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Christian

RIP Spain Rodriguez

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I just found out that underground comix creator Spain Rodriguez died, at the age of 72, on November 28th.

He was most famous for his comic strip, Trashman.

He recently had a collection of comics released called Cruisin' with the Hound, about his experiences in the alternative 1950s America.

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I just found out that underground comix creator Spain Rodriguez died, at the age of 72, on November 28th.

He was most famous for his comic strip, Trashman.

He recently had a collection of comics released called Cruisin' with the Hound, about his experiences in the alternative 1950s America.

I was startled for this. Then I realised you are talking about a guy I have never heard of, which coincidentally has the same name as my forum persona.

It reminds me a bit of some El Jueves style. I guess it's the style of underground comics, never leave a bit of paper empty.

 

Spain1.jpg

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Yeah. You're not dead. Don't worry.

I guess a lot of people have, apparently, never heard of him. (Or, maybe they just don't care very much?)

I liked his work, and he's one of the more famous names from the oriignal underground scene (or so I thought anyway). He might not be at the level of a R. Crumb, certainly.

 

Yeo, very busy art, So much going on.

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Oh wow.

 

I grew up as a teenager to U.S. underground comics, which started to be published in a big way in the 1970s, so I saw these as they came out. I hadn't heard of either of the titles Christian mentioned in his original post, but Spain also did many multiple page one-offs. One I read was about Josef Stalin, one about what happened with a motorcyclist club called the Road Vultures at a biker event, and there were a bunch more.

 

It's funny. You read some things as a young person, especially something that's part of a cultural movement, and they were good enough that you remember them decades later. And that time period cements itself into a part of your mind as current, though of course it isn't.

 

You get to be a lot older. And then you find out the amazing artist or writer who created whatever it was that stuck in your mind so strongly has died.

 

You know that they must have been older than you if you read their work when you were a kid, and then you also consider that creators within that particular cultural movement had a great likelihood of being hard partiers and drug users. So their deaths coming at this later point in your life can't really be a surprise. But still, they can hit you hard anyway. :sad:

 

Though I haven't seen everything he's drawn or read everything he's written, I feel safe in recommending any of his work.

 

And I've just reserved for myself a copy of Trashman lives! : the collected stories from 1968 to 1985 / by Spain at the library.

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The Trashman stuff is done in a much cruder style than his later stuff. I think a lot of the underground artists in the '60s looked down their nose at Spain a bit as he wasn't really into faddish lifestyle flourishes, and wrote very much from a working class Marxist perspective, rather than from a posturing middle class bohemian perspective. You don't get the impression from Trashman that he was at all impressed by some elements of the underground lifestyle himself, either.

Apart from Trashman, the other thing of his I really enjoyed was his comics adaption of Gresham's Nightmare Alley, which is magnificent.

 

(dogpoet, not BHG)

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