Saturday, 21 July 2018

Comix Book

Here's an unusual one. In 1974, Stan Lee realized those dirty Underground comics were selling pretty well to the college ( and drop-out ) crowd, and figured to get some of that counter-culture dollar for Marvel.
Why not? After all, he and Roy the Boy had a proven track record of successfully Marvelizing current trends, what would be difficult about Marvel Underground comics?

Well, as it turned out, quite a bit. Stan reached out to Denis Kitchen, publisher at Kitchen Sink Press, and cut a deal. Kitchen would edit the book, with Stan listed as 'Instigator'. Kitchen Sink would provide the talent, and Marvel would provide the distribution, and there'd be no artistic restrictions.
But of course there were. You couldn't have Marvel backing the extreme kind of work artists like S. Clay Wilson, Jack Jackson or Spain, for instance, were doing.
And there was another problem. Underground artists were used to keeping the rights to their work, which no big publisher then allowed. By letting Comix Book's contributors sidestep the status quo, and retain their rights, Stan set a dangerous precedent, not to mention incurring the ire of his regular artists, who wondered why these punk kids were getting a sweeter deal than they were.

So it couldn't last, and Comix Book ran just 3 issues, being in the process something neither fish nor fowl.
It wasn't quite a Marvel book ( in fact, the the word 'Marvel' never appears anywhere in the run ), but had friendlier cartoonists than your average Underground, like Trina Robbins and Howard Cruse, and even regular old school names, like Basil Wolverton and Mike Ploog.
But there is some good, interesting stuff in here. Normally I'd post a whole issue, but Dark Horse did a big budget reprint a while back, so here's a sprinkling from just the first couple of issues instead.


  1. Marvel published three issues, but there were two more published by Kitchen Sink. All five covers are on my blog somewhere, so feel free to borrow the last two if you want.

  2. Ah I forgot to mention that, but I've got them anyway, cheers Kid.