Komiks from the Underground: the Radicalism of Gilbert Shelton
Date Written: 25/01/2019
Year Published: 2019
Resource Type: Article
Cx Number: CX23366
A review and history of "Radical America Komiks," a reprint collection of underground comics from 1969.
Turning to the actual work in Komiks, you will find much of it a lot rawer than what you might have expected in a comic book put out by the Trotskyists or the CP (not that these sects would have ever thought outside the box.) The old left esthetic was very much in the agitprop vein, with clearly delineated heroes and villains - the working class on one side of the barricades and the bosses on the other.
None of this crops up in Komics, especially the work of Gilbert Shelton who was the editor and best known radical comic strip author of the 1960s and 70s. Shelton created The Fabulous Furry Freak Brothers, Fat Freddy's Cat, and Wonder Wart-Hog, comic strips that bear more than a casual resemblance to R. Crumb. Crumb was the ultimate iconoclast who has been condemned for stereotyping Blacks and women but his defenders make the case that the images were more of a commentary on a decadent society than a projection of its values.