I am not a fan of the autobiographical comics movement. I think it was a major time-wasting deviation for the underground comics scene.
It exists because in the 1990s Tipper Gore’s PMRC censorship campaign had a massive chilling effect on adult related material. Store owners were fined and even shut down for carrying adult comics.
So many artists and publishers bailed on making and printing real extreme stuff because of these puritans.
Right around this same time comes a bunch of sad dorks producing inoffensive self-indulgent material. They liked to call themselves art comics or autobio comics.
I call them boring and pretentious.
Regretfully I have read countless of these comics – Predominately stories about pathetic white dudes’ and their masturbation habits.
Tons of lonely cat hoarders grabbed pen and paper to tell these long form boring stories.
This overall unoffensive material was embraced by corporate publishers and is everywhere in comic book stores and libraries now.
A void for good adult material was created and was replaced on the shelves by all these un-offensive sad dork comics.
When the darker underground comix died out we were left with an indie mainstream and a superhero mainstream. The hardcore underground stuff like porn, blasphemous or ultra-violent comix were relegated to back rooms.
Most creators of this stuff were banned from selling at conventions and their books were carried in few to no stores.
They were left listless.
All while these other two scenes were allowed to exist without impunity.
Many underground creators like me had nowhere to show and sell their work for many years. I don’t make porn comics but I do make ultra-violent comics that many stores just hide in dilapidated boxes labeled “ADULTS ONLY!”
The coffin of the comic book creating world.
Then came the internet, ultra-violent video games and porn.
There are 6 years old kids killing hookers in GTA online nowadays…
Slowly the puritanical grip on our society is waning. Fans are desensitized by the internet.
Now extreme artists can quietly build and find their own audiences without corporations, stores or distributors deciding if it is worthy of fandom praise.
There is a new resurgence of dark comix on crowdfunding and alternative distribution sources that the corporations are afraid of.
Stuff that pushes the boundaries of acceptable norms the way underground comics should.
With this resurgence I see the inevitable claiming of the underground market space by corporate funded hacks.
I see a lot of the stuff that is being called underground that really isn’t – It is a fan artists amalgam of what they think underground comics should look like.
All style no substance.
If it is created by an LLC it is not free. They are HR comics. Human Resource comics.
They have major limitations on what they can publish and sell in the market.
How many anti-political, anti-religious or porn comics do you see on store shelves? There are millions of novels on shelves filled with this content though.
In comic books it was sanitized off the shelf.
This is why I feel comics like Red Room are products made for corporations to exploit. They are the least underground thing I can think of.
Fans get yet another tame watered-down version of an underground comic.
Little Eddy Pisskor with Red Room is doing with underground comics what he did with the hip hop scene. Swiping and regurgitating what he sees.
He is the corporate co-opter’s wet dream.
You can’t make underground comics without limitations if you have to answer to lawyers and the HR department. Ed Piskor, Jim Rugg and many others like them are just doing storyboards for a potential film series or tv show.
Storyboards with inane dialogue.
Fan artists making fan art.
There is a growing audience of quiet fans wanting to support independent artists. When this happens there is always some hack middleman in the way.
I have sat next to literal towers of unlicensed Fan Art and prints being sold at conventions. It was bad enough when these IP theft hacks infected the shows.
Now they are starting to make comics.
That is why I decided many years ago that I wanna make and read comics that can’t be adapted or co-opted. Stuff corporations and politicians fear not embrace.
Creativity, imagination, and your hard work mean nothing to a suit.
Your comics are just another commodity.
Look what they did to punk rock.
I want to see underground comics like GTA not Mario Brothers.
We as a community need to ditch these fan art fools.
I want to see shows and stores embrace and finally support an underground/independent scene of dark, creative, smutty, blasphemous, offensive and gritty books! Not these corporate whitewashed versions of it.
After all – Art without confrontation is just advertising.
Article art by Dan Thrax