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writing solid
art exceptional
historical bonus 2
total score 8
checkered demon _ checkered demon 2 _ checkered demon 3
Checkered Demon #1
Checkered Demon #2
Checkered Demon #3
The Checkered Demon

1977-1979 / Last Gasp
Though his work was being published in 1966 and his first portfolio was produced in 1967, the inimitable S. Clay Wilson isn't generally considered as one of the early founders of underground comics. But Robert Crumb, Victor Moscoso and many others credit Wilson with destroying the stubborn censors resident in their own minds. Wilson's taboo-shattering, one-page "Heads Up" cartoon for Zap Comix #2 was jarring to both comic book readers and underground artists, and helped open the floodgates to comic work by all creators that would attack every remaining taboo on the horizon.

The Checkered Demon is a bare-chested anti-hero with garish checkered pants who serves as a hard-line protector of various causes and friends, often killing bikers, pirates, and rapists who threaten his world. He is virtually unbeatable in hand-to-hand combat, but prefers to have animalistic sex with a range of earthy women—such as Star-Eyed Stella, Ruby the Dyke, or Lady Coozette. The Demon's first public appearances took place in 1967 in Wilson's contributions to Groulish. In the years that followed, he was featured in several issues of Zap Comix and Robert Crumb's Weirdo magazine, as well as in Wilson's Pork and the Demon's own title The Checkered Demon, which collected the strips that appeared weekly in The L.A. Weekly in the late 1970s.

While Wilson's classic one-panel artwork is typically jammed with visceral imagery (a by-product of his tongue-in-cheek self-diagnosed "graphic agoraphobia, fear of open space"), the strips in The Checkered Demon serial are relatively uncluttered as they convey the adventures of the Demon. And though Wilson's later work became more ghoulish, featuring zombie pirates and visualizations of the Virgin of Guadalupe as a rotting vampire mother, The Checkered Demon strips are actually playful. This trio of comic books gives us a abundance of delightfully uncensored The Checkered Demon comics.