ABOUT THE BUTTONS:
1. Sergio Aragones is most famous
for his longtime "marginal" and other contributions
to MAD and his award-winning Groo comic book series.
Aragones, a native of Mexico, is one of the most popular cartoonists
in the world. Dominant winner in the annual Harvey and Eisner
awards' Humor category.
2. Bob Armstrong. In underground
comix circles, Armstrong is best known for his Mickey Rat
series and smart contributions to Snarf, Comix
Book and Arcade. Also a versatile and accomplished
musician, Armstrong was a member of R. Crumb's Keep-On-Truckin'
Orchestra and the Cheap Suit Serenaders. His uncredited haunting
musical saw solo can be heard at the beginning and end of the
film One Flew Over the Cuckoo Nest. But Armstrong's most
famous creation came after this button set and has nothing to
do with either comix or music: he invented and trademarked the
now ubiquitous TV watching phrase "Couch Potato." This
multi-faceted career may help explain his cubist self-portrait.
3. Carl Barks (1900-1999) had an
extremely long and distinguished career but he will always be
best known for his beloved Uncle $crooge comic books,
which have entertained several generations internationally. Note
that Barks' self-portrait, drawn three-quarters through his long
life, depicts himself wearing Donald Duck's sailor cap and shirt
top. Barks was also not too vain to include his hearing aid.
4. C.C. Beck. Most famous as the
primary artist on the enormously popular original Captain
Marvel comic books in the 1940s. Later in his career he created
the brief Fat Man, the Human Flying Saucer comics, and
later yet became known as a self-described industry curmudgeon.
5. Joel Beck. Beck, who died in
2000, is credited by some as being the very first underground
cartoonist. His Marching Marvin, Lenny of Laredo and
The Profit (the title parodies Kahil Gibran's The Prophet)
in the mid and late '60s, were certainly among the very first.
He also contributed to Bizarre Sex, Snarf, Dope
Comix, Comix Book, Banzai! and many other undergrounds
before his untimely death.
6. Fershid Bharucha. A native of
India, Bharucha became a French citizen and there established
himself as a comic artist, editor and publisher. For years he
introduced top American artists to Europeans with his USA
Special magazine. He published handsome hardcover French
albums featuring Will Eisner, Mark Schultz, Rand Holmes, Shary
Flenniken, Bernie Wrightson and many others. His own art appeared
in early issues of the American underground comic Bizarre
7. Tim Boxell. As his mutilated
self-portrait suggests, Boxell was known for gory and grotesque
imagery, An early midwest underground cartoonist, Boxell contributed
frequently to the horror anthology Death Rattle
as well as Bizarre Sex and Snarf.
He named and edited and contributed to the anthology Commies
From Mars. Boxell left underground comix and the midwest
to become an animator in San Francisco.
8. Sol Brodsky. A journeyman artist
who created numerous stories and covers for the Atlas line in
the 1950's, Brodsky is perhaps best-known for creating the earliest
Big Boy Comics. He was Stan Lee's production manager at
Marvel Comics when he drew this self-portrait.
9. Leslie Cabarga. Cabarga's varied
art career has taken him from underground comix (Comix
Book, Snarf, Dope Comix) to record albums
and magazine illustration. He has also created and marketed many
distinctive type fonts. But he is probably best known as being
the contemporary interpreter of Betty Boop. Cabarga has
produced the definitive images for several Betty Boop signs,
the Paper Moon greeting cards, and numerous other Boop products.
He also authored and designed The Fleischer Story, a history
of the studio that created the classic 30s and 40s Betty Boop,
Popeye and Superman animated cartoons, Cabarga has
authored numerous other books on vintage letterheads, typography,
and classic design. His father was Will Eisner's art director
during Eisner's publishing career.
10. Al Capp. Arguably the most famous
and certainly the most visible cartoonist of all time, Capp's
Li'l Abner strip(1934-1977) reached an audience
of 80 million readers daily. His introduction of the popular
Shmoo into Abner created a merchandising phenomenon
in the late '40s and early '50s. The eventual marriage of Li'l
Abner and Daisy Mae in 1952 made headlines and the
cover of Life magazine. Capp himself was a cover feature
in both Time and Newsweek. Besides his hugely successful
comic strip Capp twice had his own network TV show, his own syndicated
radio program and a newspaper column. The entertaining and acerbic
satirist was a frequent guest on Johnny Carson's Tonite Show
and other talk shows, a rarity for cartoonists. Li'l Abner
was adapted into a long-running Broadway musical and two films
(1940, 1959). Fearless Fosdick, The Kigmy. Lower
Slobbovia and the still-celebrated Sadie Hawkins Day
are among his other lasting creations. Though his deep laugh
was a trademark, this scowling self-portrait typifies the curmudgeonly
and controversial persona of his late career.
11. Dan Clyne. Though his pointed
ears suggest a character from Star Trek, this Chicago
underground cartoonist was mainly known for his character Hungry
Chuck Biscuits, a rather grotesque teenager who suffered
from worms and other disorders. After his one-shot title plus
appearances in Snappy Sammy Smoot and Teen-Age Horizons
of Shangri-La, his character was well-enough known to
be parodied as "Hungry Melvin Biscuits" in color in
Bijou #8. Clyne's brief career in undergrounds ended and
he began a successful and much longer career as a commercial
12. Richard Corben. This early underground
cartoonist is famous for the buxom, heavily muscled and often
unclothed characters that inhabit his lush science fiction landscapes.
Corben's creations include Den, Fever Dreams and
Jeremy Brood. He also contributed to Slow Death, Bizarre
Sex, Snarf and other undergrounds. A frequent
contributor to Heavy Metal and Warren magazines, Corben
was one of the artists adapted in the animated first Heavy
13. Robert Crumb. The most famous
underground cartoonist has evolved into an international art
figure. Crumb's Zap triggered the underground comix
explosion in 1967. Mr. Natural, Home Grown,
Snoid, Weirdo, Hup, and Devil
Girl followed. Terry Zwigoff's documentary film, Crumb,
made most critics' top ten lists in 1995 and cemented the artist's
fame. The definitive R. Crumb Coffee Table Art Book
followed in 1997. This 1975 self-portrait button has a white
background. An otherwise-identical alternative version with a
green background (created as part of the series in 1975) is also
available. A number of other Crumb buttons are available
from Steve Krupp's Curio Shoppe.
14. Howard Cruse. A frequent contributor
to the underground anthologies Snarf, Comix Book,
Bizarre Sex and Dope Comix, Cruse also
created two solo issues of Barefootz. The first openly
gay cartoonist, Cruse edited and contributed to Gay Comix
during its early years. His syndicated Wendel strip
has been collected in comics and book formats. His
magnum opus, Stuck Rubber Baby, was published by a division
of DC Comics to critical acclaim.
15. Kim Deitch. A pioneer underground
cartoonist, Deitch cut his teeth on the NYC comix tabloid Gothic
Blimp Works and he contributed to such early titles as Thrilling
Murder, Corn Fed and Banzai. His work is in the anthologies
Arcade, Comix Book and Zero Zero. Kim's brother
Simon is also a cartoonist and his father Gene was the animator
who created the '50s classic Gerald McBoing Boing.
16. Will Elder. One of the true
funny men of comics, Will Elder was a principle contributor to
the original MAD and other classic E.C. humor and adventure
titles. He left MAD with his longtime friend and
collaborator Harvey Kurtzman to work on Humbug,
Trump and Help! In the latter magazine he drew
"Goodman Beaver" which evolved, strangely enough,
into "Little Annie Fanny." For over twenty-five
years, he and Kurtzman produced the erotic and lavish satire
strip for Playboy.
17. Will Eisner. A true pioneer,
Will Eisner was present at the birth of the comic book industry
in the mid '30s, where he created Hawks of the Seas; Sheena,
Queen of the Jungle and Blackhawk at Eisner &
Iger and Quality Comics If Eisner had just created the innovative
newspaper insert The Spirit (1940-1952) he would have
secured a place in comics history. But he also pioneered the
use of educational comics with his P*S magazine for the
U.S. Army during World War II and continued overseeing it, and
other educational comics, for many years. And in 1978 his ground
breaking graphic novel, A Contract with God, triggered
a new revolution in comics storytelling and format. Eisner created
an additional fifteen acclaimed graphic novels for Kitchen Sink
Press, DC Comics and Dark Horse. He continues to create new work
as an extremely active octogenarian. One of the industry's two
most prestigious awards is named after him.
18. Vincent Fago created the 1950s
character, "The Checkered Pup," drew "Peter Rabbit"
(inherited from Harrison Cady) and other funny animal comics
and strips. Briefly had his own Fago publishing imprint in the
19. Kelly Freas. An accomplished
and prolific science fiction illustrator, Kelly Freas is perhaps
best known for his distinctive Alfred E. Neuman MAD
covers and MAD advertising parodies.
20. Evert Geradts. A top Dutch underground
cartoonist (in a country disproportionately full of cartoonists),
he contributed to and (with then-wife Leny) edited Tante Leny
Presents, an important publication in the development of
European undergrounds. Geradts also frequently contributed to
American comix anthologies such as Dutch Treat, Snarf, Bizarre
Sex and Dope Comix. He has since moved to France,
where he now draws mainstream comics.
21. Justin Green. Green's painfully
autobiographic comic, Binky Brown Meets the Holy Virgin Mary,
became a cult classic and had a deep influence on the field.
He has long been a cartoonist admired by other cartoonists
but unable to earn a living completely from comics. Consequently
much of his career has been spent as a sign painter (which led
to an ongoing comic strip about sign painting). He contributed
to Arcade, Shangri-La, Snarf, Comix Book, Yellow
Dog, Dope Comix, Young Lust and other undergrounds.
He is clearly a sensitive artiste: note the tear in his eye!
We also have Green's '70s "Smoking Causes Cancer!"
22. Bill Griffith. He broke into
underground comix with Mr. Toad but "Griffy"
found his calling with that master of non sequiturs, Zippy
the Pinhead. Both characters pose beside the artist on this
1975 button. "Zippy" now appears as a daily strip in
newspapers across the country. Griffith also co-founded the anthologies
Arcade and Young Lust. Griffith's wife Diane Noomin
is also a cartoonist (Didi Glitz and Twisted Sisters).
23. Hugh Hefner is certainly best
known as the founder and editor of Playboy and bon
vivant, but Hugh Hefner began his career as a cartoonist
and couldn't resist the urge to contribute to this button series.
Next to women, Hefner likes cartoons best, which explains why
"Little Annie Fanny" (Kurtzman & Elder)
and other top cartoonists have regularly appeared in his magazine.
24. Fred Julsing. A top Belgian
25. Jay Kinny. Kinney created the
early fanzine Nope which connected him to fellow underground
cartoonists Jay Lynch and Skip Williamson and an appearance in
the first Bijou Funnies. He later created or co-created
such undergrounds as Young Lust, Anarchy and Cover-Up Lowdown.
Kinney left the comic book field and founded the spiritual magazine
Gnosis, which may explain why his head is in the clouds
in this prescient self-portrait.
26. Denis Kitchen. Though probably
best-known as the founder and publisher of Krupp Comic Works
and Kitchen Sink Press (1969-1999), Kitchen began as a
cartoonist (Mom's Homemade Comics, The Bugle)
before various businesses pulled him from the drawing board.
He found time to edit and contribute to such anthologies as Snarf,
Bizarre Sex, Dope Comix and Comix Book
as well as contribute to publications as diverse as Playboy,
Arcade and The Badger. He also created the character
Steve Krupp (though Krupp makes a contradictory claim). Kitchen's
newest work, in Dark Horse's Maverick 2001 Anthology,
features Steve Krupp in a guest appearance as God.
27. Aline Kominsky (a.k.a. Kominsky-Crumb)
created the autobiographical solo comix Power Pak 1-2
for Kitchen Sink. She co-created Dirty Laundry 1-2
for Last Gasp with husband R. Crumb. She contributed to
and edited Weirdo toward the end of its lengthy run and
has contributed to numerous comix anthologies, including Twisted
28. Harvey Kurtzman is one of the
seminal figures in comics history. He created and contributed
heavily to the revolutionary Mad, then left that very
successful comic and magazine to produce the slicker but short-lived
Trump for Hugh Hefner. Eleven issues of the low-rent
but memorable Humbug followed in 1958, followed
by Help! a magazine he created for publisher Jim
Warren. For the latter magazine alone Kurtzman discovered such
diverse talents as Gloria Steinem, Terry Gilliam, Jay Lynch,
Skip Williamson, Gilbert Shelton and Robert Crumb. "Goodman
Beaver," the leading feature in Help!, evolved
into the cross-gender "Little Annie Fanny." From 1962-88
Kurtzman focused on the lavish and sexy satire strip for Playboy
(with Will Elder). One of the industry's two most prestigious
awards, the Harvey, is named for Kurtzman. This self-portrait
shows him with a class at NYC's School of Visual Arts, where
he taught for several years. A new Kurtzman book, The Grasshopper
and The Ant, was published in 2001.
29. Peter Loft contributed memorable
stories and strips to Snarf, Bizarre Sex, Smile,
Consumer Comix, Comix Book, Bizarre Sex
and other underground comix, as well as covers and strips for
the midwest underground newspaper, The Bugle. Frogs were
a frequent component in his strips and covers, and are reflected
in his whimsical self-portrait. With charming characters such
as Vincent the Teabag and Flooty the Turtle, Loft would no doubt
have had a very successful career as a cartoonist but before
peaking he moved to Europe and changed careers, becoming involved
in the computer industry.
30. Jay Lynch began his professional
career with contributions to Harvey Kurtzman's Help! Lynch
co-founded, edited and contributed to Bijou Funnies, one
of the earliest underground comix. His most famous characters,
"Nard n' Pat" appeared in two solo comix, Bijou
and assorted anthologies. Pat [the Cat] can be seen coming
out of Lynch's nose in this self-portrait. Lynch wrote the long-running
Phoebe & the Pigeon People strip (illustrated by Gary
Whitney), collected into three comic books. Lynch is largely
responsible for Topp's hugely successful "Wacky Packs"
as well as uncredited work on "Bazooka Joe" comics
and many other examples of pop culture effluvia.
31. Jim Mitchell created "Smile,"
a cute and upbeat strip in the otherwise largely cynical and
dark world of underground comix. His strips (and covers) appeared
in The Bugle, three issues of Smile
and other comix. Mitchell's promising comics career was cut short
by a lengthy prison term in a Mexican jail, reflected in this
sorrowful self-portrait done as a mug shot. Two of the his "Smile"
characters peek over his shoulder with uncommon frowns.
32. Willy Murphy. One of the funniest
of the underground cartoonists, Murphy's strips appeared in
Arcade, Comix Book and solo issues of Flamed-Out Funnies.
His promising career was cut short by a sudden and untimely death.
33. Grim Natwick was a pioneer animator
who created the immortal "Betty Boop" for Max
Fleisher's studio. Thus Betty is perching on Grim's shoulder.
Natwick was responsible for animating the central figure Snow
White in Disney's epic Snow White and the Seven Dwarves.
Natwick continued to work well into his late 80s.
34. Peter Poplaski. Perhaps the
most versatile artist in the field, Poplaski's own style can
be seen in Quagmire, The Bugle, Death Rattle
and Corporate Crime to Consumer Comics.
But his chameleon talent has given him a reputation as the best
mimic in the business. He has convincingly ghosted talents as
diverse as Al Capp, Joe Shuster, Harvey Kurtzman, Dick Sprang,
Bob Kane, Keiji Nakazawa and C.C. Beck in covers for Li'l
Abner, Superman: The Sunday Classics; Superman: The Dailies;
The Spirit Jam; Batman: The Sunday Classics; Batman: The Dailies;
Gen of Hiroshima and a recent story for Tom Strong.
He made a guest appearance as Zorro in R. Crumb's Hup. Kitchen
Sink Press' longtime art director, Poplaski has edited and designed
publications ranging from Steve Canyon to The
R. Crumb Coffee Table Art Book. Poplaski is also a fine
art painter in the classic tradition, which is why his self-portrait
sports a hat (and cigar) in the style of the Dutch masters.
35. John Pound appeared regularly
in undergrounds, doing covers and stories for Snarf, Bizarre
Sex,, Dope Comix, Death Rattle, Comix Book
and others. His most visible creation is no doubt Topps' "Garbage
Pail Kids" cards, a savage parody of the once ubiquitous
Cabbage Patch Kids.
36. Ted Richards created such characters
and underground comic books as E.Z. Wolf, The Forty-Year-Old
Hippie and Dopin' Dan, mostly for Rip Off Press. He
also contributed to Comix Book and other titles.
37. Trina Robbins was the first
woman to gain notoriety in the male-dominated underground comix
world with It Ain't Me, Babe. She contributed to Gothic
Blimp Works, Yellow Dog, Bizarre Sex, and Comix
Book, and edited and contributed to Wimmens Comix
and Wet Satin. For major companies DC and Marvel, Trina
worked on Wonder Woman and Misty among others.
She wrote three books on comics history: A Century of Women
Cartoonists and The Great Women Superheroes for Kitchen
Sink Press and Girls to Grrls for Chronicle Books.
38. Spain Rodriguez. An early underground
artist best known for the anarchistic Trashman, Spain
has also been a regular contributor to the respected anthologies
Zap and Blab! Early work appeared in Gothic Blimp
Works and Yellow Dog.
39. Sharon Rudahl. One of the earliest
women in the underground comix field, Rudahl's work appeared
in Wimmens Comix, Snarf, Bizarre
Sex, Dope Comix, Wet Satin and Comix Book.
Her single solo comic was Crystal Night.
40. Bill Sanders. Sanders is the
only political cartoonist represented in the Famous Cartoonist
Button Series. Working out of his home base at the Milwaukee
Journal, Sanders' acerbic cartoons were widely syndicated
to other newspapers till his retirement around 1990. In his only
foray into the comic book world, Sanders created politically
oriented pages for the Marvel experiment Comix Book in
41. Ronald Searle. Searle risked
execution during three and a half years at a Japanese death camp
in Burma during World War II by making drawings of his captors
and hiding them under the beds of dying cholera victims. The
British satirist and illustrator is most associated with the
humor magazine Punch but has appeared in The New Yorker
and many other publications. Tom Wolfe calls him a modern day
42. John Severin is best known as
one of the talented core that made E.C. comics justifiably famous.
His sister Marie was also a part of the E.C. team. He is particularly
respected for the authenticity of his western stories. In
later years Severin was a regular contributor to Cracked.
He has recently contributed to DC Comics.
43. Gilbert Shelton started drawing
"Wonder Wart Hog" for his college satire magazine in
Austin TX, but his big break came when Harvey Kurtzman placed
the Hog of Steel in Help! magazine in the early '60s.
Shelton then moved to San Francisco and created the most popular
of all underground comic characters, the "Fabulous Furry
Freak Brothers." Shelton's work has also appeared in Rip
Off Comics, Playboy, and Zap.
44. Barry [Windsor] Smith. A member
of "The Studio" with Bernie Wrightson and Mike Kaluta,
Windsor-Smith initially achieved comics fame adapting "Conan
the Barbarian" for Marvel. He has maintained a foot in the
fine art world but recently returned to comics with ambitious
projects for Dark Horse Comics and Fantagraphics.
45. Art Spiegelman. One of the earliest
underground cartoonists, Spiegelman appeared in East Village
Other, Phucked-Up Funnies, Funny Aminals, Bizarre Sex
and Snarf. He co-founded the magazine Arcade,
then launched the artsy oversize Raw magazine, where
he serialized chapters of his "Maus," the story of
his father's ordeals in Nazi Germany and simultaneously Art's
relationship with his father. The Maus collection from
Pantheon Books won an unprecedented Pulitzer Prize for a graphic
novel and launched Spiegelman into a new literary climate. He
currently contributes regularly to The New Yorker and creates
and edits children's books such as Little Lit and
I Am Not a Dog. Spiegelman's button gag references a famous
line in the Bogart/Ford film, Treasure of the Sierra Madre.
46. John Stanley. Like his contemporary
Carl Barks in the 1950s, John Stanley toiled anonymously on a
classic comic book, Little Lulu, without any credit.
Disney got credit for Uncle $crooge and "Marge"
got credit for Little Lulu, though she created only the
Saturday Evening Post gag panel, not the wonderful comic
book series. And, unlike Barks, Stanley is still largely
forgotten outside the cognoscenti. Stanley is also
responsible for another shorter lived classic, Melvin
Monster. In his self-portrait Stanley looks like he could
be a villain by Chester Gould.
47. Steve Stiles. A prolific and
versatile cartoonist, Stiles contributed to every Kitchen Sink
anthology (Dope Comix, Death Rattle, Snarf,
Bizarre Sex and Comix Book) as well
as Last Gasp's Anarchy Comics and various stints at Marvel
and larger companies. He produced one solo comic, Hyper.
Stiles also illustrated the back-up stories for Mark Schultz's
48. Bil Stout created a variety
of outstanding underground comix covers, such as Weird Trips
#2 (Ed Gein), Bizarre Sex #10, '50s Funnies, Bicentennial
Gross-Outs and Slow Death #10. He is probably best
known for his renderings of prehistoric creatures, including
the book Dinosaurs, and his haunting paintings of Antarctica.
Stout art directs in the film industry and did designs for the
French Disney World. Most of his current work is outside the
world of comics.
49. Mort Walker. One of the most
successful and prolific of contemporary strip artists Walker
created the widely-syndicated "Beetle Bailey" a half
century ago. He is also responsible for "Hi and Lois,"
and "Boner's Ark" and founded the Cartoon Art Museum,
currently in Boca Raton, FL.
50. Skip Williamson got his start
in Harvey Kurtzman's Help! magazine. He co-founded Bijou
Funnies with Jay Lynch. Williamson's "Snappy Sammy Smoot"
was one of the more street smart, trippy and politically charged
of underground comix features. Williamson also worked as an art
director at Playboy, contributing "Neon Vincent"
to the "Playboy Funnies" section.
51. Gahan Wilson is best known for
his generally macabre gag cartoons in Playboy, The New Yorker
and other leading magazines. He also created the feature "Nuts"
for National Lampoon, appeared in Kurtzman's Help!
and has had several book collections.
52. Basil Wolverton began in the
"Golden Age" of comic books doing features like "Powerhouse
Pepper" and "Spacehawk" in the 1940s. His first
headline came in 1948 when cartoonist Al Capp held a contest
in his popular "Li'l Abner" strip, challenging readers
to submit rendering of "Lena the Hyena," the world's
ugliest woman. The highly publicized contest inspired tens of
thousands of submissions. Capp persuaded fellow celebrities Boris
Karloff, Frank Sinatra and Salvador Dali to help him judge the
contest. Basil Wolverton won. He subsequently worked for comic
magazines ranging from Mad to Plop! to Comix
Book. He self-published a pamphlet called Barflyze.
Late in his career he worked on an ambitious and eccentric project
illustrating The Holy Bible.
53. Neal Adams. Adams' energetic
and contemporary style injected new life into DC characters such
as Green Arrow and Batman in the 1970s. He developed a studio
around his distinctive style and became very successful providing
commercial art services utilizing a comic book look. His Continuity
Studio also begat a comic book publishing company, sometimes
called "Neal's Folly," which didn't fare nearly as
well. Adams, when not drawing, is an amateur physicist with controversial
views about the basic elements that make up our universe.
54. Rick Meyerowitz is best known
for his covers (such as Mona Gorilla) and satirical comic strips
for National Lampoon. He is primarily a commercial illustrator
with a love of comics.