Counterculture

Crumb and the Comix Counterculture

Crumb and the Comix Counterculture

Published: 2016-01-12 | Original Article
Attribution BY CLAIRE LITTON - popmatters

AS THE STANDARD-BEARER OF THE UNDERGROUND COMIX MOVEMENT, ROBERT CRUMB POISONED A BLOSSOMING GENRE WITH VEHEMENT MISOGYNY. Original Cover Art for R. Crumb's Comics and Stories #1 (Rip-Off Press, dated April, 1964, first published in 1969)
AS THE STANDARD-BEARER OF THE UNDERGROUND COMIX MOVEMENT, ROBERT CRUMB POISONED A BLOSSOMING GENRE WITH VEHEMENT MISOGYNY. Original Cover Art for R. Crumb's Comics and Stories #1 (Rip-Off Press, dated April, 1964, first published in 1969)
Although ‘60s counterculture gave the women’s movement a chance to blossom, women were fighting an uphill battle; they had to go up against not just The Man, but the men: their own supposedly sympathetic compatriots.  Underground comix started in the mid-‘60s as an exciting new venue for political discussion that was available to anyone with a photocopier and something to say. 
However, rather than offering an open forum, these comix became a male-dominated arena, and rather than providing an intelligent, supportive atmosphere, they tended to endorse violence and misogyny.  R. Crumb, now considered the greatest of the underground artists, played a large role in fostering this attitude, and through it, contributed to the demise of the first wave of the underground comix movement, which could have been an innovative forum for creative expression.

The counterculture was a youth movement, which meant that along with the more popular peace, love, and understanding were equal amounts of angst and unhappiness.  Margo Adler, writer of Heretic’s Heart, says: “In the Berkeley of the mid-‘60s there was an extraordinary amount of experimentation with sex and drugs, but that doesn’t mean that love filled the streets. There was as much sadness, tension and anger as there was love”. While the lasting image of ‘60s teenagers is one of gentle, peace-loving hippies, in reality there was as much conflict in young people’s lives as there was in Vietnam; freedom warred with law, love with jealousy, and commerce with creative expression.
Attribution BY CLAIRE LITTON - popmatters