§ October 11th, 2004 § Filed under Uncategorized Comments Off on

So as I was digging through some boxes in the store’s back room, I was surprised to find this little underground comix motherlode hidden away:

That’s four copies each of Big Ass Comics #1 and #2 by Robert Crumb, and twelve copies of The Fabulous Furry Freak Brothers #2. I seem to vaguely remember receiving these in a collection a while back, but I think we were in the process of dealing with yet another much larger collection of undergrounds at the same time (as in several hundred of them), and this lot just sorta got lost in the shuffle. Anyway, they’re rescued now, and thus I must begin preparing them for sale…which means figuring out which printing each comic is.

Now, several underground comix went back to press several times to meet demand, and with the exception of Kitchen Sink Press (which was fairly consistent in indicating what printing number each comic was up to) most publishers didn’t make it easy to determine printings. Of course, it wasn’t the publishers’ concern, really…all they were trying to do is reprint enough copies of, say, Mother’s Oats #1, to fill orders. They certainly didn’t expect that 25 years later, some poor schlub like me was going to be carefully placing these in plastic baggies for back issue sales…they probably thought the comix would end up being tossed out, used as coasters, used as ashtrays for (ahem) “cigarettes,” or whatever.

The only near-complete reference guide to undergrounds is The Official Underground And New Wave Comix Price Guide by Jay Kennedy…which was published 22 years ago, so obviously the pricing information is out of date. However, the publishing information is very detailed, and thoroughly explains the differences between printings.

In a lot of cases, the only way to tell the difference between printings is certain visual clues. A first edition may have a coloring error on the cover that the second printing does not, maybe a mailing address has changed between printings, maybe there’s an art correction inside the comic, and in some cases it even comes down to the thickness of the paper stock used for the covers! However, since the Underground Price Guide only had the one edition, any errors that appeared in that first edition have remained uncorrected. In particular, we’ve come across several variations of Freak Brothers that are unmentioned in the Guide.

A great site that’s been doing a lot of work toward straightening out underground comix’ publishing history, and correcting errors in the Guide, is Ugcomix.info, which is attempting to assemble a visual record of every variation of every printing of every UG…you might even see a scan or two I contributed, if you look around long enough.

There have been other price guides over the last few years that made half-hearted attempts at listing undergrounds…but in most cases not enough information was given in telling the various printings apart, and therefore unusable except in conjunction with the Underground Price Guide. Years ago, word on the street was that Kennedy was preparing a revised edition of his Guide, but unfortunately it has yet to appear.

In other news:

Mark Evanier’s post about Christopher Reeve affected me the most. Very, very sad. Most of my fellow comics webloggers have some nice words about Mr. Reeve as well.

For some reason, I keep getting credit on various sites (this one’s the latest I’ve found) for finding that Justice League of America panel with Batman thinking “Robin, what have I done to you?” Wasn’t me…I’m not sure who first posted it, but it’s never appeared on site (beyond my linking to it elsewhere).

Comments are closed.