Originally Posted by oldmilwaukee6er
Over the next few weeks, I will attempt to highlight a few tiers-based on pricing, importance, etc.- of Key Underground (UG) comix for any collecting budget. These posts largely represent my opinions, research, and experiences in actively collecting UG comix for the past 2+ years—a small amount of time to be sure.
So why collect UGs?
Anti-censorship reaction to the Comics Code Authority proved a big influence to UG pioneers. As youngsters, future UG artists were deeply affected, with some watching their parents tear up their comics collections (see back cover to Zap Comix #1). UG Comix are their payback.
They are counterculture-inspired stories dealing with social issues like sex, drugs, rock music and anti-war protest. For this reason, these new comics became known as "comix" to set them apart from mainstream comics and to emphasize the "x" for x-rated.
Comix dealt with burgeoning social issues such as racism, sexism, and anti-war protest. The UG movement contained some of the earliest feminist work in comics.
…and they’re gaining credibility.
Jerry Weist, in his book titled The 100 Greatest Comic Books, rated Zap Comix #1 higher than many ‘straight’ powerhouses such as Detective 27, Showcase 4, X-Men 1, Fantastic Four 1, and ASM 1. Art Spiegelman won a Pulitzer Prize for his work on MAUS, which first appeared in Funny Aminals[sic] a UG published by Apex Novelties. The UG comix phenomenon is now largely recognized as an important avant garde Art movement.
“I want to add some underground (UG) comix to my collection, but don’t know enough about them to buy confidently.”
For UG comix collectors, this sentiment is often heard and easily understood. I started this thread in an attempt to quicken the learning curve for those of you who might like to add a few key titles to your collection.
When I first began collecting I was amazed at the paucity of publicly held knowledge on UGs. After being gifted a few UG reprints, I watched Ebay auctions on Zap Comix and Freak Brothers for the better part of two years and learned one thing… there are so many different printings of these books! Did you know that as of 1982, Zap Comix #1 had gone through an estimated 17 printings, totaling around 300,000 comics? Determining first (or early) printings from later ones remains important to value-minded collectors.
So, I embarked on the old cliché… Educate oneself:
The Official Underground & Newave Comix Price Guide (Kennedy 1982)
Eventually, I gained knowledge of this source. Kennedy’s guide is widely held as the seminal source on UG Comix, and I will not dispute that here. But, d@mn… did you see the price of this book ($147.35 - $251.99)?! Having said that, this book has proven nearly invaluable for determining UG printings or artists contributing to a particular book, and as a buying guide. Trust me, its fun to pick up a nice copy of a UG still priced at around Kennedy Guide!
Hold out for a better price. Copies of this rarity are available and affordable, but it may take some time, research skills, and luck (e.g. check your local library). For example, my wife—akin to the online book merchants—found me a usable copy for about $12. Also, there have been long-held rumors on the publishing of a new guide book (see also http://www.comicspriceguide.com/forum2/topic.asp?TOPIC_ID=17163 ), potentially as early as 2005. It is foreseeable that a new UG Guide would drive down demand/prices for Kennedy (1982) or, less likely, render it quaint.
Sources for the rest of us:
The Comic Art Price Guide (Weist 2000)http://www.budplant.com/prod.itml/icOid/5697
Nestled within this guide on comic art is a small section on Underground comix (<1/6th of the book, really), which was probably intended be a market check and supplement to Kennedy (1982).
Bottomline: Neither as extensive nor as informative as “The Guide” (not intended to be), Weist (2000) still represents the minimum one should arm themselves with when hunting for UGs. As it brings UG values out of the Bronze-age, this Guide will also give you a better sense for UG values than Kennedy.
UG Comix Info http://www.ugcomix.info/hub.html
However you hunt, DO supplement your searches with the information contained in “A Visual Guide to Underground Comix Reprints” located at the web address above. This site is very useful, both an excellent supplement to Kennedy (1982) and a great tool for bidding on Ebay — this is a labor of love for many friends and collectors of UGs. For newbies such as myself, I can only say THANK YOU, THANK YOU, THANK YOU!!
Tier One KEYS: The GA of UG Comix.
The pioneers of the UG movement
CGC 9.4 Zap Comix #1, 1st print (Plymell printing). This is the highest graded copy in CGC’s census—Hot d@mn!
Zap Comix #1, 1st
Zap Comix #1, 2nd (Donahue printing)
Snatch Comics #1
CGC 6.5 Zap Comix #0, 1st print
Others might include 1st prints of the following:
Gothic Blimp Works #1
Feds N Heads
Lenny of Laredo
or Adventures of Jesus
Bottomline: These are important books and rarities that were often distributed only to friends. As most were hand-assembled and stapled, folded into jeans pockets, etc., high grade copies are sought after and very expensive. It is downright amazing issues remain in this condition. Perhaps, like me, you’re saddened to learn that you are already priced out of many of THE most influential and seminal comix. But fear not, I believe there are other key books in the UG fold that would compliment any collection.
edited by netstuffers on 12/31/2015