Favorite Quotes

"The fact that you think you are a person is a socially induced hallucination. There is not such thing as a person."
- D. Chopra, Playboy March 2011 interview

Saturday, December 10, 2011

Underground Comix

If you lived in a big metropolis today in 1971 and you went into a head shop, you might find these two comix sitting on a shelf next to the psychedelic posters and water pipes.  Underground comix were not like other comics.  They weren't easy to find and you never knew what would be on the shelf when you went looking for them.

Underground comix were a product of the 1960s counter culture and a unique distribution system that arose at that time to supply mostly head shops with posters and related materials.  Some people claim to be creating underground comix today, but they are only doing so in the style of the undergrounds.  The true underground comix started in the 1960s and disappeared with the head shops in the early 1980s.  The comix were a rejection of the 1950s-1960s sanitized newsstand comic books and the idea that comics were for children.  Inspired by Mad and other similar irreverent humor magazines, underground comix captured the spirit of the counter culture.  They vanished when that sub-culture lost its significance and was absorbed by the dominant culture.

Beer Comix (September 1971) [Public Publications, Dave Geary]

Beer Comix is an example of the self-published aspect of some underground comix.  With undergrounds, the creators had control of their artistic efforts, not a corporation.  It was a typical comix with a color cover and black & white interior pages.  Dated September it was probably still on the shelf in a head shop here in December since undergrounds really had no expiration date.

Big Ass Comics #2 (Aug. 1971) [Rip Off Press]

Robert Crumb is probably the premiere underground cartoonist and the most responsible for sparking the movement.  This issue had at least 6 printings before 1982 by one of the companies that published other artists works, but not taking their rights.  This was typical for popular comix.

Official Underground And Newave Comix Price-Guide (Summer 1982) [Boatner Norton]

Jay Kennedy's price guide pretty much signals the end of underground comix as they have been absorbed by the dominant capitalist culture.  But it is the most definitive resource for underground comix ever published.  He lists the price of Zap Comix #1 first printing at $140.  Even newsstand comic book publishers had tried to ride the counter culture wave with Marvel's Comix Book in the mid 1970s.

1 comment:

  1. Hey, a good summary of the u.g. comix phenomenon. That's one of my books, Beer Comix no. 1, above. Dave Geary, Saskatoon, SK, Canada.