Underground comix

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Mr. Natural in
Mr. Natural in Zap Comix

The term "underground comics" or "comix" describes the self-published or small press comic books that sprang up in the US in the late 1960s. The movement was centered in San Francisco, but also included important artists and publishers in New York, Chicago and Austin, Texas. Prominent artists associated with this movement include Robert Crumb, Robert Williams, S. Clay Wilson, Rick Griffin, Gilbert Shelton, Art Spiegelman, Kim Deitch, Jay Lynch, Spain Rodriguez, Bill Griffith, Justin Green, and Trina Robbins. Typically, all aspects of a particular comic were created by a single person, as opposed to mainstream comics that were typically produced by a team of people, including a writer, a penciler, an inker, a letterer, and an editor. The assumption of all these roles by a single person reduced the rate at which the comics could be produced. Underground artists typically adapted by producing shorter works that were collected into anthology comic books along with other artist's works.

Underground comix reflect the concerns of the 1960s counterculture: experimentation in all things, drug-altered states of mind, rejection of sexual taboos, ridicule of "the establishment." The spelling "comix" is preferred as this was established to differentiate these publications from maintstream "comics".

The underground comix were largely distributed though a network of "head shops" which also sold underground newspapers, psychedelic posters, and drug paraphernalia. In the mid-1970s, the Vietnam War was over, no longer a rallying cause, sales of drug paraphernalia was outlawed in many places, and the distribution network for these comics (and the underground newspapers) dried up. Although many of the underground artists continued to produce work, the underground comix movement is considered by most historians to have ended by 1976, to be replaced by a rise in independent, non-Comics Code compliant publishing companies in the 1980s and the resulting increase in acceptance of adult-oriented comic books (see "alternative comics").


Notable Underground Comix


Further reading

See also


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