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average writing
skilled art
historical bonus 3
total score 6
la comics _ L.A. Comics 2
L.A. Comics #1
L.A. Comics #2
L.A. Comics

1971-1974 / Los Angeles Comic Book Company

In 1971, responding to the majority of undergrounds being based in the San Francisco area, three guys in Los Angeles decided to launch a local comic book publishing company. Bill Spicer, Michael Moore and J. Fred Walker teamed up to form the Los Angeles Comic Book Company and promptly put out L.A. Comics #1, heralding their own arrival on the inside front cover: "L.A.'s finally on the underground comix map! Buy 'em! Save 'em! Trade 'em! Just don't steal 'em!"

Spicer and company didn't realize it at the time, but the first issue of L.A. Comics turned out to be historically significant, as it featured the comic-book debut of Mickey Rat, Robert Armstrong's signature cartoon character. The rat version of Disney's Mickey began as a marketing gimmick for t-shirts but proved to be so popular he was drafted into comic books. Just months after his debut in L.A. Comics, Mickey Rat starred in his own memorable series, the first issue published by Los Angeles Comic Book Company (and subsequently published by Kitchen Sink and Last Gasp).

L.A. Comics #1 also features some fine work by Dennis Ellefson, who went on to become editor (and frequent cartoonist) for CARtoons magazine from 1975 to 1991. Ellefson also contributed to several issues of Slow Death and Cocaine Comix.

After publishing the first issue of L.A. Comics, the Los Angeles Comic Book Company put out Mickey Rat #1, Weird Fantasies and Mutants of the Metropolis before getting back to producing L.A. Comics #2, the "Special Law Enforcement Issue." All of the work is credited to Icelandic Codpiece Comic Studios, which included the talents of Brian McBean, Christofer, Gervasio Loma, Jim Ferguson, Bob Taylor and Erroll McCarthy. No doubt, the second issue's artwork takes a step up from the first, but the writing tends to be a bit formulaic and sometimes falls flat.

L.A. Comics lasted only two issues and never achieved greatness, but it was a worthy effort to establish a foothold of underground comic publishing in Los Angeles. And of course, giving Mickey Rat his start in the comic biz must always be commended.