Magazine article New Internationalist

Campaigning Comics

Magazine article New Internationalist

Campaigning Comics

Article excerpt

OVER THE CENTURIES, everything from temperance to usury, land reform to human rights, has been popularized in a simple yet sophisticated marriage of pictures and text.

The number of pressure groups and organizations keen to exploit comics is a measure of the power of this hybrid medium. The Sandinistas used comics and the World Bank still does. There have been campaigning comics about the sins of multinationals and the horrors of neo-colonialism, but there have been others arguing the need for nuclear power in India and mythologizing unpopular Africa leaders.

Campaigning comics are ephemeral - quickly produced, easily read and rapidly passed on. Reviewing them is as inappropriate as reviewing graffiti, so what follows is a selection from different levels of campaigning, local through to international, providing just a glimpse of the positive potential of this vital propaganda tool.

Watch out

Produced by Third World First students in the 19805 at Manchester University in England, Watch Out is a classic black-and-white, two sides of A4 folded mini-comic. It alerted students to the huge profits certain high-street banks were making on the back of Third World Debt and warned them to'be careful where you put your money'.


The Land Reform Campaign in Mozambique in the 19905 included six comic books, each featuring a different aspect of the reform. Considerable time was spent testing the readability of the visuals of the stories, which resulted in a very clear and unambiguous presentation. …

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