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excellent writing
exceptional art
historical bonus 3
total score 9
Motor City Comics #2
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2nd Printing / 1970 / 28 pages / Rip Off Press
First Printing February, 1970
Motor City Comics #2 continues the adventures of feminist radical Lenore Goldberg in the epic opening story. In this 16-page final chapter, a federal investigative agency has begun tracking the activities of Goldberg, who now has an arrest record for inciting riots, possession of drugs and firearms, and assaulting an officer, among other things. The agency infiltrates the "women's liberation front" with a female informant, who exhorts the group to take criminal action at their next protest, but Goldberg, who has learned a few lessons from past mistakes, tempers the idea of violence.

Instead, the group assails a televised beauty pageant and Goldberg takes command of the stage to begin a speech about the exploitation of women, but the riot squad (tipped by the informant) is lying in wait for them. When the cops bust onto the stage, the informant agitates the crowd and a free-for-all breaks out. While trying to escape, Goldberg's dress is torn off by a cop, but she manages to evade his clutches and outraces the police by running naked through the streets and a grocery store. Despite winning her freedom, the threat of being arrested on sight ends Goldberg's role as the leader of the girl commandos. Accompanied by her lover and a friend, Goldberg departs for the Canadian wilderness to get a fresh start with a small community of hippies.

A year later, one of Goldberg's girl commandos tracks her down in Canada, where Goldberg has settled into a new life as the mother of a new-born boy. It appears she's abandoned her radical politics and accepted a maternal role in a semi-traditional family because, as Goldberg says, "Well, y'know...life goes on an' things change."

While many hailed Crumb's Goldberg character as a feminist role model, others criticized him for what they felt were compromises of Goldberg's integrity, as if enjoying sex and having a baby precluded her from being a feminist leader. In my opinion, these criticisms have not aged well in the past 40 years, but the social observations contained within the tales of Lenore Goldberg and her girl commandos have held up admirably.

The second issue of Motor City Comics features a few other comics beyond Lenore Goldberg, notably "The Simp and the Gimp," but some of them may rank with Crumb's weakest efforts, particularly in the scripting. However, with the Goldberg story running 16 pages instead the first issue's nine-pager, overall the second issue of Motor City is a bit better than the first.

It is ironic that the comic featuring one of Crumb's most fully-developed and progressive female characters also features "The Simp and the Gimp," which delivers a noxious example of Crumb treating women as little more than sex objects and servants to asshole men. The main female character's face is forcefully distorted into a vagina-shaped crevice by one man and then her face is raped by another. She later serves as a plow horse for the two men on a hippie farm. Perhaps Crumb was feeling guilty about presenting such a feminist comic as Lenore Goldberg and decided to balance the scales with this tale of degradation.
There are six known printings of this comic book, the first five by Rip Off Press and the last by Last Gasp. It is currently unknown how many copies of this comic book were printed for any of the printings. The first four printings all have 50-cent covers.
The 1st printing has a Rip Off Press logo designed by Dave Sheridan in which the letters of the logo do not curve with the shape of the surrounding circle. The 2nd printing has a Rip Off Press logo sticker that covers a black-ink circle that overprints Sheridan's logo. The logo sticker (designed by Robert Crumb) features lettering that curves with the shape of the surrounding circle. The sticker sometimes fell off the book due to poor adhesive, as shown in the image above.
The 3rd and 4th printings both feature Crumb's curved-letter Rip Off Press logo printed directly on the front cover. The only way to tell the 3rd and 4th printings apart is that the 3rd printing has a glossy paper stock cover and the 4th printing has a matte cover stock. The 5th printing has a 75-cent cover price. The 6th printing is the first published by Last Gasp and has a $2.50 cover price.

Robert Crumb - 1-28
Motor City Comics 2 3rd _ Motor City Comics 2 5th misprint
3rd Printing
Crumb's Rip Off logo
with curved lettering, glossy cover stock.
5th Printing
Bound misprint with missing cyan and other flaws. 75-cent cover.