Review: Wu Wei

Published On October 18, 2013 | By Richard Bruton | Comics, Reviews

Wu Wei – A spiritual comics anthology

Edited by Mike Medaglia.


Described as “an anthology that gives writers and artists a space to creatively explore spirituality through the medium of comics” Wu Wei the anthology seeks to use comics to illuminate the Taoist principle of Wu Wei, “non-action”, where the practitioner acts “in a natural way” to “reveal one’s own nature”.

Inside Wu Wei you’ll see a variety of artists tackle their own ideas of Wu Wei, some sensible, some spiritual, some downright silly. Now, as you’d expect from any anthology, especially one that fills 100+ pages with strips that are mostly only a couple of pages long, there’s good, bad and indifferent amongst the twenty-seven creative types in here. But like any anthology worth its salt, my good, bad and indifferent will be different from your good, bad and indifferent. I reckon there’s more than enough scope in here to afford that, but more importantly, with the likes of David Ziggy Green, Howard Hardiman, Lizz Lunney, Adam Murphy, Alex Potts, Aneurin Wright and many more, there’s enough comic talent to mean most of the pieces in here are at the very least very well crafted.

It doesn’t always work sure, and some of them take a wild, wild swing at an idea and miss, but invariably they miss with some fine style at the very least. Having said that, Wu Wei is a concept wide enough to drive a metaphysical bus through.

Really, all I can do at this point is throw up a few comics for you to have a look at, just a few of the really enjoyable ones…..

Wu Wei 01

Elliot Baggott‘s Greatest Living Artist

Works in the payoff, the single panel a punchline to the artist’s life, a counter to the suggestion by those who can’t understand that simplicity and genius is somehow conjured out of mid-air, that inspiration and hard work are mutually exclusive.

Wu Wei 02

Steven Walsh & Francesca Dare – It’s Nasrudin in “Across The River”

Now this is just bloody funny.

Simple, easy, funny.

Laugh out loud funny.

Wu Wei 06

Adam Murphy – Untitled

Philosophy can be very simple. And then it can get very complicated. And sometimes, when it does both of these things, it can be very funny indeed.

Wu Wei 07

John Harris Dunning & Mike Medaglia – The Lit House

Beautifully drawn, wordless and wonderful. My favourite thing in the book. Medaglia’s style here just grabbed me and enchanted me, just as Dunning’s simple tale of a homecoming and a satisfaction in simple things, of home, of peace, of imagining, and eventually, on the last page, with nothing more than a small, knowing, perfect smile … of love.

Wu Wei 10

Mike Medaglia – Zen

And speaking of both Medaglia and simplicity… that last moment. “You are already there“. That’s as good a conclusion as I could reach. That’s the essence of reading Wu Wei, gathering so many views of life, and so many moments of peace and simplicity.

And throughout the book, there’s pages from Lizz Lunney, with someone who looks suspiciously like Depressed Cat, just without the troubled brow, or stressed out expression… and if Wu Wei can do that to Depressed Cat, it may well be worth trying….

Wu Wei 03

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About The Author

Richard Bruton

– Started in comics retail aged 16 at Nostalgia & Comics, Birmingham. Now located in Yorkshire, he’s written for the Forbidden Planet International Blog since 2007. Specialising in UK Comics and All-Ages comics, Richard’s day job in a primary school allowed him to build the best children’s graphic novel library in the country.

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