood," a graphic novel about the struggles over homelessness, gentrification, police brutality and human rights that raged in NYC during the 1980s and 90s. Published by Autonomedia.
Cover of Seth’s book “War in the Neighborhood,” a graphic novel about the struggles over homelessness, gentrification, police brutality and human rights that raged in NYC during the 1980s and 90s. Published by Autonomedia.

“There were events that made big impressions, and effected the direction of my art,” Seth explained in a recent interview with the Toronto-based political comics website, Ad Astra Comix. “The invasion of Grenada (1983) led me to do my first stencil graffiti… The housing movement in my neighborhood offered me a vast area of subject material to explore. More recently, the Occupy movement showed up to confirm that we had been on the right track all along.”

Tobocman has explored some of the larger contextual issues communicated by the Occupy Movement in two recent full-length graphic books: Disaster and Resistance: Comics and Landscapes for the 21st Century (AK PRESS, 2008); and Understanding the Crash with Eric Larsen and Jessica Wehrle (Soft Skull Press, 2010). A collection of his earlier graffiti and stencil art is compiled in You Don’t Have to Fuck People Over to Survive (Soft Skull Press, 1999).

City-wide tickets are now on sale for $5 each to cover the costs of Seth’s visit. Interviews with media can be arranged by appointment. More information available shortly!

For more in-depth on Seth and his work, check out our interview we did for the 35th Anniversary of World War 3:

Books by Seth Tobocman available for sale at the event:

DisasterAndResistance2 UnderstandingTheCrash

World War 3
Publishing Date: May 14, 2014. Pre-ordering will be made available if we cannot secure an advanced shipment.



35 Years of World War 3 – An Exclusive Interview

It’s been thirty-five years of World War 3.

As momentous as it sounds, no one could have known in 1979 that this self-published periodical based in New York City would become the longest-running anthology of political comics in the world–at least, that we’ve been able to find.

Continue reading 35 Years of World War 3 – An Exclusive Interview

World War 3 – #44 – The Other Issue

coverWorld War 3 is America’s longest-running radical comics anthology. While I’ve never reviewed an issue for Ad Astra, a lot of radical comic artists (including those I’ve featured here) have graced their pages. This issue took on the idea of “the other” – when ideas and people are perceived as alien, even opposite or in conflict with the given norm.

Issue #44 includes:

“Alien Europe” by Ganzeer – An exploration of cultural differences across time and space. This appears to be based on a lecture, or perhaps just a thought process of the author, but he shows how all culture is, in short, a homogenization of converging cultures.

“Single Lens Reflex” by Sandy Jimenez – Autobiographical piece about gentrification, photography, and class dynamics in artistic interpretation. That description makes it sound stuffy and academic, but it is extremely personal and heartfelt. I think this is an amazing story that is told very well. Sandy Jimenez has a great understanding of memoir narrative–looking back on a feeling that he had over a period of years and identifying how it developed, how he came to understand and overcome it, and what remains. A gem – one of my favourite contributions to the issue.


“Kemba Smith” by Sabrina Jones and Marc Mauer – part of a larger book called Race to Incarcerate: A Graphic Retelling about the U.S. prison system (available as of April 2013 from The New Press). “Kemba Smith” tells the story of a 24 year old college student with no previous record, who was sentenced to 24 years in prison for her connection to her drug-dealing boyfriend.

“Charest, Dehors! Inside Quebec, Out in the Streets” – by Jesse Staniforth and Dan Buller. Great personal account of the massive student protests in Quebec – a story that we’ve yet to fully unravel and appreciate in the rest of Canada/North America in general. Great illustrations from Dan Buller, mostly from photographs from the protests, accompanied with reproductions of some of the protest/street art that appeared over the course of the action.

“Baddawi” – A comic memoir by Palestinian American comic artist Leila Abdul Razzaq, who has illustrated her family history from Israel’s 1948 ethnic cleansing campaign, to her father living as a child in a refugee camp, to her own modern-day self. Making her debut in this issue of WW3, Razzaq focuses on her family, showing  how her grandmother survived Al Naqba at the age of 17, and how her father became the most successful marble tycoon of their family’s refugee camp.

Further notes: Razzaq’s style is very simple. My first impression was that it reminded me of Satrapi’s Persepolis for its simple line work and good use of contrast. But on further inspection I see some interesting and original details–garments with designs that are distinctly Palestinian, imagery of invading soldiers coming out of the ocean. I think Razzaq probably faced/faces the challenge of having content in her stories that is so powerful, it can overshadow or overpower her artwork. It’s a good challenge, and I can’t wait to see how her work develops and evolves with her storytelling.

“A Real Hero” by Tom Keough –  A personal memory of the artist and two friends sticking up for a man who was getting beaten to death by a group of men in the street.

“One Rainy Night” – Peter Kuper’s enactment of a conversation with a once-rich and beautiful woman. This one-page piece is part of a larger body of work entitled, Drawn to New York: An Illustrated Chronicle of Three Decades in New York City.

“One City, One People, One Planet” – The legendary Seth Tobocman makes some inspiring observations about the human response to Hurricane Sandy.

“Nap Before Noon” by Barrack Rima – translated from Arabic and read right-to-left, tells the story of the authors first trek into Europe as an immigrant.