This collection of new comics responds to the emergence of Fascism in the United States in 2017. Fascism evident in the election of Donald Trump, and in the activities of his supporters. But this is also a tribute to the broad based resistance we have seen this year.
This is the 48th issue of the magazine World War 3 Illustrated. Because of the collapse of magazine distribution in the US, we have transformed World War 3 Illustrated into an annual book, published as an imprint of AKpress.
World War 3 Illustrated was founded in 1979 to resist the rise of Ronald Reagan through art and comics. At that time we pointed out the danger of a Fascist tendency on the Republican right. We also addressed police brutality, homelessness, gentrification and many other issues that unfortunately remain relevant today. We have been consistent in our art and politics for over 30 years. Today the staff of the magazine includes some original members and some artists who were not yet born when we started.
This history affords us a unique perspective. There are many parallels between the days of Trump and the age of Reagan, and some differences.
Trump, in many ways, is a crude parody of Reagan, down to the surreal exaggeration of a 1950s haircut.
Trump has plagiarized Reagan’s signature rhetorical technique. Reagan would make public statements, which sounded like ignorant gaffs, but which also reflected widely held beliefs. Liberals would take the bait and ridicule him. The result would be that a large section of the population would come to the conclusion that the democrats were elitist.
Both are huge hypocrites when it comes to patriotism. Reagan had covert dealings with the government of Iran, and presided over the destruction of the American economy, while Mr. America First is indeed the first American president to face credible charges of being a Russian agent.
Reagan, like Trump, had ties to the Klan, Nazis etc. There is a long tradition of such ties within the American government and the financial elites. Men like Henry Ford and Prescott Bush had close relations with Adolf Hitler. But Trump is the first president since World war 2 to bring such alliances out in the open and seek respectability for American Fascism.
There is one big difference. Ronald Reagan was the president of the United States. Elected by the majority of the voters. Donald Trump would be nowhere without the electoral college, gerrymandering and voter suppression. Trump is a minority president, with extreme views that many Americans find obnoxious.
The opposition to Trump includes people from every walk of life. Not only artists but football players. Not only students but parents and teachers. Not only the poor and the dispossessed but the middle class and even executives of some major corporations. If Reagan had faced this sort of opposition the history of the last 30 years would have been much different and the world would be a happier and safer place today.
So this publication is not only a warning about the current administration, but a tribute to all of you who stand in resistance. It is not only an accusation directed against the American government but an expression of our belief in all of you and in what you can do.