Just in time for the 50th anniversary of the legendary underground comix horror title, San Francisco-based publisher Last Gasp have announced they will be releasing Slow Death Zero, a trade paperback collection of stories featuring an amazing array of comic book creators including Richard Corben, Hunt Emerson, William Stout, Bryan Talbot, Rick Veitch and more.
Founded in 1970 by Ron Turner, Last Gasp is one of the largest and oldest publishers and purveyors of underground books and comics in the world.
Their first publication, Slow Death Funnies #1, was released on the first Earth Day, 15th April, 1970, an underground comix anthology, conceived as an ecologically themed comics magazine. Subsequent comics included the all-women’s comic It Ain’t Me Babe and Skull Comics.
Turner’s enthusiasm for underground comics – in particular their autobiographical aspect has been the driving force behind many groundbreaking publications. Last Gasp published Justin Green’s highly acclaimed confessional Binky Brown Meets the Holy Virgin Mary in 1972, a book that became an inspiration to many artists now working in the autobiographical style.
“Art Spiegelman, who won the only Pulitzer Prize for cartooning, has said he would never have started to do the autobiographical story of his family (in the graphic novel Maus) unless Justin had done it first. And Robert Crumb said the same thing,” says Turner.
Over the years they have published, and in some cases brought to light, some of the most respected and talented artists working today, including Robert Crumb, Justin Green, Bill Griffith, Mark Ryden, Aline Kominsky-Crumb, Frank Kozik, Todd Schorr, Winston Smith, Spain, Robert Williams, and countless others.
Today, they publish 12-20 new titles per year, focusing on ‘lowbrow’ and ‘pop surrealist’ artists, as well as graphic novels and pop culture titles, and distribute all sorts of weird ‘n’ wonderful subversive literature, graphic novels, tattoo, and art books, supplying them to bookstores and art galleries on six continents.
Among the contributors are old school Slow Death alumni William Stout (who contributes the lead story and cover art), Bryan Talbot, Tim Boxell, and ol’ Gore himself, Richard Corben. Plus Rick Veitch, Hunt Emerson, Peter Bagge, Drew Friedman, Savage Pencil, Rick Altergott, Carel Moisewitch, Bob Fingerman, Danny Hellman, Mike Diana, and many more – all share tales about the unfolding climate change cataclysm that’s ruining our planet.
Running to 128 pages, edited by Jon B. Cooke and Ron Turner, price to be determined, Slow Death Zero will be available this summer.
With thanks to Bryan Talbot and James Robertson