MastroNet Summer 2003
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While there were a few self-published comix works in the early 1960's, the true birth of the Underground movement would come a few years later. Initially it was less of a movement than it was a coincidence. It was a time when a number of talented individuals felt the need for self-expression, without the usual confines of their favorite medium. It was also a dangerous time, a time when the average, established American was very nervous about the next generation's rejection of their sacred cows. The dangers took form in different ways. To protestors it was in the form of police reaction. To publishers, it was censorship, sometimes in the courts, but more often in economic ways. No one would distribute the new comix. (Some of the earliest were actually sold on street corners by their creators and their friends.) Few could be found to print them. Some comix creators, like the founders of Rip Off Press, bought antique printing presses to produce their books. Others, such as Zap (the first commercially successful underground), lucked out by finding a printer that was not offended and that was willing to take a chance. Zap actually lucked out twice, for after their first printer closed shop, his business was purchased by a "friend of Zap," a man named Don Donahue. Donahue was one of the few who helped hand-assemble and sell the first issue of Zap, and his involvement with the production of the earliest successful Underground has made him a legend in the eyes of the field's enthusiasts. His Apex Novelties company, while never producing a large volume of titles, has produced some of the best. As a printer and publisher, Donahue always kept a collection of file copies of the books that he published. As a fan, he also kept file copies of other publishers' output, as well, some of which were autographed for him by their creators. Our consignor developed a good relationship with Donahue over the years, and was able to amass an incredible collection of file copy rarities with Donahue's help. Due to personal reasons of the most serious nature, our consignor now has to dismantle this incredible assemblage of Don Donahue file copies, his White Mountain underground comix collection, and his other Underground Comix related rarities. We are pleased to be able to offer them to you.
The book that launched Apex Novelties, the second printing of Zap Comix #1.
It's very appropriate to introduce our presentation of Don Donahue file copies with the second printing of Zap Comix #1, because this is the book that launched the publisher's professional career. The first printing of Zap #1 was done by Charles Plymell, just prior to Donahue's purchase of his printing business. That printing sold out within a few weeks, with Donahue helping Robert and Dana Crumb hawk the copies through various shops and on the street corners of the Haight. Donahue's first Underground printing job was for this book, the second printing, all of which bear his name at the bottom edge of the back cover. It was a nightmare for the novice. He was basically teaching himself the printing business from instruction books. Because of this, the Zap creators for issue #2 decided to let the newly formed Print Mint handle the publication of issue #2. Donahue was distraught, but Crumb rewarded his friendship by letting him do the printing for Snatch Comics #1, and others to follow over the coming years. The real irony is that some time later, Donahue was handling the printing jobs for various Print Mint products, as well, proving that it didn't take him long to get the hang of it. Here it is...the rare second printing of Zap Comix #1, complete with the identifying printer's credit at the bottom of the back cover. This is an assembled, but untrimmed printer's proof copy of the very rare book, taken directly from the printer's personal files. It is Near Mint to Mint in appearance, with creamy page stock.
Untrimmed File Copy of "Zap Comix" #1 (2nd Ed.) From the Files of Don Donahue
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