Rebel Visions: The Underground Comix Revolution 1963-1975


“Only a handful of books and scant, scattered chapters have ever been devoted to the history of the American underground comics — despite the fact that the movement had such a tremendous and undeniable impact on comics art and comics publishing in the U.S. and abroad. The undergrounds were a product of their times, a backhanded slap across the face of the vapid, innocuous, kid-safe mass-market comics of the late 1950s and early ’60s. As cartoonist Gilbert Shelton attests, ‘Underground comics were more like art and less like comics.’ They tackled taboo topics of politics, sex, drugs, history and everyday life in ways that were even more daring than the most exalted and groundbreaking films of their time. The undergrounds were produced through tiny publishing houses by a comparative handful of folks in a far-ranging variety of styles. They were distributed to headshops via a direct marketing system that, while primitive, presaged the modern ‘direct sales’ distribution system that saved mainstream comics in the mid-’70s. What’s more, in an era when very few mainstream artists or writers were granted ownership of their material, the men and women who created the undergrounds usually retained ownership of their characters. Without them, the face of the ‘independent comics movement’ of the late 1970s and early ’80s — as well as the ‘adult’ comics scene that blossomed in Europe at roughly the same time — would have been far different. … In his appropriately titled Rebel Visions, Rosenkranz has brought to bear a decade of scholarly interest in the underground comics medium, delivering a big, comprehensive, comprehensible, carefully researched and well-informed tome, filled with detailed historical, biographical and technical information — much of it taken from rare personal interviews with underground artists, writers and publishers. And, by the bristling beard of Mr. Natural, it’s a damn well-written volume. The text is brisk, often humorous, but carefully crafted and extremely informative. Chapter by chapter, Rosenkranz leads us through the chronological development of the undergrounds and we clearly see the blossoming of the titles and their artists. Of course, the most famous and influential of the underground cartoonists are well covered in the text: Robert Crumb, Gilbert Shelton, Greg Irons, Spain, S. Clay Wilson, Jay Kinney, Victor Moscoso, Kim Dietch, Bill Griffith, Justin Green, Jay Lynch, Kim Deitch, Art Speilgelman, Robert Williams, Jack Jackson, Skip Williamson and others of the usual collection of suspects. …”
Rambles
Google: Rebel Visions: The Underground Comix Revolution 1963-1975
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YouTube: Rebel Visions book trailer (2003)

Joseph Remnant on the new edition of REBEL VISIONS

About 1960s: Days of Rage

Bill Davis - 1960s: Days of Rage
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