Archive for Comic art

Abrams ComicArts Catalog

Posted in Comics, Comix, Underground Comix with tags , on April 15, 2009 by undergroundclassics

Check out Abram’s new ComicArts catalog! Available online here.

Pages 40-41 feature Underground Classics: The Transformation of Comics into Comix.

secret-idThe 2009 list focuses on books about the legends and history of comic arts as well as new graphic novels and other cartoon-based material. It’s a sub-imprint of Abrams, known for high quality illustrated books on the subjects of art, architecture, photography, graphic design, interior and garden design, fashion, comic arts and graphic novels, sports, and general interest.


Comix’s expression of counterculture “attacked corporate-friendly norms”

Posted in Comics, Comix, Underground Comix with tags , , , on March 25, 2009 by undergroundclassics

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Published: 03/23/2009 08:55pm by

R. Crumb

The Chazen Museum of Art, which is located on the campus of the University of Wisconsin in Madison, is presenting “Underground Classics: The Transformation of Comics into Comix,” an exhibition that will run from May 2nd until July 12th, 2009. The festivities begin on Friday May 1st with an opening reception that features a conversation between the exhibition’s curators, Denis Kitchen, founder of Kitchen Sink Press, and James Danky, author of Print Culture in a Diverse America.

Lesley Cabarga

With a combination of original art, printed pages, and comic book covers assembled from private collections, the exhibition details how underground comix with their adult-oriented emphasis on sex, drugs, and rock-and-roll differed from mainstream superhero and funny animal comics as well as the ways in which this expression of the “counterculture” attacked the corporate-friendly norms of the comics industry’s business model. Underground comix artists retained ownership of their original art and of the characters and stories they created. They developed new more cooperative publishing operations and new methods of distribution.

Trina Robbins

Artists in the exhibition include: Joel Beck, Vaughn Bode, Tim Boxell, Roger Brand, Charles Burns, Leslie Cabarga, Dan Clyne, Richard Corben, Robert Crumb, Howard Cruse, Kim Deitch, Will Eisner, Will Elder, Shary Flenniken, Drew Friedman, Don Glassford, Grass Green, Justin Green, Rick Griffin, Bill Griffith, Gary Hallgren, Rory Hayes, Rand Holmes, Greg Irons, Jack Jackson, Jay Kinney, Denis Kitchen, Aline Kominsky Crumb, Harvey Kurtzman, Bobby London, Jay Lynch, Jim Mitchell, Victor Moscoso, Willy Murphy, Dan O’Neil, Jim Osborne, Harvey Pekar, Peter Poplaski, John Pound, Wendel Pugh, Ted Richards, Spain Rodrguez, Trina Robbins, Sharon Rudahl, Gilbert Shelton, Art Spiegelman, Frank Stack, Dan Steffan, Steve Stiles, William Stout, John Thompson, Larry Todd, Reed Waller, Bruce Walthers, Robert Willaims, Skip Williamson, S. Clay Wilson, and Kate Worley.

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Comix and academia collide

Posted in Underground Comix with tags , , on March 22, 2009 by undergroundclassics

Co-author and –curator James Danky on the origins and relevance of Underground Classics. By Amy Marek, University of Wisconsin-Madison Journalism Student, 3/22/09

With the recent rise in popularity of graphic novels and comics, James Danky and Denis Kitchen’s look at the history and evolution of American underground comix  illuminates their impact on popular culture. Danky and Kitchen’s blending of passion and scholarship will both entertain and change minds.

“Even those who experienced the 60s may find their memories renewed by seeing comix they enjoyed in their youth, and for those too young to have known the work when it was produced, it will, to use an old expression, ‘blow their minds’.”

Danky, who has dedicated his career to bringing popular culture into the academy, including imaginatively documenting the print culture of everyone from neo-Nazis to zinesters, returns to his “hippie roots” for this project. Cartoonist, writer, editor, publisher and entrepreneur Denis Kitchen’s connections with key underground comix cartoonists allowed for an inclusive and comprehensive look at the evolution of underground comix, featuring unseen original art provided by artists’ themselves and personal collectors.

James Danky

James Danky

“The exhibit, upon which the book depends, would not be possible without the keen eye and superb collector’s instinct that led Denis to trade and purchase art from all of the important comix artists he met while publishing their works under his Krupp Comic Works and Kitchen Sink Press. But we needed more art, from different artists or different portions of their career and that was provided by Eric Sack of Philadelphia, who must have the largest collection of underground comix original art anywhere.”

Other than collaborating with Kitchen, Danky says getting the chance to talk to the artists in the course of seeking their permission for the book was one of the most interesting parts of the project.

“If I were to use a Sixties turn of phrase, I would say it was a gathering of the underground artist tribe. The generosity of the artists in letting us make use of their now-historic work has been astonishing, as has their enthusiasm for revisiting the revolutionary art that all of them helped to create.”

In addition to documenting the exhibit, the book provides deep context justifying Underground Classics claim as “the first serious examination of underground comix as art,” according to Danky. He says they accomplished this by commissioning essays from Paul Buhle, an old friend and historian at Brown University; Pat Rosenkranz, author of Rebel Visions: The Underground Comix Revolution; and Trina Robbins, the most important female underground cartoonist and, later, a serious historian of women in comics.

“Their essays place the artists and their creations in the social and artistic context of the era in a way that will introduce those new to the phenomenon while reminding older readers why they loved to read them long ago.”

Comics are hot and likely to stay that way in the next few years, according to Danky.

“Comix are a crucial part of that market in terms of how they influence readers and artists active today, think Dan Clowes or Chris Ware who are the next generation, but also figures like Charles Burns, Robert Crumb, Aline Kominsky Crumb, Spain Rodriguez, and on who began in comix and continues to be important artists.”

“But it is really the readers of today who will find Underground Classics to be shockingly wonderful. They have no idea how the visual freedom they take for granted when reading comics today was created, and by whom. And they will love the images, whether for a glimpse into their parent’s secret past or for the uninhibited approach to art and life.”