Synopses & Reviews
The first major historical work about the most influential artistic movement in America since the Beat Generation revolutionized literature.
A provocative chronicle of the guerrilla art movement that changed comics forever, this comprehensive book follows the movements of 50 artists from 1967 to 1972, the heyday of the underground comix movement. Through interviews with the participants and other materials, Rebel Visions is the most intimate look ever at the people and events that forged the phenomenon known as underground comix, from New York to San Francisco, from the corn belt to deep in the heart of Texas, beginning that day in 1968 when R. Crumb debuted Zap #1 from a baby carriage on Haight Ashbury Street.
Rosenkranz has spent 20 years researching this book and acquiring the cooperation of every significant underground cartoonist who worked throughout this period, including Crumb, Gilbert Shelton (Fabulous Furry Freak Brothers), Bill Griffith (Zippy the Pinhead), Art Spiegelman (Maus), Jack Jackson, S. Clay Wilson, Robert Williams, and many more. The book is illustrated with many never-before-seen drawings by all of the underground cartoonists, and exclusive photographs.
The book focuses on San Francisco's Haight-Ashbury district, where Crumb and the rest of his Zap cronies commingled with the rest of the city's counter-cultural scene, notably musicians like the Grateful Dead and Janis Joplin. The counterculture was omnipresent in San Francisco for those few years, with underground tabloids like Yellow Dog and Gothic Blimp Works steering the zeitgeist out-of-control, along with the music, political, and psychedelic drug scenes, all of which found a group of unlikely revolutionaries who drew cartoons right at the epicenter.
"[T]he first book that definitively chronicles one of the biggest countercultural artistic and literary movements in America. It's not only authoritative, it's also great fun to read....brilliantly recalls the astounding influence, giddy thrills and sense of freedom that underground comics provided during a pivotal point in American culture." LAWeekly
"[S]erves as a solid reference point for the developing styles of hippie draftsmanship. Crumb and co. round out a decade one-upping each other in degrees of explicitness and self-revelation, and leave behind a massive inheritance for future generations of doodlers to draw from." Publishers Weekly
"It did feel like this must have been what the cubists were going through, like all the magic of being in Paris for the post-Impressionistic movement did feel somehow like being in San Francisco in the early 1970s." Art Spiegelman, from Rebel Visions
"Like any utopian experiment, ideals were challenged and rewritten in the face of the daily grind. It was a harsh life lesson for me, but there were lots of laughs and some beautiful times, too..." Justin Green, from Rebel Visions
"Underground comics were more like art and less like comics." Gilbert Shelton, from Rebel Visions
As complete a picture as possible. Rosenkrantz is ideally suited to the task. (Comics Buyer's Guide, 31 January 2003, Brent Frankenhoff)
The book's thorough, unflinching presentation of this history...combined with a refreshingly clear, evenhanded prose makes this an absolute must-have. (Cinescape, November 2002)
A very cool look at the underground scene.
Chronicles twelve years and fifty artists of the underground comix phenomenon, which depicted controversial American issues ranging from political repression to the sexual revolution during the 1960s.
Includes bibliographical references (p. 281) and index.
About the Author
Patrick Rosenkranz and his wife, Virginia, live in Portland, Oregon, where Rosenkranz serves on the faculty for the Northwest Film Center's Certificate Program in Film. He has written for various publications including The Oregonian, Western Horsemen, and High Times.