Yarrowstalks was an underground newspaper (and later a magazine), primarily based in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, that published 12 issues from 1967 to 1975. It is notable for being the first publication to publish the comix of underground cartoonist Robert Crumb. Unlike many underground papers of its era, Yarrowstalks was not explicitly political. Like the San Francisco Oracle, Yarrowstalks combined poetry, spirituality, and multicultural interests with psychedelic design, reflecting and shaping the countercultural community as it developed in Philadelphia. Yarrowstalks was noted for its innovative use of color, graphic design, and cold type offset printing. (The name of the publication is derived from Achillea millefolium [‘yarrow’]; the stalks are dried and used as a randomizing agent in I Ching divination.) In addition to Crumb, other notable contributors to Yarrowstalks included Timothy Leary and the editor/publisher Zahn. Yarrowstalks was the brainchild of Brian Zahn. The first issue, released on May 5, 1967, was co-published with David Auten; as was issue #2. Crumb’s work came to the attention of Zahn from the cartoonist’s upbeat LSD-inspired contributions to other underground newspapers (via the Underground Press Syndicate). Crumb’s origins were in Philadelphia, and he agreed to publish his first comix work in Yarrowstalks, culminating in all-comix, all-Crumb issue in Yarrowstalks #3. Yarrowstalks released five issues, essentially monthly, during 1967. By the fourth issue, in late 1967, Zahn had relocated to London. Yarrowstalks #5 was co-published out of London by Zahn, David Vaughan, Paul Noble, and Chris Hill. From London, Zahn put the publication on hiatus as he traveled in India, presumably — like many others of the era — seeking spiritual enlightenment. The success of Yarrowstalks #3 indirectly led Crumb to publish the groundbreaking underground title Zap Comix: Zahn intended to publish Zap #1 but left the country with Crumb’s artwork. Rather than repeat himself, Crumb drew a new assortment of strips (published in February 1968 by Don Donahue) which replaced the missing issue. In late 1968, shortly before Zap #3 was to be published, Crumb found Xerox copies of the missing pages from the original Zap #1, which successfully captured the line-work but not the solid blacks. After being re-inked by Crumb, those strips subsequently appeared as Zap #0. Despite this SNAFU, Crumb remained a Yarrowstalks contributor throughout the bulk of the publication’s existence. …”

Robert Crumb Yarrowstalks #2 “Head Comix”

About 1960s: Days of Rage

Bill Davis - 1960s: Days of Rage
This entry was posted in Counterculture, LSD, Marijuana, Newspaper, Timothy Leary and tagged , , , , . Bookmark the permalink.

1 Response to Yarrowstalks

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s