Underground comics (or "comix") are small press or self-published comic books that first emerged in [[TheSixties the 1960's]]. They came about as an artistic response to the mainstream, Comics Code Authority approved comics, which focused on superheroes, war, romance, and juvenile humor, while ignoring many of the real-life issues affecting their readers. Underground comics took on these topics forbidden in the mainstream, including explicit drug use, sexuality and violence. They were most popular from the late 1960's to [[TheEighties the early 1980's]].

Underground comics were popular with the hippie counterculture and punk scenes. Produced by people like Creator/RobertCrumb, Gilbert Shelton, and Gary Panter, the comics tapped into the zeitgeist of the youth culture, exploring themes of distrust in government, the horrors of daily life, and the fading of the AmericanDream.

Underground comics gained prominence and influence, as is evidenced in such works as TheMovie of ''WesternAnimation/FritzTheCat'', ''WesternAnimation/DownAndDirtyDuck'' and ''Series/MontyPythonsFlyingCircus''. Also, ''ComicStrip/ZippyThePinhead'' and ''ComicBook/TeenageMutantNinjaTurtlesMirage'' originally began as underground comics before gaining mainstream success (in Zippy's case, syndication in newspapers, whereas the Turtles were basically commercialized and pimped out by major corporations). Even mainstream comic books weren't immune, and took on underground themes, as with ''ComicBook/HowardTheDuck''. Their legacy is most obvious with AlternativeComics, the genre's SpiritualSuccessor.

This movement helped to kick off the FurryFandom early on due to the sheer number of attempts to subvert the belief that "all comics are {{Funny Animal}}s" that was pervading the mainstream comics industry in the 70s, by basically taking those characters and putting them in adult or sexual situations.

Still other underground comics were important not for the sex and violence, but because they could be experimental in other ways; exploring subject matter that was [[SliceOfLife mundane]] rather than fantastic, or [[TrueArtIsIncomprehensible experimenting with]] the [[ComicBookTropes medium of comics itself]].

As the comic industry has matured (or at least become more tolerant), these pioneering works have [[SeinfeldIsUnfunny lost some of their original power]]; SliceOfLife, [[{{Gorn}} extreme violence]], and [[HotterAndSexier sex]] have all found their way into mainstream comics nowadays, but that doesn't mean these comics are any less important or entertaining.

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!!Examples:
[[index]]
* ''ComicBook/AmericanSplendor'': Early on. Later published by Creator/DarkHorseComics and VertigoComics, an imprint of DCComics. A pioneering autobiographical comic focusing on the life of its creator and writer, Harvey Pekar, with art drawn by many underground cartoonists, including Frank Stack and Robert Crumb.
* [[Creator/IsaacBaranoff Isaac M. Baranoff]]: Modern day underground cartoonist known for FunnyAnimal comix and violent horror stories. Creations include:
** Creator/HorndogStudios: A production company founded by Baranoff, originally under the name Mystic Studios Productions.
** ''[[WebVideo/HorndogTV Comix From The Underground]]'': An Internet review series focusing primarily on underground comics.
** ''ComicBook/{{Horndog}}'': A pot-smoking, skirt-chasing punk rock hip-hopper who happens to be an anthropomorphic dog on a planet inhabited by {{Funny Animal}}s. The first underground comic to form a basis for a webcomic variant.
** ''ComicBook/SoftDesire'': A crime mystery with influences from ''SinCity'' and DavidLynch.
** ''VizionzFromTheGrave'': An anthology of violent horror comics, some prepared exclusively for the series, other culled from earlier, previously published comics.
** ''ComicBook/WolfComix'': A FunnyAnimal Wolf and his human girlfriend face FantasticRacism.
* Creator/VaughnBode was a very early, and, until his premature death in 1975, extremely popular underground cartoonist. His ''Cheech Wizard'' comics were a regular feature in the NationalLampoon, and he was an influence on filmmaker Creator/RalphBakshi.
** ''Das Kämpf'', from 1963, was one of the very first underground comics.
** ''ComicBook/CheechWizard'': A philosophical talking yellow wizard's hat interacts with anthropomorphic lizards and attractive babes; inspired a limited special edition shoe and matching hoodie from Puma, a custom toy from Kidrobot, a lot of graffiti artists and a line in BeastieBoys' "Sure Shot".
** ''ComicBook/{{Cobalt 60}}'': A lone mutant riding a two-legged beast across a post-apocalyptic wasteland.
%% The Cherry Comics page was cut by the P5--we're not going to have a page for it, so don't bother making a wick.
* ''Cherry Comics'': DumbBlond [[EverybodyHasLotsOfSex has lots of sex]] in a PornWithPlot usually stylized after ArchieComics (when drawn by Cherry's creator, Larry Welz, not by Mark Bodé).
* ''ComicBook/{{Buzz}}'', published by Oni Press and telling the story of a world where spelling bees are SeriousBusiness and a form of combat.
* Creator/RobertCrumb
** AngelfoodMcSpade: A satire of American racism and blackface iconography.
** ComicBook/FritzTheCat: An anthropomorphic cat who seeks self-fufilling pleasures, including drugs and sex, who proclaims to be a deep poet seeking "the truth". Adapted as a [[WesternAnimation/FritzTheCat 1972 film]] by Creator/RalphBakshi. A second film, ''WesternAnimation/TheNineLivesOfFritzTheCat'' (which had no involvement from Crumb or Bakshi), was released in 1974.
** Mr. Natural
** Whiteman
* ''ComicStrip/LifeInHell'': Before going on to wide mainstream success with ''WesternAnimation/TheSimpsons'' and ''WesternAnimation/{{Futurama}}'', Matt Groening self-published this in Xeroxed comic book form. It focused on a bitter, depressed rabbit named Binky, his girlfriend, their illegitimate son, Bongo, and a pair of [[{{Twincest}} identical gay lovers]] named Akbar and Jeff (you can even see in the ''Simpsons'' character designs that a lot of the inspiration was from ''Life In Hell'', particularly Akbar and Jeff, whom most ''Simpsons'' fans will recognize as Milhouse van Houten, his mother Luann, and his father, Kirk).
* BobbyLondon:
** ComicBook/DirtyDuck: Bobby London's comic strip, published in underground comics, and later in ''National Lampoon'' and ''Playboy''. Artistically influenced by George Herriman; the comic's protaganist is also similar to [[Creator/MarxBrothers Groucho Marx]]. Not to be confused with the 1975 film of the same name, which was actually titled ''WesternAnimation/DownAndDirtyDuck'', produced by Creator/RogerCorman, and starring [[Music/TheTurtles Flo & Eddie]]. While it does feature a duck, it has nothing in common with the comic strip, and does not feature the comic's main character.
** ''MertonOfTheMovement'': A household of ostensible revolutionaries who were basically unmotivated stoners - done in the style of Elzie Segar (Thimble Theater).
* ''ComicBook/MrA'': Surprised to see something Creator/SteveDitko was involved in on here? Ditko's Creator/AynRand-inspired, [[UsefulNotes/{{Objectivism}} Objectivist]]-themed superhero series appeared in underground comics series like ''witzend'', as well as issues self-published by Ditko himself.
* ''ComicBook/OmahaTheCatDancer'': A very explicit SoapOpera with FunnyAnimal or [[FurryComic Furry]] characters.
* ''Comicbook/ReidFlemingWorldsToughestMilkman'': A very silly comic about a very violent man.
* TedRichards:
** ''Dopin' Dan'': A look at the everyday boredom and frustrations of a private's life in a big Army base.
** ''The Forty Year Old Hippie'': first published in the later 1970s, about a guy who never abandoned the hippie lifestyle (and it looks like it's added another forty years to him.)
* ''Comicbook/{{Rocky}}'': Swedish autobiographical comic by Martin Kellerman in which FunnyAnimal AuthorAvatar Rocky and his slacker buddies deal with things like relationships, hang out at bars and coffee shops, attend HipHop concerts and have a series of often-embarrassing [[EverybodyHasLotsOfSex one-night stands]].
* Creator/DoriSeda
* GilbertShelton
** ComicBook/TheFabulousFurryFreakBrothers: A trio of hippies in search of marijuana, various forms of psychedelic drugs, sex, and cheap thrills.
-->"Dope will get you through times of no money better than money will get you through times of no dope."
** WonderWarthog: His secret identity is the mild-mannered reporter Philbert Desanex. (Occasionally, however, Shelton has depicted Wonder Wart-Hog and Desanex as two distinct individuals, with Wonder possessing the ability to reside inside the reporter's body.) Distinguishes underground comics from alternative comics, as alternative comics do not focus on superheroes, which are considered to be mainstream.
* FrankStack:
** ''TheAdventuresOfJesus'': Often considered the first true underground comic, Frank Stack's strip and book series featured Jesus Christ as its main protaganist in order to satirize modern culture and the hypocrisy of so-called Christians. Stack drew the series as "Foolbert Sturgeon" early on, but later drew new strips under his own name, because the alias was too ridiculous.
** ''Dr. Feelgood'': A ghetto psychiatrist, whose sole patient is a neurotic academic white guy who recounts his dreams and experiences.
* ''ComicBook/TeenageMutantNinjaTurtlesMirage'' was originally a self-published independent comic which was gritty and violent (and influenced by FrankMiller), prior to becoming a mainstream franchise essentially aimed at children.
* TijuanaBibles are an early form of underground comics. Often they were solely pornographic parodies of mainstream comics (featuring characters ranging from Blondie and Dagwood to Mickey and Minnie Mouse), but there were also Tijuana bibles that featured original characters, a rarity in the comic book industry at the time, as during the early days of comic books, the medium almost solely published reprints of newspaper comics.
* ''ComicStrip/ZippyThePinhead'': Early on. Later became a syndicated newspaper comic, thus earning mainstream status.
[[/index]]
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