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kosmic city komix
average writing
skilled art
historical bonus 3
total score 7
Kosmic City Komix
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Only Printing / 1972 / 28 pages / J.C. Womelduff
Kosmic City Komix is Kansas City's first (and as far as I know, only) underground comic book. Though there is conflicting information about the authors and publisher of the book (exhaustively described in the Historical Footnotes), there's no doubt the indicia on the inside front cover copyrights the entire book for J.C. Womelduff, so until we know for sure we'll believe Jay Kennedy's Price Guide and identify Womelduff as the publisher as well.

What we do know for sure is that Kosmic City Komix was produced in Westport, a historic neighborhood and popular entertainment district in Kansas City, also known as "hippie central" back in the '70s. And that the book offers some of the raunchiest and most repulsive comics this side of S. Clay Wilson.

The opening story is "The Boil Biter," in which a crippled man named "Wierd John" hides in an alleyway, watching women stroll along the streets, waiting for an opportunity to "catch glimpse of a nice juicy boil or runny pimple." Just when it seems he is waiting in vain, a lovely woman with a ripe, succulent zit on her ass wanders along and John grabs her and drags her into his alley. John ties her up and proceeds to fondle and suck her inflamed pustule for 47 minutes before squeezing it until it pops its glorious nectar into his face. Unfortunately for our protagonist, the discharged whitehead also unleashes a fearsome samurai warrior, who makes John pay for his transgressions in more ways than one!

That charming tale pales in comparison to the next one, which spotlights two cretins who enjoy torture. Their victims suffer from broken bones, pulled-off toenails, chopped up heads and cooked brains, all in the first two pages. One of the later stories features Roger Clown, who feels pain when he pees and goes to a local health clinic for treatment. He gets to see a doctor who proceeds to strap his penis down and ream it with one of those plumbing tools used to clear a clogged drain. The outcome of this therapy does not make Clown happy.

And I'm not even gonna get into the details of the guy who has sex with disembowled pig entrails. Kosmic City Komix presents all this gruesome depravity with a cheerful sense of humor (in a similar manner to Wilson, who surely inspired these cartoonists). The writing is not particularly clever, but nobody expects Shakespeare outta this kinda stuff and the art is reminiscent of Dave Geiser or a poor man's Daniel Clyne. In other words, the drawing is not beautifully accomplished, but at least patiently rendered.

This is sick, in every meaning and locution of the word.
It is currently unknown how many copies of this comic book were printed. It has not been reprinted.
Whoever was the publisher, at least some copies of Kosmic City Komix are known to have been distributed by Last Gasp.

The following information is long-winded and persnickety: Proceed at your own risk! While Kennedy's Price Guide lists J.C. Womelduff as the publisher of Kosmic City Komix (accreditation that has since been widely disseminated on the internet), the Michael Moore Comix Database at CalPoly's online library indicates "Westport Trucker Silver Criket" as the publisher. Westport Trucker was a 1970s weekly underground newspaper in Westport, published by Mother Love Tribe, a group that also promoted rock concerts in Kansas City in the early '70s. Westport Trucker is also advertised on the inside front cover of the comic book. The Silver Criket was apparently a popular lounge in Kansas City. It seems reasonable that those two entities might have the money to publish Kosmic City Komix, but the indicia does identify J.C. Womelduff as the copyright holder, so perhaps Kennedy is right that he is also the publisher.

However, Kennedy also lists J.C. Womelduff and Nefarius Funk as the cartoonists in the book, but Moore lists "P. Troutner and N. Thunk" (for Pete Troutner and Nefarius Thunk) as the cartoonists. Kennedy was wrong about "Nefarius Funk," as in the book he is clearly identified as "Nefarius Thunk." Kennedy also states that J.C. Womelduff uses the pen name "J. Henry Woodphlang" in the book, but the two Woodphlang signatures in the book clearly state "J. (Henty) Woodphlang." So Kennedy didn't get either of those two names spelled correctly.

Additionally, Kennedy credits Nefarius [Thunk] as the author of only one story (pages 14-17), but Nefarius Thunk is credited for two stories in the book, the other being on pages 7-13. So Kennedy didn't get the credits right, either. Yet it is obvious that the person who drew the story on pages 7-13 (identified as Thunk) is the same artist identified as Woodphlang in the rest of the book. This seems to indicate that Thunk and Woodphlang are actually the same person, but Moore seems to believe that Woodphlang is actually Pete Troutner while Thunk is still Thunk. Wow, what a mess, huh?

I don't know how or where Michael Moore (co-founder of '70s underground publisher Los Angeles Comic Book Company) got his information, but I tend to trust most of it. For one thing, Thunk himself credits his single story in the book as "by Nefarius Thunk for Pete Troutner." What reason would Thunk have for stating his story is "for Pete Troutner" other than Troutner being the publisher? Troutner being his gay lover? I don't think so. But it is possible that Troutner was the writer and Thunk was the artist. In any case, if Thunk includes Troutner's name in his byline, it doesn't make sense that Thunk and Troutner are the same person, yet it appears Thunk and Woodphlang are the same person.

So where does that leave J.C. Womelduff? Is he the same as J. (Henty) Woodphlang, as Kennedy states? Or is he actually Pete Troutner? Or is he both? Or could he be Nefarius Thunk, while Woodphlang is actually Troutner? Fuck it, my head is spinning.

J.C. Womelduff or Pete Troutner (aka J. Henty Woodphlang) - 1-6, 18-28
Nefarius Thunk - 7-17