Posted: October 31, 2011
interviewed by Chris Richards, October 2011
My first exposure to Seth Tobocman’s work was picking up a copy of ‘You Don’t Have to Fuck People Over To Survive’ per a friends recommendation. Being a long time comicbook fan, one who desperately searches for comics with heavy political metaphor, I was immediately excited about the book. Stories of oppression, an illustrated story of Mumia, stories of action, comics capturing the frustration and struggle of activism, the stories and the unique style of art immediately pulled me in. Years later, after picking up most of Seth’s books, I am very excited to be able to offer you a brief interview with him!
Greetings, can you give us a brief explanation of who you are and what it is that you do?
My name is Seth Tobocman. I am a comicbook artist. A lot of my comics focus on social and political issues. In 1980 I started a magazine called World War 3 Illustrated with Peter Kuper and Christoff Kolhoffer. That magazine is still being published today.
What goals do you have with your art and its impact on the world?
I’d like to make a contribution to a movement against oppression and exploitation, particularly here in the U.S. where we really need one. I’d also like to expand the medium of comics so it can deal with more serious issues.
What first led you to the decision to utilize your gifts as a tool for expressing your personal views on social and political issues?
I’ve always had a sense that there was a lot of injustice in the world and that art was a way to respond to it. But it was the rise of Reagan that really made me feel I had to get political.
What place does art, media, and creativity have in building a resistance movement?
I think that whatever activities human beings engage in they create art about. Like cave people did paintings of the animals they had to deal with. So if there is politics there will be political art.
Do you feel that using your art for social and political purposes has been successful?
I think that history will judge that.
Ideally, what experience or impact would a viewer take away from your art?
I’d like people to understand. You don’t have to like me or what I’m saying. But I want to be heard and understood.
For more information on Seth Tobocman, please visit his website: