a flash from the past

seth tobocman – peter kuper – sue coe – peter plate – crass – jello biafra.
these used to be my “heroes” among the political artists of the 80’s.
and of course, we did not need another hero…
but uhm, where are they now? what are they up to? is their stuff online?

:flash: seth tobocman / peter kuper

seth tobocmanpeter kuper

seth and peter are the founders of [as well as major contributers to] the legendary political comic magazine world war 3 illustrated. WW3 may still see the occasional, upcoming release, although the last issue does date back to 2002, i think…
founded in 1980 WW3 has been the longest running political comic mag, however the website called worldwar3illustrated.com does not appear to be online any longer.
i did not find an official website for seth tobocman either, but there’s an interesting interview from 2002 at metropolismag.com. peter kuper does have his own website – peterkuper.com/ – where he showcases his work and his publications. but the site does not seem to be very well maintained [few news, broken links etc.] peter kuper’s books like the system [1997] are amazing.

more work by seth
and another interviu

:flash: sue coe

sue coe

graphicwitness.org has a great profile/portfolio of sue coe online, eventhough i dont think this is her official website, or is it? sue coe keeps painting/collaging in her trademark dark, haunting, yet deeply moving way. here work is still very political. allthough her main focus these days seems to have shifted to the animal rights movement.

sue coe

:flash: peter plate

now see, if anyone should have a blog, its this guy. i used to know peter as a slightly arrogant, highly opinionated, but always very intriguing guy during my time in san francisco. he taught himself to write novels while living in squats and on foodstamps so he could dedicate all his energy to his passion. at that time his books were self-published and distributed free of charge. he would accept only donations. but most amazing were his performances at open mic’s, parties and poetry readings, where he would recite his work from memory without missing a word. i still own 3 collections of his ficition, including the one where he exposes his penis on the cover [an exploded view]. ah, the glorious 80’s…
here’s a short exerpt from the back of peter plate’s book joaquin in the fog:

fiction is a secret code, a message from the unknown. ears need voices. transmission requires reception. our communications are a plasmatic media eroding monolithic silences.
[…]
we are writing about life the way we see it: history has been a failure, and the future longs to be subverted. every moment that resonates between yesterday and tomorrow is a nexus, a window that has been closed too long.

in our crumbling nation, in the land of functional illiteracy, we know the truth: write or die.

turns out peter has been writing quite a few novels since, the last 5 or so all published by seven stories press. the latest, fogtown, came out just this last june.

peter platepeter platepeter plate

:flash: Crass/Gee Vaucher aka G Sus

crass live

hah. Crass! i cant even start to say how influential this band and their artwork have been. their integrity has influenced a whole generation of bands and artists.
but Crass – being crass – stopped for good when they stopped. Crass will never reform, it says on this website dedicated to their work. eventhough they recently re-issued all their records – thats albums on vinyl, mind you – they wont be milking the band reunion cow. even if some of the old Crass members happen to perform at the same event, they make sure not to be on stage at the same time.
the artwork by G Sus, later Gee Vaucher, remains to this day one of my favorite approaches to political art.

crass coverartcrass coverartcrass coverart
crass coverartcrass coverartcrass coverart

:flash: jello biafra

jello biafrajello biafra

jello can still be found sort of everywhere. he famously ran for president in the 2000 presidential election, but he keeps rallying and organising political protest up to this day. jello could be called one of the spiritual fathers of the blogging movement when he famously said: “dont hate the media, become the media”.
however his own online presence is sort of minimal and mostly granted through his record label alternative tentacle’s website.
as far as performing he still mostly does the spoken word thing. like so:

The Big Ka-Boom, Parts 2-69 [the war against terrorism… abbreviated twat…]
The Big Ka-Boom

About Jan Zuppinger

Jan Zuppinger has been writing this blog since 2002. He likes to grow vegetables. He likes to eat them too. He has opinions on everything, but sadly no one cares. Jan Zuppinger is not joking, just joking, he is joking, just joking, he's not joking. *click.