Summer 2003

How comix radicalised a generation [extract]

The Underground Comix Revolution 1963–1975

Rebel Visions:
By Patrick Rosenkranz
Fantagraphics Books. USD39.95/£24.80

Underground comix were not actually produced in secret hideaways or distributed through clandestine cells by fugitive partisans. Beginning in 1963, in the wake of the Berkeley (California) Free Speech Movement, the genre rose from obscurity to popular culture status as satiric and ribald alternatives to the socially acceptable, mainstream superhero and romance comic books. Within a few years it found a wildly enthusiastic audience among the young . . .