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excellent writing
exceptional art
historical bonus 5
total score 10
Back Cover
Back Cover
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REVIEW SCORE 10
Snatch Comics #1
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2nd Printing / Late 1968 / 36 pages / Apex Novelties
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First Printing October 1968
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In San Francisco and other big cities across America, Zap Comix #1 and #2 were all the rage in the summer of 1968, but some people criticized the artists for "going too far" in their depictions of sex. Zap artists Robert Crumb and S. Clay Wilson responded by quickly producing Snatch Comics #1, which "went all the way" and then some.

Published by Apex Novelties and Don Donahue,
Snatch Comics #1 was the most lewd and indecent comic book seen in America since the heyday of the Tijuana Bibles back in the '30s and '40s. The front cover art entices the prurient reader with its provocative title and a buxom hippie chick strutting down the walk in her miniskirt, fishnet stockings and shiny black boots. "What do those hippy chicks do when they do their thing?"

Crumb and Wilson give their readers plenty of answers inside the book, with a wide variety of candid sexual snapshots and situations that are presented as much for laughs as they are for lechery. Sure, there's a few squeamish scenes of choking, slapping and assault, but they happen with both men and women being victimized. Far more common are scenes of people enjoying sex in one form or another, with both males and females getting off on the action.

There is one six-page story by Crumb near the end of the book that is little more than a masturbatory fantasy of two athletic women (one black, one white) fighting like vicious cats, but except for the fact that their erogenous zones are abused it's no worse than other fictional portrayals of women fighting.

I imagine me trying to play down the sexual crudity and violence in this book isn't going to sit well with some people, and I'm certainly not doing a good job of putting the content of the book in context with society in 1968. As Robert Williams said decades after Snatch came out, "Now you look at it and it's nothing. It's nothing now, but boy in the late '60s and early '70s that stuff was just really hot potatoes. You just didn't show those to everybody."

But then again, this is an underground comics review site in the 21st century. It's intended to give people an idea of what they can expect from these comic books today, along with some historical context and interesting anecdotes. Williams is right; it's not such a big deal now, not when you consider everything that came after it and what is out there today.

That said, Snatch Comics #1 is still capable of rocking the boat even today. There's Crumb's drawing of a topless 13-year-old Honey Bunch Kaminski. There's a huge orgy in the center spread of the book, and even though almost everyone seems to be having a blast, there is that cut-off penis flying through the air. There's Wilson's strip with a cat erupting out of a pussy. But the bottom line is, Snatch #1 is mostly bawdy slapstick and silly fantasy. And when you evaluate it on that basis, it's still pretty damn effective.
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keyline
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HISTORICAL FOOTNOTES:
There are six known printings of this comic book. The first three are from Apex Novelties and all three have 25-cent covers. They can only be distinguished by differences on the interior pages. The last three were produced by the Print Mint and two of those printings have different cover prices.
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The 1st printing (approximately 500 copies) is identified by the S. Clay Wilson cartoon, "A Few Mates" (the first words in the upper left corner of the cartoon), which is printed across two pages on pages 10 and 11. In future printings "A Few Mates" is printed on a single page (page 11) and a different Wilson cartoon appears on page 10. In the 2nd printing (unknown copies) the Robert Crumb cartoon "Bus Stop" (a bus stop sign is in the cartoon) appears on page 4 and Crumb's cartoon "Git Whitey!" is on page 12. In the 3rd printing (unknown copies) and all future printings, "Git Whitey!" is on page 4 and "Bus Stop" appears on page 12.
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The 4th printing (10,000 copies, June 1972) and 5th printing (15,000 copies, 1973) were printed by the Print Mint, have 50-cent cover prices, and are considered indistinguishable from one another. The 6th printing (10,000 copies, 1973) is by the Print Mint and has a 75-cent cover price.
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The exact number of copies of the 1st printing is not known. Jay Kennedy's Price Guide states that there were 800, but Don Donahue, who printed the damn thing, thinks it was less. Donahue stated: "Jay Kennedy said there were 800 of this first version of Snatch #1, but I think it was more like 250. The hippies who were assembling these books had trouble aligning the two halves of S. Clay Wilson's double-page spread, so Wilson thought it was better to replace that picture with two separate drawings."
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However, Moe Moskowitz of Moe's Books bought most of the 1st printing, and Moskowitz reported that he sold 350 copies of Snatch #1 in three days. Donahue also stated that Moskowitz bought about 80% of the 1st printing, so if they were both accurate, then there were probably about 440 copies of the 1st printing. So I've stated 500 as a compromise between Kennedy and Donahue.

Kennedy did not state a quantity for the 2nd or 3rd printings, but one can safely presume that the 3rd printing actually had multiple printings. The 3rd printings were all produced by Donahue in 1969, '70 and '71 before the book went to the Print Mint in 1972, and Donahue was printing them as fast as he could sell them on the streets and through the head shops (after the legal troubles died down). Considering that the Print Mint printed 35,000 copies in 1972-73, I'm guessing Donahue produced at least 30,000 copies in the three years before that. The 3rd printing is still quite uncommon, but the truly scarce edition is the 1st printing, which numbered in the hundreds, and possibly the 2nd, which might've only had one or two thousand copies (but probably five).
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COMIC CREATORS:
Robert Crumb - 1-8, 12-14, 16-22, 24-25, 27-36
S. Clay Wilson - 9-11, 15, 23, 26
_ snatch comics _ Snatch Comics 1 4th
3rd Printing
"Git Whitey!" on
page 4.
4th Printing
50-cent cover price