“Pablo Ferro Films” (1967). Victor Moscoso.
There’s always some education to be had from looking at comics by artists who are better known for their work in other media. Victor Moscoso is one of two members of hippie-era San Francisco’s legendary Zap Comix collective whose work on rock concert posters is arguably more notorious and influential than his comics. (Rick Griffin accompanies him in this category.) That isn’t to say, however, that Moscoso’s comics have wielded anything less than a tremendous influence over the past few decades, despite the fact that they remain somewhat under-discussed. Moscoso brought color printing to the medium’s underground, did work in Zap that anticipates the most adventurous of today’s experimental comics, and brought a cubist-inflected fine art sensibility to his pages that echoes in the work of cartoonists from Gary Panter to Art Spiegelman.
As was revealed during today’s Fantagraphics panel at San Diego, the Seattle-based company plans to publish The Complete Zap Comix. The book, which will collect every issue of the seminal underground comics series to date, is tentatively scheduled to be released in the fall of 2012. It will be a hardbound, two-volume slipcase, similar to their collections of Harvey Kurtzman’s Humbug magazine and Bill Mauldin’s Willie & Joe series.
One of the most influential comics ever published, the first two issues of Zap were created entirely by Robert Crumb, who then invited other artists to contribute, including Spain Rodriguez, the late Rick Griffin, S. Clay Wilson, Victor Moscoso, Gilbert Shelton and Robert Williams. The series quickly not only catapulted Crumb and the other artists to stardom (or a relative stardom at any rate), it quickly became seen as one of the more prominent symbols of the counterculture movement of the 1960s, along with LSD, rock music and head shops (where issues were usually sold). While it was not the first underground comic, it was viewed by many both inside and outside the counterculture movement as the lodestone for the underground comics scene, and its existence and influence directly led to the development of the alternative comics scene in the 1980s and 1990s.
Fantagraphics was kind enough to share today’s revelation with Robot 6 prior to the start of the San Diego con, and we took the opportunity to talk to publisher Gary Groth about the project, its origins and the comic’s significance.