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Wednesday, 15 September 2010

Charity comics project hopes to count the cost of war

"Caging the Snow Lion" by Sean Duffield and Lawrence Elwick, just one of many comics in the War: The Human Cost book. It tells the remarkable true story of Palden Gyatso, a Tibetan Monk imprisoned and tortured for 33 years
Brighton-based comics creator group Paper Tiger Comix has raised £3500 towards the publication of its mammoth War: The Human Cost book and CD non-profit anthology, and needs just £500 to make it the project, some four years in the planning, a reality.

Publishing underground and alternative comix since early 2004, Sean, the book's editor says he has been putting this mammoth project over the last four years, and is appealing for help to raise the last bit of cash to get it out for the world to see. 

War: The Human Cost will consist of a 260 page perfect bound book, and a 21-track music CD compilation on themes of war and peace. Its publication will raise money and and awareness for Campaign Against the Arms Trade (www.caat.org.uk), as well as raising awareness of campaign groups such as War On Want and Amnesty International and Hero Rats (training African rats to safely sniff out landmines).

Priced at just £12, £1 from every book and CD sold will go to CAAT and all the other proceeds will go to the Community Arts Project/Paper Tiger Comix.

"The work is more or less finished, as is the majority of the fund raising," says the book's editor, Sean Duffield. "It’s just the raising of the remainder of money for the project which is left." He's using the fund raising project site Indie Go Go to get the final donations and anyone who donates just £5.00 will get a 50% discount off the price of the book and CD when it comes out.

A page from "A Tale of Two Faces"
by Sean Duffield & Nelson Evergreen
- a current story about nuclear weapons
and the double-talk of politicians
The comic strips include well researched stories from around the world such as Tibet, Afghanistan, Israel and Palestine, which cover everything from human rights struggles, war veterans and Post Traumatic Dtress Disorder, political imprisonment and torture, child soldiers, refugees /asylum seekers, peace campaigns, the arms trade, corruption/ conflicts of interest, military spending, propaganda to humour and satire.

Contributors, who have all donated their work comprise the cream of underground and international talent from 17 countries and well known respected artists from the comics world such as Spain's Rodriguez (Ché: The illustrated Biography), Peter Kuper (World War 3 Illustrated/ Speechless), Alexsandar Zograf (Regards from Serbia), Lawrence Elwick, Nelson Evergreen, Ulli Lust (Warburger), Mazen Kerbaj, Ben Jennings (The Guardian), Alejandro Alvarez (The Bush Junta), Paul O'Connell, Dr Parsons, Abu Mahjoob and many others.

Some of the stories are more historical, going back to previous generations (Vietnam, World War 2, Spanish Civil War etc) and the very personal/ moving stories of those involved.

"My motivation behind creating this project was to put together a work which would help raise money for worthy causes," he explains, "but also to provide the reader with an educational and engaging collection of comics, art and illustrated factual and pieces surrounding themes of war, but from an emotional and humanitarian angle.

Think of it like a WikiLeaks; getting the real stories out there, but with mostly personal accounts and emotive art."

With so much conflict in the world, the contributions to War: The Human Cost expose the surrounding complex issues on why humans go to war, and the very real universal cost that it entails. It also looks at the more positive stories to come out of war and suffering and those creating practical alternatives to the destruction it causes.

'The Soldier' by Hannes Pasqualini.
A tale about becoming the thing you
fear the most
"I contacted many people, commissioned work and also allowed for open submissions from comic artists, writers, illustrators and musicians," Sean says of the project's beginnings. "I was astounded by the response.

"I received over 800 pages of work from artists from 24 countries, with some amazing, heartfelt and well-researched work. I’ve now edited that down to a much smaller and better book, and am just working on my own last three contributions to this work.

"The aim is to bring people together, and look at the causes and effects of war. I believe, that it is through understanding, real-life stories, solid journalism, and allowing different voices to be represented, that we can work against fear, propaganda and warmongering, and lessen the dehumanisation and ‘us and them’ mentality that is whipped up around the world by various leaders/ groups to create conflict, exploitation  and hate."

The CD features well known artists who support the project, such as Michael Franti and Spearhead, Sly and Robbie, DJ Spooky, Blue King Brown, Zion Train, The Levellers, Big Youth and Twilight Dub Circus, The Groove Corporation and many more.

So far the project has raised £3450 externally, and Sean himself has £1500 into the project, and  raised another £1750 via some wonderful sponsors, contributers, and by putting on two benefit gigs.

Donations start from £5 ($8.00 US). "The smallest donation helps!" says Sean.

• You can support this project via www.indiegogo.com/WAR-The-Human-Cost-Book-CD-Project

• Samples of the work featured in the project can be found on Paper Tiger Comix Facebook page and MySpace page

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