FF1990: Amazons

Amazons by Frank Stack.

Frank Stack is a first-generation underground artist: His first underground comic was published in 1962 (The Adventures of Jesus), but he hasn’t published that many books. Amazons is one of his rare 80s/90s solo floppies, and I don’t know whether it’s an original work, or whether it’s a collection of pieces serialised in an anthology somewhere.

Stack writes a three-page introduction where he explain his interest in the Amazon myth (or history, depending on who you ask).

The Greek soldiers sound more realistic here than in any other depiction I’ve seen.

Lots of action.

Stack’s artwork is clearly identifiable as being underground, and his cross-hatching technique is a wonder to behold. He uses all these different line weights, from solid to extremely thick, in varying densities, all parallel on the same object, but changing direction from object to object. Some people who shade with hatching to this extent often end up with grey-looking pages with little variation in intensity, but Stack’s pages are very, very readable.

He’s not that serious about all the fighting, though, and the soldiers often veer off onto semantic tangents.

As an introduction to the final chapter, we see the artist himself (probably) being challenged by a friend as to whether Amazons existed or not. I love that drawing of the artist.

Stack has continued to publish books sporadically after Amazons. His most famous one is probably Our Cancer Year, written by Harvey Pekar and Joyce Brabner. Fantagraphics finally published a collection of various Stack works (many published under the name Foolbert Sturgeon) as Foolbert Funnies: Histories and Other Fictions last year.

Hm… Have I forgotten to buy that? I can’t recall… Oh, it’s over there in the ever-growing “to be read” pile. When I’ve finished this blog series, I should be able to make a dent in it, I hope…

This post is part of the Fantagraphics Floppies series.

4 thoughts on “FF1990: Amazons”

  1. Hi- Yes, this Amazons comic was originally published in several issues of “Rip Off Comix” by the Rip Off Press. If you haven’t read it already, you might enjoy the artist’s “Amazon Comics” published by the same publisher in the early 70s featuring similar characters. Unfortunately, I don’t think its been reprinted.

    Enjoying your blog. Your collection is similar to mine. And no, even I don’t have “Villa of the Mysteries #3.” I wouldn’t be surprised if the print run was lower than 2000 for that one.

    1. I’ve got some issues of Rip Off Comix, but far from all of them. It seems like the 70s underground comix scene is ripe for somebody stepping in an trying to do a more concerted reprint effort. There have been several handsome reprint volumes the past few years (Denis Kitchen, Aline Kominsky, Rand Holmes), but there’s so much more interesting stuff that hasn’t been touched yet. I think.

  2. Most definetly. There’s a whole bunch of artists who haven’t been reprinted in any significant way. The one most in need of collection in my opinion is the work of Jim Franklin. Check out his “Armadillo Comics” in case you haven’t already. Though judging by your collection I’m sure you already have. 😉

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