underground comix at comixjointarchiveswebcomixfeaturesmarketplaceforumsearchmickeyback to title overview go to sample pagesgo to next comicblank sidebarblankbrickblankbrickblankbrick review-ugheaderheaderblankrightheader spacerlink to abclink to d-efbacktosection ghlink to i-jlink to k-llink to mlink to n-o-pq-rstlink to u-v-wlink to x-y-zalpha blank right
grunt 1
excellent writing
masterpiece art
historical bonus 3
total score 10
If you like this comic,
you might also enjoy
douglas comix
Douglas Comix
Grunt #1
Only Printing / 1972 / 12 Pages / Grunt Records
After the rock band Jefferson Airplane founded the music label Grunt Records in 1972, they hired Greg Irons and Tom Veitch to produce an underground comic book to promote their label to unsigned bands around the Bay Area. The first issue of Grunt was published as a free giveaway in early 1972. It was produced in full color, following in the footsteps of the first full-color undergrounds like Light, Color and Bum Wad.

The front cover of Grunt #1 features the primary protagonist of the two issues of the comic, Jumpin' Jack Flesh. Jack introduces himself as the "West Coast representative of Grunt Records" on the inside front cover, and he promises to "lay a little rap on you about our music!" But first he's gotta tell you an important story about the music business, just so ya know the dangers a young band might encounter when they're trying to make their way to superstardom and a fat record contract.

Jack proceeds to recall the brief history of a band called the Ripped Whips, which had some minor success in '68 (as a band known as the "Funky Acid-Glee Blues Band") but struggled to find a record company that believed in them. But then they were approached by a rep from Mumble City Records, who offers them a big cash advance for a contract that will force them to follow whatever marching orders Mumble City gives them. Blinded by the cash advance, the band jumps at the deal, agrees to change their name to the Ripped Whips, and they become big stars; but not for the quality of their music. Mumble City turns them into sado-masochistic monsters on the rock stage, quickly destroying their dreams and their lives in one drug-laden nightmare

At the end of the book, Jack comes back to his "little rap" about Grunt Records, promising that the story of the Ripped Whips would have ended much differently if they had signed with Grunt instead of Mumble City. Grunt offered new bands the chance to control their music, packaging and promotion, with royalty rates equal to anyone else on the label!

Grunt #1 is only 12 pages long (including the covers) and only 7x7 inches big, but it's a compact little gem of a comic book. Tom Veitch provides Greg Irons with a tight, fast-paced script and then Irons, genius that he is, kicks ass through his interpretation. Every page is a consummate demonstration of Irons' brilliance, from his grotesque caricatures to his panel compositions. He even manages color with surprising effectiveness, given his relative lack of experience in full-color comics.

Aficionados of the 1960s in San Francisco will appreciate the panel on page 5 that depicts the band playing at the Fillmore, which exposes the rowdy debauchery seething through a typical weekend crowd. And I imagine that RCA Records (their distributor) was never consulted about the comic book, as Grunt allowed Veitch and Irons to portray self-mutilation, self-immolation, hard drugs and fucking (and that was just one page).

Grunt #1 is a rare, kaleidoscopic bauble of vice, violence and gluttony sponsored by a major member of corporate America (RCA). Their unwitting compliance with Jefferson Airplane was an oversight that would almost never happen in today's tightly regimented corporate propaganda. Mind you, I said "almost never." Smoke 'em if you got 'em.
It is currently unknown how many copies of this comic book were printed. It has not been reprinted.


Greg Irons - 1-12 (art)
Tom Veitch - 1-12 (story)