When Did Moscosos Comic Books Begin?
With our theme on psychedelic artistes, it is noteworthy that Victor Moscoso’s (famous rock posters artist) streetwise upbringing in Brooklyn gave him a no-nonsense type of approach to art and art projects. He takes a very practical view of commissioned assignments and personal projects. Lucky for us! I believe this led to many projects and encompassed a wide range of work he may have not discovered. This may include (but not limited to) his work and leadership at Zap Comix and other Moscosos comic books.
This image to the left is the very first Zap Comix Book. Launch date was March 1968 and the brain child of legendary underground comics artist Robert Crumb (R.Crumb). Crumb would recruit other artists S. Clay Wilson, Robert Williams, “Spain” Rodriguez, Gilbert Shelton, Victor Moscoso and Rick Griffin to collaborate with him. The latter two with reputations as psychedelic poster designers, in their own right. They would all come on board as the new roster of artists for Zap Comix.
Moscoso and Griffin worked well as partners on many poster designs and projects. Griffin had actually made his bones doing a surfer comic strip “Murphy” in 1961 and started germinating the idea of doing comics with Moscoso, before Zap was published.
It is claimed that the term “comiX” (with an X) refers to the traditional comic book style of Zap, and its mixture of dirty jokes and story-lines. Moscosos comic books (Zap Comix included), were more of an an illusory / optical type of art. But, “Crumb and Griffin took the taboos straight on” as Moscoso puts it. The comic books were labeled “Fair Warning: For Adult Intellectuals Only”. This was soon to be taken very literally, as this obviously was not a kiddies comic book. So bad, that in some places you could not buy this over the counter. This made the comic even more coveted and wildly popular.
Zap#4 was most infamous as it depicted an R. Crumb story “Joe Blow”. It was about a incestuous All-American nuclear family . Their motto being “the family that lays together stays together”. Numerous “community standards” obscenity busts and court cases were brought against the publisher Print Mint. This was actually was banned in New York from over the counter sales.
According to Moscoso – R. Crumb had been a super fan of he and Rick Griffin and after seeing poster Family Dog #89 an imitation of the Sunday Chronicle pages. After seeing that he went home and created Zap Comix. They were in essence his heros.
That is actually a very interesting time line and important info. All of these guys were so famous, many times you dont know who came first. But, to answer the question to our post – When Did Moscosos Comic Books Begin? I would have to say not in the FIRST issue of Zap Comix. But, as we revealed earlier, obviusly a Moscoso/Griffin poster was the inspiration. It would probably be the second issue moving forward to this day. Moscoso was heavily involved in the comic even in distribution and management. He was instrumental (IMHO) in making Zap Comix the phenomenon that it is.