Fantagraphics Bookstore & Gallery welcomes underground comix legend Robert Williams on Saturday, December 13 to celebrate the publication of the Complete Zap Comix Anthology with an exhibition and book signing. This event kicks off a weeklong series commemorating the monumental, multi-volume collection of comix that changed the future of this marginalized medium.
From the time it first appeared in1968 – peddled from a baby carriage on the streets of San Francisco’s Haight Ashbury district – R. Crumb’s perversely perceptive observations altered the course of American counterculture. The Zap Comix collective came to include eight creative misfits, as Crumb was joined by Robert Williams, Gilbert Shelton, Rick Griffin, Victor Moscoso, Spain Rodriguez, S. Clay Wilson, and Paul Mavrides. Over the course of three and-a-half decades they produced 16 issues on an intermittent schedule. The Complete Zap Comix Anthology will include all prior issues plus the previously unpublished #17 and a fascinating oral history of Zap by underground comix scholar Patrick Rosenkranz. A special, limited edition of the anthology will include a portfolio of signed prints from the pages of Zap. The exhibition at Fantagraphics Bookstore will feature prints, posters, drawings and related ephemera from these master cartoonists.
Robert Williams emerged on the American art scene in 1965 as a designer for notorious hot rod celebrity Ed “Big Daddy” Roth. In addition to his later work on Zap and other underground comix, Williams has enjoyed a successful career as a fine artist. His work was featured in MoCA’s landmark “Helter Skelter” exhibition in 1992 and the travelling “Kustom Kulture” show, which appeared at Seattle’s Center on Contemporary Art in 1994. His paintings have since been exhibited in prestigious galleries and museums worldwide. Fantagraphics Books has published 3 volumes of Williams work including Malicious Resplendence, Hysteria in Remission, and Conceptual Realism. Williams will sign copies of these and other books at the reception on December 13 from 6:00 to 9:00 PM, which marks the 8th anniversary of Fantagraphics Bookstore. This event also coincides with the colorful holiday edition of the Georgetown Art Attack.
On Sunday, December 14 at 4:00 PM, Fantagraphics Books hosts the Seattle premiere of Robert Williams: Mr. Bitchin’ at Northwest Film Forum, 1515 12th Avenue on Capitol Hill. This wildly entertaining documentary, directed by Mary Reese and Nancye Ferguson, chronicles the career of this incredibly influential artist. Williams will introduce the movie and take questions following the screening.
On Thursday, December 18, at 7:00 PM, editor J. Michael Catron will present a discussion the history of Zap Comix and its lasting cultural implications. The festivities will conclude on Saturday, December 20 from 4:00 to 6:00 PM with a Tribute to S. Clay Wilson featuring Patrick Rosenkranz, Dennis Dread and Jim Blanchard. Rosenkranz will sign copies of The Mythology of S. Clay Wilson: Pirates in the Heartland. Dennis Dread will present his Entartete Kunts, a collection of contemporary artists, cartoonist and illustrators influenced by the Wilson’s work, including Seattle artist Jim Blanchard.
The Zap Comix exhibition continues through January 8, 2015. Fantagraphics Bookstore & Gallery is located at 1201 S. Vale Street in the heart of Seattle’s historic Georgetown arts community. Open daily 11:30 to 8:00 PM, Sundays until 5:00 PM. Phone: 206.658.0110.