Wednesday, December 02, 2009
The great Gary Arlington
May 10, 1972 in an interview with the amazing Patrick Rosenkranz, Gary Arlington had this to say when asked "What's new?"
Artlington: "Justin Green is coming out with the world's first underground comic books that's going to sell for seven cents. It's going to be pocket-sized. It's goint to have eight pages in black and white. It's one single piece of 8 1/2" x 11" paper and it's folded and stapled. I said to myself, man, I could do this, too. Anybody can put out a little comic book for seven cents. Only costs you $20 to $25, plus your time of stapling and folding. That would be a real underground comic. I think Justin has started something that's going to really catch on. You get these young aspiring artists. First of all, son, if you want to put your own comic, we got to get a lot of money together and do a full color cover. Then you've got to compete with Crumb. You've got to be really good. It's going to cost you several hundred to go down to the printer and have the insides printed. That's discouraged a lot of people. Now there's a little seven-cent comic, everybody can come out with their own comic."
As Rosenkranz points out in a foot note: this is the birth of the mini comic. Pretty amazing. I've heard complaints about how easy it is for everybody to make comics for years. For me that cheap and easy production has always been the thing that kept me interested in comix as an art form. The idea that with 20 bucks anyone can put their art out to the world. And with the internet, obviously all you need is access to the write tools (sometimes that can cost more than 20 bucks).
Anyway, that interview is from one of the best issues of the Comics Journal ever, the Ivan Brunetti one (#264). Rosenkranz interviewed Denis Kitchen, Arlington, Jack Jackson, Don Schenker, Jay Lynch, Ron Turner and Fred Todd. Fantagraphics still has copies.