NEW YORK – Some of the finest underground comics ever created by the likes of Robert Crumb, Rick Griffin, Spain Rodriguez, S. Clay Wilson, Gilbert Shelton and Victor Moscoso lead off a Jasper52 online auction on Wednesday, April 1. The rare publications will be followed by a collection of psychedelic rock posters from the Fillmore, Avalon and other legendary concert venues. Bid absentee or live online exclusively through LiveAuctioneers.
The comics feature a complete 13-issue set of Robert Crumb’s ZAP by as well as a rare Air Pirates Funnies #1 (above), which parodied Mickey Mouse and prompted the Walt Disney Co. to embark on a highly publicized and expensive legal battle.
Crumb, a prolific artist who contributed many of the seminal works of the underground comics movement in the 1960s, is also represented by his limited-edition serigraph titled A Short History of America, a time-lapse 15-panel view of the country’s changing landscape. From a limited edition of 250, the print is signed and numbered by Crumb.
Another product of Crumb’s Rip Off Press offered in the auction is Motor City Comics #1, introduced in spring 1969. It introduces Lenore Goldberg and her Girl Commandos. Goldberg, an action-packed feminist, displays some of Crumb’s favorite physical attributes, such as muscular thighs and cheesecake cleavage.
The auction’s collection of psychedelic rock posters stars a first printing BG133, a poster advertising four consecutive Fillmore West midweek and weekend concerts in August 1968 that headlined The Who and Grateful Dead. Poster legends Rick Griffin and Alton Kelly teamed up for the triptych-format masterpiece promoting these Bill Graham productions. The BG133 poster was reissued in recent years on glossy stock, but the one in the Jasper52 auction is an original printed on mat uncoated stock prior to the shows.
Second printings in the auction include the famous Flying Eyeball poster by Griffin that advertised the Jimi Hendrix concert at the Fillmore Auditorium on Dec. 14, 1968. Griffin discovered The Eyeball, in the 1950s auto detailing art of California pinstriper Von Dutch and reworked it over time to become the winged, bloodshot figure parting a ring of fire with serpent-like tentacles. The highlighted lettering, vivid color and complicated imagery reflect Griffin’s attention to precise details and the influence of Indian lore and archeology on his work. The Eyeball became associated exclusively with Hendrix’s music in future billings and recordings of his performances. The reissue (BG105) was printed on glossy stock after the concert.
Contemporary posters include a poster from Roger Waters’ The Wall concerts at Yankee Stadium. Waters, the bassist and cofounder of Pink Floyd, performed two sold-out shows there on July 6-7, 2012. The poster offered in the auction is from a limited edition of 3,000 made for these two shows. It pictures the “Yankee Clipper” Joe DiMaggio, slugging the baseball over the outfield wall.
The Jasper52 auction of underground comics and psychedelic rock posters will he held Wednesday, April 1, starting at 9 p.m. Eastern time.