Jay Kinney was an active participant in the underground comix movement from 1968 through the '70s and into the '80s. He co-founded the romance comic satire, Young Lust, founded and edited Anarchy Comics, and contributed to numerous other comics. He served as editor of Whole Earth's CoEvolution Quarterly before founding Gnosis: A Journal of the Western Inner Traditions. His other books have included: Hidden Wisdom, The Inner West, and The Masonic Myth. He recently contributed a chapter on the underground comix movement to Ten Years that Shook the City: San Francisco 1968-1978 (City Lights). For more from Jay check out his website:
Wildcat Anarchist Comics
Author and Illustrator: Donald Rooum • Foreword: Jay Kinney • Colorist: Jayne Clementson
Publisher: PM Press
Page count: 128
Wildcat Anarchist Comics collects the drawings of Donald Rooum, mostly (but by no means entirely) from the long-running “Wildcat” cartoon series that has been published in Freedom newspaper since 1980. Rooum does not just purvey jokes but makes the drawings comical in themselves, “getting the humour in the line,” provoking laughter even in those who do not read the captions or speech balloons.
The chief characters in the strip are the Revolting Pussycat, a short-fused anarchist who is furious and shouty; and the Free-Range Egghead, an intellectual who would like anarchism to be respectable but sometimes appears foolish. Governments, bosses, and authoritarians are presented as buffoons, and quite often so are anarchists. This thoughtful and delightful collection includes strips from The Skeptic and many more, all beautifully colored for the first time by Jayne Clementson.
The book also includes a lively autobiographical introduction that discusses Rooum’s role in the 1963 “Challenor case,” in which a corrupt police officer planted a weapon on Rooum at a demonstration, ultimately resulting in Rooum’s acquittal.
“It is not only a work of genius, but of great originality, using outrageous knockabout comedy to convey serious ideas . . . this strangely effective technique of using utter farce to get below intellectual defences is successful in getting us to face challenges that no mere political pamphleteering could do. And we anarchists, with our eyes open, must accept that we too can be ridiculous in the passionate pursuit of our ideals.”
—Tony Gibson, Freedom
Anarchy Comics: The Complete Collection
Editor: Jay Kinney
Publisher: PM Press
Published December 2012
Size: 10 by 7
Page count: 224 Pages
Anarchy Comics: The Complete Collection brings together the legendary four issues of Anarchy Comics (1978-1986), the underground comic that melded anarchist politics with a punk sensibility, producing a riveting mix of satire, revolt, and artistic experimentation. This international anthology collects the comic stories of all thirty contributors from the U.S., Great Britain, France, Germany, Netherlands, Spain, and Canada.
In addition to the complete issues of Anarchy Comics, the anthology features previously unpublished work by Jay Kinney and Sharon Rudahl, along with a detailed introduction by Kinney, which traces the history of the comic he founded and provides entertaining anecdotes about the process of herding an international crowd of anarchistic cats.
Contributors include: Jay Kinney, Yves Frémion, Gerhard Seyfried, Sharon Rudahl, Steve Stiles, Donald Rooum, Paul Mavrides, Adam Cornford, Spain Rodriguez, Melinda Gebbie, Gilbert Shelton, Volny, John Burnham, Cliff Harper, Ruby Ray, Peter Pontiac, Marcel Trublin, Albo Helm, Steve Lafler, Gary Panter, Greg Irons, Dave Lester, Marion Lydebrooke, Matt Feazell, Pepe Moreno, Norman Dog, Zorca, R. Diggs (Harry Driggs), Harry Robins, and Byron Werner.
"60's counterculture, supposedly political, mostly concerned itself with hedonism and self-focused individualism, as did the underground comix it engendered. Jay Kinney's and Paul Mavrides' Anarchy Comics, to which all the scene's most artistically and politically adventurous creators gravitated, was an almost singular exception. Combining a grasp of Anarchy's history and principles with a genuinely anarchic and experimental approach to the form itself, Anarchy Comics represents a blazing pinnacle of what the underground was, and what it could have been. A brave and brilliant collection."
—Alan Moore, celebrated comic writer and creator of V for Vendetta, Watchmen, From Hell, The League of Extraordinary Gentlemen, and numerous other comics and novels
“Anarchy Comics was an education I never got in school. I learned more deep truths about the way human megatribes operate (while at the same time being greatly amused by the superb art and writing) than from any textbook. Decades later, the insights I gleaned from these brilliant comics still affect the way I view global events.”
—Mark Frauenfelder, founder of boingboing.net
“Thrill to this recently disinterred archeological fragment from a lost civilization about to be reinvented. Anarchy Comics is a dream come true.”
—Mark Rudd, founding member of the Weather Underground and author of the recent memoir, Underground: My Life with SDS and the Weathermen
“In the late ’70s and early ’80s we briefly had a comic voice that told our history (IWW, Spanish Civil War, Kronstadt), illustrated our culture (Brecht, communes, Yippies), and skewered our nemeses (Lenin, Mao, Trotsky), all with a large but necessary dose of self-deprecating humor. That was Anarchy Comics, and finally we can read it again!”
—Josh MacPhee, co-editor of Signal, founder of justseeds.org
“Anarchy Comics, revisited here, with an ardent introduction by its principal editor, Jay Kinney, was a wonder of the underground comics world. Perhaps it might be better described as a wonder of the fading comics world, because times had grown difficult for the genre and Kinney was pulling out the stops to show off what was really funny and insightful in the genre at large, extending them into another era. Anarchy belongs to the last third of the twentieth century, and yet has lost none of its power for today's troubled world. Go to the original, reader—look and learn!”
—Paul Buhle, founder of Radical America and Cultural Correspondence, editor of the Encyclopedia of Radical Art
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For a calendar of speaking events, please click here
- Radical America Komiks: Counterpunch
- Anarchy Comics: Printmag.com
- Anarchy Comics: Anarchist Studies
- Anarchy Comics: In These Times
- Remembering Spain Rodriquez: Dissent Magazine
- Anarchy Comics: Publishers Weekly
- The Anarchist in the Comic Book Shop: Reason.com
- Completely Anarchy, Illustrated: Imprint
- Anarchy Comics: The Complete Collecction: The Comics Journal
Komiks from the Underground: the Radicalism of Gilbert Shelton
By Louis Proyect
January 25th, 2019
By a happy coincidence, I received a review copy of “Radical America Komiks” from PM Press on the very day my review of Allen Young’s autobiography appeared on CounterPunch. Allen Young worked for Liberation News Service (LNS), a radical version of the Associated Press that forwarded articles to SDS chapters around the country, while Radical America was an official SDS publication launched by Paul Buhle meant to raise awareness on the left about the long history of anti-capitalist resistance in the USA. Unlike the old left, LNS and Radical America absorbed the counter-culture of the period. The one-off publication of Radical America Komiks in 1969 was arguably the most fully developed expression of this cross-fertilization and as such we are grateful to PM Press for publishing a replica of the ground-breaking comic book.Read more | Buy book now | Download e-Book now | Back to reviews | Back to top
Anarchy Comics: A Review
by Michael Dooley
January 11th, 2013
As the Tea Party and Occupy movements fade from the political scene, anarchy is still visible . . . well, its graphics are, anyway. In England, Autonomy: The Cover Designs of Anarchy, 1961–1970 just hit the streets. And PM Press is singlehandedly keeping anarchy alive with an impressive catalog of revolutionary fare that covers everyone from Chomsky to Banksy to the Up Against the Wall Motherfuckers.
Established just five years ago, PM has already produced hundreds of radical-themed publications and other merchandise. They’ve done several graphic novel-ish books, the most stunning of which is Peter Kuper’s deluxe Diario de Oaxaca. And for richly illustrated perspectives of the ’60s countercultural press scene as seen by Paul Krassner, Trina Robbins, Emory Douglas, and other insiders, you can’t beat On the Ground. There’s also plenty to view and read in the first two issues of Signal: A Journal of International Political Graphics & Culture.
Anarchy Comics: A Review
by Vittorio Frigerio
Anarchist Studies 24.2
There is more than a whiff of melancholy that comes off the pages of PM Press’s reprint of the complete run of the magazine Anarchy Comics (four issues in all, from 1978 to 1987). The age of the 1960s counterculture, that spawned such phenomena as the wave of underground comics that brought a much-needed breath of fresh air to a field stifled by Comics Code Authority-censored superhero fare, seems now as distant as the Middle Ages. And although this magazine came at the end of that period, it is still fully a product of those times. But Paul Buhle is right, in his introduction, to affirm that this work has ‘lost nothing of its power for today’s troubled world’ (p 8). The question to be asked, then, is why.
Anarchy Comics: A Review
by Kristian Williams
In These Times
March 5th, 2013
Such an approach would also misunderstand the virtues of Anarchy Comics as a project. Considered in its context—born in the midst of the punk era, after the disintegration of the New Left, before “graphic novels” gained respectability—the effort seems bold, audacious, even foolhardy. The crass, awkward, ugly, amateurish elements are all a part of that. They remind us that success and failure are often twins—arriving in the same moment, emerging from the same process—and that continuous failure is sometimes a necessary accompaniment to the maturing of success.
Anarchism may be utopian, but, as Anarchy Comics reminds us, it has never been perfectionist.
Remembering Spain Rodriquez (1940-2012)
by Paul Buhle
Dissent: A Quarterly of Politics and Culture
December 3, 2012
In recollections of the internal conflicts among comix artists, sometimes pitting feminists against male-dominated circles, Rodriguez is remembered as having been unusually helpful and egalitarian, a memory that contrasts curiously with his sometimes sado-masochistic plot lines but not so curiously with the gender-equality of the sybarites (“Big Bitch” was Trashman’s female counterpart, the tough working-class broad with sex cravings for weaker men). He poked and prodded San Francisco’s self-image as a haven of liberated sex, sometimes making his younger self a player on the scene. He also helped set in motion the vital murals movement in San Francisco’s Mission District, but was likely best known on the West Coast for his many posters of San Francisco Mime Troupe openings.
Anarchy Comics: A Review
This collection of the too-brief run of Anarchy Comics is jammed with thought-provoking content and gives the underground commix movement a needed context: rooted in the zeitgeist of the burgeoning late-1970s L.A. punk scene and the looming Reagan era of the 1980s, it's a vital link in comics' role as social commentary. Founder Jay Kinney and an international assembly of like-minded cartoonists filled the comics' pages with intelligent urgings for readers to think for themselves and eschew governmental systems that restrain the individual-and thus society at large-all while remaining entertaining (the punk-flavored Archie parody is a standout), informative, and never preachy. For a stylistically experimental series that only yielded four issues over its nine-year lifespan, there's a lot of artistic meat to be found, and material that might at first seem doomed to be dated is just as relevant as it ever was in today's American political landscape. Contributors, including Kinney, Spain Rodriguez, Melinda Gebbie, and Gilbert Shelton, are remarkably strong storytellers who bring a sense of urgency and vitality to the material.
The Anarchist in the Comic Book Shop
by Jesse Walker
January 29th, 2012
Now those four issues have been assembled in PM Press' Anarchy Comics: The Complete Collection, along with various out-takes and ephemera. The strips anthologized here include straightforward stories about anarchist history, cartoons mocking Marxist sectarians, illustrated anti-authoritarian essays, and odd little vignettes that are hard to classify. (The latter include a page by Gilbert Shelton, creator of The Fabulous Furry Freak Brothers, proposing an alternate set of highways he calls "free zones," where all traffic laws—indeed, all laws of any kind—are suspended.) The left gets spoofed a lot, but it isn't being spoofed from afar: Just about all the artists and writers come from, or at least have a foot in, the left side of the anarchist spectrum.
Complete Anarchy, Illustrated
January 11th, 2013
Established just five years ago, PM has already produced hundreds of radical-themed publications and other merchandise. They've done several graphic novel-ish books, the most stunning of which is Peter Kuper's deluxe Diario de Oaxaca. And for richly illustrated perspectives of the '60s countercultural press scene as seen by Paul Krassner, Trina Robbins, Emory Douglas, and other insiders, you can't beat On the Ground. There's also plenty to view and read in the first two issues of Signal: A Journal of International Political Graphics & Culture.