World War 3 Illustrated is the long running comix magazine from New York City which doesn’t hold back it’s punches when it comes to their thoughts about capitalism, war, and oppression. This issue is no exception; the change being that it’s an issue dedicated to ‘wordless worlds’.
It’s nearly two years since the last issue of World War 3 came out, and I have to confess that I was quite excited about the new issue coming out, especially when I heard about the theme. Thanks to Peter Kuper, one of the long running WW3 editors, I had discovered Frans Masereel, Giacomo Patri and Lynd Ward amongst others who made silent woodcut based books and comics during the early 20th century. I was sure that this issue would be one of the best that World War 3 comix had created.
Anthologies like Rolling Thunder or Occupied London have both shown what beautiful results working with slightly more expensive print processes can produce.
I have to confess I was slightly disappointed. Having re-read the magazine several times now I realise that it’s partly to do with production values. The new issue feels slightly trapped between it’s days of cheap paper, staples and inky fingers and the new world of perfect bound, Mome-esque anthologies. And the world of radical press seems to have left World War 3 standing. Anthologies like Rolling Thunder or Occupied London have both shown what beautiful results working with slightly more expensive print processes can produce. Unfortunately the cheap paper, and not terribly inspired design really slams some of the comics, which is a shame because some of them are sublime.
Onur Takel’s ‘Steps of another man’s house’ is a wonderful look at the different interactions of different generations filled with metaphors of entrapment, rebirth and freedom. ‘Light My Fire’ by Fego plays beautifully with a simple concept and Steve Lafler’s ‘Clear Power’ will raise a smile from anyone who’s camped out at a Climate Camp or taken part in any protest against the car or petrol industries. Whilst only short, only three pages, Santiago Cohen’s ‘In Security’ is breathtakingly brutal in its exaggeration of US foreign policy. I could go on, for example Peter Kuper’s comic of his final walk in Oaxaca is enjoyable (though I’m baffled why it had to shift to colour and a different paper type after two pages), and gives a good overview of his local neighbourhood.
Don’t get me wrong I think this issue of World War 3 is an essential purchase, but I can’t shake the feeling it could have been so much better.