The Underground Movement
Today, when many of you think of underground comics (or comix as they are often
spelled), you probably think of comic books such as Zap, Bijou, The Fabulous Furry Freak
Brothers, Mr. Natural, and others of that ilk. Most of the major artists and writers for
those comix, however, got their start in college humor magazines and in the mainstream.
Robert Crumb, Jay Lynch, Skip Williamson, and Gilbert Shelton were all published in Harvey
Kurtzman's Help, which he started after leaving Mad Magazine. Also, Terry Gilliam,
director of Brazil, The Fisher King, and 12 Monkeys, had cartoons (even before Monty
Python) published by Kurtzman.
You might say that the Underground Movement began with issue #24 of Mad Magazine way
back in 1955. This was EC's first magazine format comic book. However, comic book was a
loose term, since it now contained photos and text beside the illustrated parodies that
Mad was famous for. Plus, it was now black and white and 25 cents (cheap). Publisher
William Gaines pretty much thumbed his nose at the comics code at this point and
concentrated on making Mad an "adult" magazine where comic book restrictions
In the following pages you'll find examples of the underground movement, from those
early years, through the late '60s and early '70s "head" comix and newspapers,
to the current crop of mainstream underground. So, take a toke on me, and... oh wow,
man! Far out!