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excellent writing
skilled art
historical bonus 2
total score 7
Back Cover
Back Cover
(click for larger image)

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Snappy Sammy Smoot
Only Printing / January 1979 / 36 pages / Kitchen Sink
In 1967 Skip Williamson moved from Missouri to Chicago to help his buddy Jay Lynch launch The Chicago Mirror, which later became Bijou Funnies. Of course, Bijou Funnies was one of the earliest and longest running underground comics, and generously featured Williamson's signature character Snappy Sammy Smoot, who also appeared in a broad range of other comics and underground newspapers.

Snappy Sammy Smoot became so well known that the cartoon character appeared as a real-life character (played by Carl Reiner) on Dan Rowan's and Dick Martin's red-hot, top-rated TV program Laugh-In in 1968. Williamson produced many comic stories during the golden age of underground comix (1968-73), but none were more popular than his strips with Smoot.

When the golden age came to an end, Williamson was one of several underground veterans who either freelanced or found "real jobs," as he became the art director of Gallery magazine in 1973, which led him to become Hustler magazine's first art director in 1974. In 1976, Williamson went to work for Playboy, where he had briefly worked in the book division years earlier. Williamson was a major contributor (and cartoonist recruiter) for "Playboy Funnies" over the course of the next decade.

By the late 1970s, underground comics were becoming an increasingly infrequent concern for most of the veteran creators outside of Robert Crumb and Gilbert Shelton. Williamson's focus was on Playboy, but in 1978 he agreed with Kitchen Sink to publish this one-shot retrospective of his classic work, most of it featuring Snappy Sammy Smoot.

Snappy Sammy Smoot compiles eight Smoot comics and ten other non-Smoot stories that were originally published from 1968 to 1977 in various publications. There's also a new, two-page introduction from John Petrie and Bob Rudnick, the former a musicologist and the latter a legendary (to those who knew him) jack-of-all-trades and underground poet, who co-hosted the weekly, cutting-edge Chicago radio show "Howling at the Moon" in the late '70s. Petrie and Rudnick both also passed away much too early in the mid '90s. Williamson memorialized Rudnick's passing on his outstanding blog (incredible reading for anyone, comic fan or not comic fan, who appreciates good writing).

Snappy Sammy Smoot is certainly classic Williamson, and lives up to his reputation as an artist who took on both extremes of the sociopolitical spectrum with equivalent mockery at a time when crushing the political left could devastate your "hipness." Williamson didn't care; he just wanted to produce funny comics that mattered. And they certainly did, as Snappy Sammy Smoot handily attests.
It is currently unknown how many copies of this comic book were printed. It has not been reprinted.


Skip Williamson - 1-2, 3-4 (art), 5-15, 16 (collaboration), 17-25, 26-27 (art), 28-34, 36
John Petrie - 3-4 (script collaboration)
Bob Rudnick - 3-4 (script collaboration)
Robert Crumb - 16 (collaboration)
Jay Lynch - 16 (collaboration)
John Prine - 26-27 (lyrics)