I’ve been somewhat disillusioned by underground comix lately, but when my ebay search alert for “mark beyer” dinged the other week, I bought this:
Lemme Outa Here! is published by Print Mint, and you don’t get more underground than that.
I knew nothing else about this when I bought it (other than it having a Mark Beyer piece), but I finally read it tonight, and I’m flabbergasted.
It’s from 1978, and it’s edited by Diane Noomin. And she was able to get a pretty amazing line-up.
There’s a cute one-pager by Robert Armstrong.
An intricate autobio thing from Bill Griffith, that I happened to have read previously in An Anthology of Graphic Fiction etc edited by Ivan Brunetti, just a few days ago.
Robert Crumb, doing one of his rarer childhood remembrances.
Kim Deitch, with a six page thing about a lecture on “classic” American TV.
A somewhat incoherent remembrance of shame and chaos by Justin Green.
A back cover by M. K. Brown.
Diane Noomin does a super-dense story about Didi Glitz’ childhood. The artwork is as intricate as the story.
And Mark Beyer, who, of course, doesn’t quite fit with the rest of the gang (all the rest are veterans and Beyer was, I think, unpublished at this time (except for some self-published comics)), and delivers a page that’s both typically him and quite different.
It’s all rather spiffy, isn’t it? But then there’s this, that pushes it over into “whoa” territory:
Aline Kominsky does a nine page story that’s almost as dense as Noomin’s, that deals with her experiences at camp, intercut with later scenes that deal with her father’s reaction to her (sort of) boyfriend.
This anthology is so amazing: Not only has Noomin managed to get all these super-stars to contribute, but she’s apparently persuaded them to deliver their A-games. There’s not a single unsatisfactory page in this 32-page book.
Unfortunately, Noomin didn’t edit any further anthologies until Twisted Sisters in the 90s (which is also rather fine). I’m not sure this book (which I’ve never heard of before) has convinced me that there really is a bunch of undiscovered underground gems to be unearthed, but it does leave me a bit more hopeful.