First published in 1968, Zap Comix is considered to be the freaky forefather of the underground comix movement that still thrives today. Created by R. Crumb, the Zap #1 solely featured his work with subsequent issues introducing such groundbreaking artists as S. Clay Wilson, Robert Williams, Gilbert Shelton, Rick Griffin, Victor Moscoso, Paul Mavrides, and "Spain" Rodriguez. Today, Fantagraphics Books keeps the Zap spirit alive and so I was thrilled to learn that they've just announced the forthcoming publication of The Complete Zap Comix. The 800 page, two-volume, slipcased, hardcover set will hit stores in Fall 2012. From Fantagraphics:
"Fantagraphics' The Complete ZAP Comix, as designed by Victor Moscoso, will be a classy item for the bookshelves of underground comics fans — those who can afford it, that is," said ZAP artist Gilbert Shelton. "I imagine most of the original readers wish they still had their copy of the first edition of ZAP # 1, which sells for over ten thousand dollars now, if in perfect condition. But part of the secret of the success of underground comix was that they werecheaply produced and turned yellow and fell apart quickly, and also that they were borrowed and never returned by one's friends, thereby forcing you to buy another copy. This will not happen with the new collected edition, which will be produced under the most rigorous of quality control."
"Much as the effect EC's MAD had on the mid-20th Century, ZAP was equally influential and disruptive to cultural mores at the end of the 20th Century, but without the hindrance of the old comic book code that cramped graphic novel expression for 40 years," said ZAP artist Robert Williams. "I'm very pleased that Fantagraphics will release this long-awaited compendium of ZAP Comix."
"When Robert Crumb started ZAP in 1968, no one had any idea that it would still be alive 45 years later," Shelton added. "This exercise in anarchy — there were never any rules, restrictions, or editorial policy — is still the flagship of the underground comics movement. I tried, and failed, to get my fellow ZAPsters to correct their spelling errors, but they would not be subjected to such editorial tyranny.