Best Comic Book

GodRon Turner, Last Gasp Comics

It's ok to be a pervert. To be a deviant means to depart from the norm, to challenge — and, maybe, to defeat — soul-stultifying convention. Here, we still value freaks and cherish stewards of the freak kingdom. Could you imagine the lame sameness of a world without the art and apostasy of R. Crumb, Bill Griffith, and the other out-crowd artists and minds put on the page and made immortal by San Francisco comic book publishing house Last Gasp — and could you imagine Last Gasp without Ron Turner? A self-styled “critic” whose in-person presence — often marked by a long white beard and topped with a red Fez, possibly stolen from a Shriner's gathering before he was removed for rank insubordination — Turner has kept an underground comic book publishing empire alive for five decades (all while sneaking in visits to John's Grill or the O'Farrell Theatre). Occupying the top floor of a block-sized warehouse space in the Mission District — available to visit for the occasional event; worth whatever the price of admission for a glimpse at Turner's collection of World War II memorabilia, the occasional medical oddity, and a 19th-century Steinway with wonderful sound — Last Gasp's vitality lies in its never-ending acceptance of the unacceptable. It would not exist with Turner, and San Francisco would be worse off and blander for it.

Related Stories