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Rebel Visions: Underground Comix Hardcover – Jan 6 2003


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Product Details

  • Hardcover: 292 pages
  • Publisher: Fantagraphics Books; 1 edition (Jan. 6 2003)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 1560974648
  • ISBN-13: 978-1560974642
  • Product Dimensions: 31.2 x 23.5 x 2.7 cm
  • Shipping Weight: 1.7 Kg
  • Average Customer Review: 5.0 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (1 customer review)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: #517,463 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Product Description

From Publishers Weekly

Moving from year to year and town to town, through a revolving cast of artists and publishers, this story of revolutionary 60s art-making seeks to capture some of the frenzied scope and communal bonhomie that made the hippie counterculture click. The big names here are Robert Crumb, Robert Williams and Art Spiegelman, who emerge from the postwar era of conformity and repression into a period of broad cultural experimentation and self-discovery. Once the text moves beyond boilerplate mythmaking about San Francisco in the free love era, an interesting portrait begins to emerge-of ambitious, committed artists seeking to push their own boundaries, and with them the boundaries of society at large. In its detailed account of an art that celebrated sweating burnouts and libidinous creeps, the volume gives all the anecdotes and minutiae a reader might want. Lavishly illustrated with pages and panels from the underground press of the time (at least one per page), the book serves 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. Illus.
Copyright 2002 Reed Business Information, Inc.

From Booklist

The most lasting artistic legacy of the 1960s hippie movement, other than its music, is its eye-poppingly transgressive underground comics--black-and-white pamphlets that spread the counterculture message of sex, drugs, and rebellion to freak and straight alike. Rosencranz thoroughly documents the phenomenon, providing a year-by-year account of the underground scene, from 1968's Zap #1, which artist R. Crumb sold from a baby carriage on the streets of Haight Ashbury, to its crash in 1973 in the wake of obscenity rulings and a crackdown on head shops. During the period, the comics' subject matter mirrored countercultural concerns as they shifted from peace-and-love to antiwar, feminist, and other political messages. Rosencranz's writing may lack flair, but with personalities this colorful (the artists themselves provide fly-on-the-wall reminiscences) and art this outrageous (reprinted on nearly every page) to write about, who needs it? Many underground veterans, especially Crumb and Art Spiegelman, continue to produce significant, high-profile work, but their most lasting influence is seen in today's alternative-comics artists, who followed them in placing artistic expression above commercialism. Gordon Flagg
Copyright © American Library Association. All rights reserved

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3 of 3 people found the following review helpful By Denis Wheary on Jan. 1 2004
Format: Hardcover
If you don't know what a comix is, maybe you should go on e-bay and buy yourself a copy of ZAP. While you still can.
For those who are familiar with underground comic books, Patrick Rosenkranz has provided an amazing amount of background information about the creators and the times that produced what could be viewed as the trashiest and/or the most significant cultural artifacts of the second half of the 20th Century.
Unlike previous histories and articles that simply reprint the more or less shocking comic pages and regurgitate the same old information, misinformation and opinions about the hippies and their graphic art, Rebel Visions is based on Mr. Rosenkranz own interviews and correspondence with the first wave of underground comix creators. In lengthy footnoted quotes, the artist/writers are finally allowed to tell their own strange and wonderful stories. And by following the stories organized in yearly chapters, I cames to understand something of the birth, bloom and demise of a phenomena that never made the transition to mainstream product or the 1980s.
Rebel Visions also presents a significant amount of previously unpublished art for the connoisseur as well as an exhaustive index for the scholar.
A word of warning: these comic books are not, and never were, intended for children. Most of the comix displayed and discussed in Rebel Visions were all about breaking taboos, about freedom of expression in the face of a repressive mainstream culture and not about tittilation. That came later. If you're interested in cartoons, graphic art, the counter culture, art, politics, the sixties, propaganda, freedom and censorship, as well as the usual sex, drugs and war, check it out.
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Most Helpful Customer Reviews on Amazon.com (beta)

Amazon.com: 9 reviews
27 of 27 people found the following review helpful
The Inside Scoop Jan. 1 2004
By Denis Wheary - Published on Amazon.com
Format: Hardcover
If you don't know what a comix is, maybe you should go on e-bay and buy yourself a copy of ZAP. While you still can.
For those who are familiar with underground comic books, Patrick Rosenkranz has provided an amazing amount of background information about the creators and the times that produced what could be viewed as the trashiest and/or the most significant cultural artifacts of the second half of the 20th Century.
Unlike previous histories and articles that simply reprint the more or less shocking comic pages and regurgitate the same old information, misinformation and opinions about the hippies and their graphic art, Rebel Visions is based on Mr. Rosenkranz own interviews and correspondence with the first wave of underground comix creators. In lengthy footnoted quotes, the artist/writers are finally allowed to tell their own strange and wonderful stories. And by following the stories organized in yearly chapters, I cames to understand something of the birth, bloom and demise of a phenomena that never made the transition to mainstream product or the 1980s.
Rebel Visions also presents a significant amount of previously unpublished art for the connoisseur as well as an exhaustive index for the scholar.
A word of warning: these comic books are not, and never were, intended for children. Most of the comix displayed and discussed in Rebel Visions were all about breaking taboos, about freedom of expression in the face of a repressive mainstream culture and not about tittilation. That came later. If you're interested in cartoons, graphic art, the counter culture, art, politics, the sixties, propaganda, freedom and censorship, as well as the usual sex, drugs and war, check it out.
4 of 4 people found the following review helpful
When art won't feed our starving eyes, let us eat Crumbs... Feb. 5 2010
By meeah - Published on Amazon.com
Format: Paperback
At a time when a museum like the Guggenheim is reduced--as of this writing literally--to emptying the paintings from its walls to make "room" for a new exhibit of essentially next to nothing...a couple lying on the floor simulating a kiss and a few actors hired to ask long-suffering museum "viewers" annoyingly trite questions, such as "what is progress?" one begins to wonder what art historians of the future will think of late 20th century/early 21st century "art." What will become emblematic of our times when our times are long over? What will remain? Will nothing remain? I mean, you have to have something to see, right?

"Rebel Visions" makes a strong case without so much as raising the issue that what might very well be considered the most important art of our age was that being produced in the underground comix movement of the late 60s/early 70s, and which still continues in various incarnations today. As fine art moved from distortion to abstraction to minimalism to conceptualism to what some might argue is little more than flim-flam chicanery cloaked in elitist pseudointellectual gobbledygook, the disdained creators of such work as filled the pages of Zap! and Young Lust and Raw, to mention just a few, might in the meantime actually have been producing the "real" fine art of our time.

As the so-called "real" artists turned their back and raised their noses at mere "illustration," as they disdained the world of things in their canvases, and eventually disdained even the canvases themselves, as they "thought" up concepts instead of making images, and as they jockeyed for notoriety and government grants and invitations at all the swell parties, guys like R. Crumb, Robert Williams, S. Clay Wilson, Rick Griffin, and Art Spiegelman were drawing--yes, actually drawing--and the stuff they were drawing directly reflected and directly influenced the culture of late 20th century America.

This shouldn't be all that surprising insofar as comic book elements made their way into the paintings of Warhol, Lichtenstein, and a whole bunch of other established fine art types. And before that you've got George Grosz and Max Beckmann. Take a look at their works and tell me you cant see them as akin to comic book panels. While the Julian Schnabels of the world party, the folks in the underground comix movement were actually doing the grunt work, walking the walk, and usually doing it without much appreciation and even less financial reward.

Ach! Listen to me blabbering on about art history like EH Gombrich! I know nothing about it--what I know about art history couldn't fill an Idiot's Guide. What I do know is that I like blobs of paint thrown all over canvases as much as anyone; I swoon over string, nails, crushed cigarettes, dirt, poop, yesterday's lunch, and whatever else spray-painted over and glued onto billboards of plywood just as much as any art critic at the New York Times. I'll even nod appreciatively and chuckle knowingly along with the rest of the cognescenti when some downtown goofball paints a box of toothpicks white, sticks them in his nipples, and photographs them in the pitch-dark with a pinhole camera.

In other words, I'm no phillistine!

And I like minimalism...I love minimalism...as an anorectic, I am minimalism incarnate!

But when it reaches the point when a museum empties itself out and asks people to pay admission to look at its bare walls I start to think I'm being taken for a fool.

Listen, when "fine art" gets to the point that youre literally looking at nothing then the eye starts looking for stimulation. A superhero, a talking aardvark, one of those jittery Crumb characters...anything! When it's been so long since we saw anyone actually take a pencil and put marks on a page that resemble something we recognize that we begin to suspect that no one remembers how to do it, when art no longer seems to be making any attempt whatsoever to reflect and comment about our lives and the world we live in, when you need a card full of philosophical rigmarole written by some tenured academic to explain the blank space on the museum wall as a work of art and not, as you originally suspected, the spot left behind when a painting was removed for cleaning- then you begin to think that maybe when the fork in the art road was reached between representation and abstraction, we took the wrong road...or maybe just went too far down the right road.

No matter. Just the fact that that the US government tried to shut down the publications featuring these mere schlockmeisters, these adolescent smut peddlers, these underground comic "artists" should tell you something.

Aside from all that, "Rebel Visions" is just a lot of fun to read. And it's inspiring too. It makes one envious of the exciting times, the camarederie, and the commitment to engaged art that these guys had--and that is so lacking in today's art world. It shows you just how much people will do, the lengths they will go to do it, the sacrifices they'll make and for no discernible reward...if they love what they're doing.

These guys were, and in many cases, still are, true artists of the first rank. And I wouldn't be at all surprised if in a hundred years from now they will be regarded among the foremost of our time.
1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
A thing of beauty is a joy forever Jan. 31 2012
By Simon Barrett 'Il Penseroso' - Published on Amazon.com
Format: Paperback
This is an all-new edition, following the 2002 hbk, but Fantagraphics don't flaunt the fact. Why not? The hbk's long sold out and they could sell this all over again to nerds like me. Seriously (OK, I was serious), the hbk's heaven (snap 'em up, fellas, while you can) and this is bliss, apart from the curious (and curiously irritating) typography chosen for the headwords. Trina Robbins went, or was pushed, down the same route when A Century of.. morphed into The Great Women Cartoonists - the Women and the Comics original I've not seen - but we're not talking wacky here, fellas, this is serious art! Well, OK, fun art. Thanks a million, Gary (Groth)
Not worthy of the subject matter Nov. 30 2013
By RyanC - Published on Amazon.com
Format: Hardcover
Such good intentions but poorly edited and disorganized structure make this a tough read. The comix and creators deserve better. Better to spend your time with the books themselves than this choppy diversion.
eye-opening exploration Dec 4 2014
By E. Hoffman - Published on Amazon.com
Format: Paperback
From 1963 to 1975, artists published underground comix. These artists gave comics a new cultural legitimacy. Major comics publishers were ignoring pressing social issues of the day. This book is a fascinating and eye-opening exploration of this crucial era in comics history."


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