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solid writing
exceptional art
historical bonus 2
total score 8

Only Printing / 1973 / 36 Pages / Austintatious

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Austintatious is a terrific one-shot underground comic with a prototypical underground history. The bulk of the comic was written and drawn in Austin by native Texans Rick Turner and Kerry Fitzgerald and a few of their buddies. In the summer of '72, Turner and Fitzgerald packed up the original artwork for the comic book and hit the road with another friend, Tom Bauman, heading to San Francisco to see if legendary underground publisher Rip Off Press would print their comic. The working title of the book at that time was Neighborhead Comix.

Rip Off's ownership was comprised of four Texas college buddies and they had printed fellow Texan Jim Franklin's Armadillo Comics, so it didn't seem out of the question that they'd be interested in Neighborhead Comix. When Turner, Fitzgerald and Bauman showed up at the Rip Off shop, only three of the owners were there. They looked over the young Texans' artwork and decided to pass on the book, but instead of giving them the bad news, they sent the boys to Jack Jackson's house so HE could turn them down.

Of course, Jaxon himself came to San Francisco from Austin in 1966 and became art director of the dance poster division of Family Dog. In 1969, he co-founded Rip Off Press with Gilbert Shelton, Fred Todd and Dave Moriaty. So the well-traveled Turner, Fitzgerald and Bauman ambled over to Jaxon's "cool San Francisco apartment" and met Jaxon and his "beautiful girlfriend." Jaxon took the boys up to the roof of his apartment building, where they all sat around and talked about good ol' Austin. It's not hard to paint the picture of a trio of young, grimy Texas hippies kicking back on the roof of a San Francisco apartment, rapping with the long-haired, mustachioed Jackson, who was in his early 30s at the time. Surely there were certain libations and indulgements passed around the circle that afternoon.

Jaxon told the boys to take the artwork for Neighborhead Comix back to Austin and publish the comic book there, assuring them that Austin was quite "a happening place." As Fitzgerald recalls, Jaxon "didn't reject our comic as much as encourage us to do it ourselves and do it in Austin. When he was really turning us down, he was at the same time building us up. We came back to Austin and printed that comic and changed its name to Austintatious."

It wasn't long before Jaxon moved back to Austin, too, and Fitzgerald and his pals saw him around town, often hanging out at the old Soap Creek Saloon, a rundown shack of a bar at the end of a rutted dirt trail. As always, Jaxon remained friendly and served as mentor and supporter to all the artists in the community. Austintatious is a fine underground comic, but I'm sure its creators remember the good times even more than the good comic.

It is not currently known how many copies of this comic book were printed. It was not reprinted. Some details based on Kerry Fitzgerald's article for The Austin Chronicle.
Rick Turner - 3-5, 8-9 (story), 12-15 (collaboration), 18-19 (collaboration)
Kerry Fitzgerald - 8-9 (art) 12-15 (collaboration), 16-17, 18-19 (collaboration), 20, 22-23, 25-29
Jim Franklin - 11, 21, 30
Murfkin - 12-15 (collaboration), 24
Clark Bradley - 18-19 (collaboration)
Micael Priest 18-19 (collaboration)