"Zap, Crash and Burn"
Cartoon Art Museum, 655 Mission (at New Montgomery), S.F.
Opens Saturday, July 27, and continues through Sept. 29 at the Admission is free-$5; call 227-8666 or visit w ww.cartoonart.org. "Fantastic! The Art of Comics and Illusion" also opens Saturday (through Oct. 13) at the Yerba Buena Center for the Arts, 701 Mission (at Third Street), S.F. Admission is free-$6; call 978-2787 or visit www.yerbabuenaarts.org.
Terminally politically incorrect, they produced work that was defiantly outside the mainstream and adult in nature. (The "x" in "Comix" was for X-rated.) The Big Daddy of them all was the much-emulated Robert Crumb, whose Zap Comics is credited with launching the underground. The Zap anthologies assembled a loose confederation of fellow provocateurs, including Gilbert Shelton, S. Clay Wilson, and Spain Rodriguez, among others.
Trina Robbins, dubbed the "Queen of the Underground," founded the all-female anthology Wimmen's Comix, a platform for addressing sexual politics of the underground. Robbins' work is also part of "Fantastic! The Art of Comics and Illusion," a series of exhibitions at the Yerba Buena Center for the Arts. Many artists have supplied six- to eight-page pieces that tell complete stories. Books, animation, and multimedia installations are also on display. Among the high-profile talents: Lynda Barry, Mary Fleener, Art Spiegelman, and Dan Clowes. To top it off, Chris Ware has designed a new work for YBCA that has been enlarged into a 30-foot mural.