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Wobblies!: A Graphic History of the Industrial Workers of the Worldby Paul (edt) Buhle
Synopses & Reviews
The stories of the hard-rock miners’ shooting wars, young Elizabeth Gurly Flynn (the “Rebel Girl” of contemporary sheet music), the first sit-down strikes and Free Speech fights, Emma Goldman and the struggle for birth control access, the Pageant for Paterson orchestrated in Madison Square Garden, bohemian radicals John Reed and Louise Bryant, field-hand revolts and lumber workers’ strikes, wartime witch hunts, government prosecutions and mob lynching, Mexican-American uprisings in Baja, and Mexican peasant revolts led by Wobblies, hilarious and sentimental songs created and later revived—all are here, and much, much more.
The IWW, which has been organizing workers since 1905, is often cited yet elusive to scholars because of its eclectic and controversial cultural and social character. Wobblies! presents the IWW whole, scripted and drawn by old-time and younger Wobbly and IWW-inspired artists.
Contributors include Carlos Cortez (former editor of the Industrial Worker), Harvey Pekar (author of American Splendor), Peter Kuper (MAD’s Spy vs. Spy), Sue Coe, Seth Tobocman, Chris Cardinale, Ryan Inzana, Spain Rodriques, Trina Robbins, Sharon Rudahl, and the circle of artists for World War 3 Illustrated.
"The Wobblies, as members of the Industrial Workers of the World were known, were influential in the labor movement at the dawn of the 20th century. A grassroots organization that fought for equality and safe working conditions, the Wobblies also had ties to women's rights and socialism. This book attempts to encapsulate the rich history of the movement through comics (and connective essays) by such contributors as Peter Kuper, Harvey Pekar and Seth Tobocman. It's a colorful story, from Chicago's Haymarket riot in 1886 through epic strikes in Lawrence, Mass., and Patterson, N.J., to the controversial 1915 execution of folk singer Joe Hill. Peripheral characters include a parade of activists, including Margaret Sanger and 'Mother' Jones. Though the group was most active from the turn of the century through the 1920s, later chapters address the Wobbly influence up to the present-day (noting, for example, its protests against Starbucks). The materials are assembled in as anarchic a manner as the substance of the source material, and all the lynchings and riots can start to run together. The loose structure and sometimes crude artwork do succeed in capturing the energy and emotion of the movement, however, and its spirit of activism, which continues today." Publishers Weekly (Copyright Reed Business Information, Inc.)
Book News Annotation:
Graphic artists celebrate the centenary of the revolutionary labor union with an illustrated history in a wide variety of artistic styles, interspersed with some contemporary art used by the Wobblies. They feature the heroes, victories, glorious defeats, creative tactics, music, and other aspects through 2001. No index is provided, but even bosses looking for secrets should be able to make it through the comic strips.
Annotation ©2005 Book News, Inc., Portland, OR (booknews.com)
A vibrant history in graphic art of the "Wobblies," published for the centenary of the founding of the Industrial Workers of the World.
About the Author
Paul Buhle,formerly a senior lecturer at Brown University, produces radical comics. He founded the SDS Journal Radical America and the archive Oral History of the American Left and, with Mari Jo Buhle, is coeditor of the Encyclopedia of the American Left. He lives in Madison.
Nicole Schulman is an artist and activist on the editorial board of World War 3 Illustrated, to which she frequently contributes work. Her comics and illustrations have appeared in publications such as the New York Times, and are in the permanent collection of the Library of Congress. She lives in New York City.
Harvey Pekar is a comic book writer and author of the autobiographical American Splendor series, which was adapted into an Academy Award nominated film. Pekar is also a prolific jazz and book critic. He lives in Cleveland, Ohio.
Retired cartoonist and current comics historian Trina Robbins has been writing graphic novels, comics, and books for over 30 years. Her subjects have ranged from Wonder Woman and The Powerpuff Girls to her own teenage superheroine, GoGirl!, and from women cartoonists and superheroines to women who kill. She lives in a moldering 103 year-old house in San Francisco with her cats, shoes, and dust bunnies.
Spain Rodriguez is one of the most well-known artists in the comix underground. He (along with Robert Crumb) was one of the original members of Zap Comics and has a reputation as an outstanding political artist. He is the author of several other graphic novels, including the highly acclaimed Nightmare Alley. His work is prominently featured in BLAB!, an annual comic anthology that has also featured Charles Burns, Mark Mothersbaugh, Daniel Clowes, and Chris Ware.
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