Please note: This article is published as an archive copy from Philadelphia City Paper. My City Paper is not affiliated with Philadelphia City Paper. Philadelphia City Paper was an alternative weekly newspaper in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania. The last edition was published on October 8, 2015.
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Material Girls
The Female Funny Fest might make you think, but it wants to make you laugh.
-Debra Auspitz

Brittle Women
-Susan Hagen

The Real Thing
-David Warner

Pal Around
-Steve Cohen

Human, Nature
-Janet Anderson

Sons Also Rises
-David Anthony Fox

Due Cause
-Frank Lewis

Delaware Divas
-David Shengold

October 31-November 6, 2002

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War on War

You might not expect to find the voice of reason on the Internet, let alone in the form of a Tourette's-afflicted clip-art comic strip, but then again, why not? But if the major media are too busy parading time-tested pundits in front of the camera and what passes for political commentary is more often an ideological wrestling match, then maybe it's left for Internet cartoons to lead the way.

David Rees, whose blisteringly satirical and blindingly funny Get Your War On surfaced last October and is now collected in a volume from Soft Skull Press, didn't set out to create a phenomenon, but the site's address proliferated across the Internet, striking a chord with people who felt conspicuously left out of the "everyone" who supposedly agreed with, well, everything. (The site, www.mnftiu.cc, is currently over its bandwidth limit.)

At first, Rees, 30, was just blowing off steam, he says from home in Brooklyn. "I made the first strips in a couple of days after the bombing campaign [in Afghanistan] started," he says. "Up until then, I'd been feeling a bit of anxiety, not just about Sept. 11, but the aftermath and what it would mean for people outside the U.S. I felt like there was a lot of stuff that couldn't be talked about, a lot of skepticism that wasn't coming to light. I was so frustrated that I couldn't find anything that reflected how I felt that I decided to make it myself."

The strip recycles not only images but catchphrases like "war on terror" and "Operation Enduring Freedom," treating words like clip art, recycling and recombining them in a liberating act of absurdist activism. Still, Rees guards against the impression that he's "making fun" of Sept. 11. "It's not to say there aren't any situations where everyone should be thinking the same thing. I'm not the kind of person who would find a joke about people dying on Sept. 11 funny. But humor is most important when things aren't funny, objectively." Among the things Rees takes seriously is the crusade against landmines, which is why he's making a presentation about the charity Adopt-A-Minefield (who currently have their hands full in Western Afghanistan) part of his reading, and donating all his proceeds from the book to them as well. Sales of T-shirts and prints will go to defray the costs of the book tour.

David Rees reads from Get Your War On, Mon., Nov. 4, 6:30 p.m., Robin’s Bookstore, 108 S. 13th St., 215-735-9600.

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