The World of Underground and Independent Comics: guest post by Tim Berge

Image from an underground comic

In 1954 parents, educators and politicians were outraged by the evil depicted in comic books and the negative influence comics had on the youth of America.  To placate such concerns The Comics Code Authority was set into place.  If artists and publishers wanted their works distributed and sold in comic book stores they had to follow strict guidelines detailing what was and was not considered appropriate for children to read.  Rather than tailor content to fit these guidelines, many artists and publishers found new avenues for distributing and selling their comic books.  From this underground comics were born.

Underground and Independent Comics, Comix, and Graphic Novels chronicles this movement.  Drawing on materials from Michigan State University, Columbia University, the Institute for Comics Studies and various comic book artists Alexander Street Press has created a scholarly online collection of underground comics spanning the start of the movement in the late 1960s through the present day.  One can flip through long out-of-print comics by innovators such as Harvey Kurtzman and Basil Wolverton as well as read more recent and popular graphic novels like Ghost World and The Bottomless Bellybutton. In addition to comics there are a number of secondary sources (interviews, commentary, criticism, etc.) available, including nearly every issue of The Comics Journal published between 1976 and 2009.

This is a great resource for anyone interested in the history, culture and development of comics or just wanting to read some comic books.

--Guest post by Tim Berge