Jul 7, 2017

The 40 Years of Comics Project Friday Magazine 15: Best of San Francisco Ball Comics #2, 1974

This weird little mag was tucked in with a huge collection of Heavy Metal, Eerie, Epic, and other magazines that I bought years ago. There were a number of underground comix and adult publications in with that collection, of which today's magazine is one.

It's not the greatest, nor the most intelligent, of publications. There's some very troubling references to rape in some of the comics, though what's unclear from the context of the collection is how much irony and critique is being leveled through these comics.

Today's magazine is a collection of comics from an underground newspaper from the late 60s and early 70s called San Francisco Ball. An ad on the inside front cover of today's magazine calls Ball "The world's funkiest underground sex paper." So it was definitely connected to the underground, and to the Summer of Love by virtue of both location and time period. If this is the case, I would have expected the jokes in their comics to skew a little more toward liberal views, rather than the strangely masculine conservatism that creeps into a few of the comics. Again, in context with the content of the newspaper, maybe it was understood that all of these off-colour (pun intended) jokes and offensive sexual references are meant to be taken with a king-size dose of irony. But read simply as comics in this collection, they come across as cruel and patriarchal in a lot of ways. Not all of them, mind you, and some of the comics, especially the parodies of popular strips, are quite amusing.

I've been unable to find too much info on the parent newspaper of this collection, unfortunately. It seems like it would be amusing to have a browse through.


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