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excellent writing
art exceptional
historical bonus 2
total score 8
california comics _ california 2 _ california 3
California Comics #1
California Comics #2
California Comics #3
California Comics

1974-1977 / California Comics

California Comics was published by Bob Sidebottom, who owned a legendary, groundbreaking comic book shop in San Jose, California and founded the publishing company California Comics. California Comics had previously produced the (mostly mediocre) Barbarian Comics series and would publish the first two issues of the (mostly pretty good) Barbarian Women series concurrently with the California Comics series.

California Comics was a different type of series in more ways than one, but its foremost notoriety has to be its cover art by Ed Watson. All three issues have terrific covers, which presented me with a dilemma. I have an informal rule for not giving any comic book series more than two of my Top Twenty Underground Covers awards, and California Comics snatched two up in its first two issues. Yet the cover for the third issue is certainly deserving of some type of award for its bold presentation of patriotic graphics!

Besides the great cover art, Ed Watson contributed several "Lovetree" stories to California Comics, which were memorable for their depiction of the wizardly Lovetree and his appreciative love interest. Another thing that set California Comics apart was the ambitious undertaking of Bob Sidebottom and Bill Loudin, who began presenting their comprehensive underground publishing checklist, titled "Comixography, The Comix Index," in the second issue. Although the checklist never got past the letter F before the series ended, it was the first published attempt to compile detailed information about every underground comic book in existence at the time. It would have taken three or four more issues of California Comics to complete the checklist, and hopefully that would have meant three or four more dreamy covers from Ed Watson and lots more Lovetree stories. But it was never meant to be.

I'm not sure if Sidebottom and Loudin ever finished their checklist, but thankfully Jay Kennedy took up the same project and published The Official Underground and Newave Comix Price Guide in 1982.