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average writing
skilled art
historical bonus 4
total score 9
chicago mirror 1 _ chicago mirror 2 _ not available
Chicago Mirror #1
Chicago Mirror #2
Chicago Mirror #3
Chicago Mirror

1967-1968 / Jay Lynch - Mirror Publishing
Six months before there was a Zap Comix, there was the Chicago Mirror, a counterculture magazine which Jay Lynch launched in the autumn of 1967. Lynch was both editor and publisher and describes the magazine as a "satire mag for hippies" except that by 1967 the hippies were so serious about themselves that they seemed "to totally lack a sense of humor."

The series featured Lynch, Skip Williamson, and bits by Gilbert Shelton and even Wallace Wood. The Chicago Mirror printed two issues before Lynch discovered Zap Comix #1. Excited by Crumb's groundbreaking comic book, Lynch wisely folded the Chicago Mirror after its third issue and relaunched it as Bijou Funnies.

With its mixture of counterculture articles and comics, the Chicago Mirror was relatively tame stuff compared to Zap, but the comics it did have were quite underground in nature. With all the literary contributions, the Mirror kind of feels like The Realist, except expressly designed for blue-collar iconoclasts, whether they be artists, poets or hippies.

For Lynch, publishing the Mirror was merely the continuation of a career trajectory that started in the '50s with him always getting mad about stuff, but he grew into a realist (granted, with a wild streak), but then he ended up very sick and literally kind of cracked up—to the point where he needed help before he was a completely wacky package. Ironically, he still ended up like garbage. (yup, that's an inside joke for Lynch fanatics).

In all seriousness, the Chicago Mirror was one of the most important publications to appear in the early years the underground press, and it was conceived and published by one of the most important pioneer in underground comics. Well worth tracking down. Except for the third issue. That one's a bitch.