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snarf5
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brilliant writing
exceptional art
historical bonus 5
total score 10
Back Cover
Back Cover
(click for larger image)

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REVIEW SCORE 9
Snatch Comics #2
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1st Printing / January 1969 / 36 pages / Apex Novelties
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Snatch Comics #2 came out just three months after the first issue and accomplished what some thought impossible; be even more outrageous than Snatch #1. The increased malfeasance is partly due to Rory Hayes joining Robert Crumb and S. Clay Wilson as a contributor. The 19-year-old Hayes was cajoled into drawing some smutty comics for this issue by Crumb and Don Donahue, and he was more than up to the task, though Crumb and Wilson also increase the raunch factor from the first issue.

Snatch #2 begins its offensive right on the front cover, as Crumb provides a quintessentially racist image of Angelfood McSpade waving hello (Hello '69!) with her big cock-slurping tongue sliding across her blubbery upper lip. It was an overwhelmingly off-color statement in 1969 and no underground comic would really come close to its audacity for at least a couple years, with the singular, relatively abstract exception of Cunt Comics.

On the inside front cover, Crumb explains that Snatch artists "really like drawing dirty cartoons!" and that it helps them "get rid of pent-up anxieties and repressions." The former part of that statement is verifiably true, but the latter part should not be discounted either, as it would become something of a mantra for both critics and defenders of underground comix in the decades to come.

Like the first issue, Snatch #2 is primarily filled with one- and two-page cartoons that show men and women enjoying sex in one form or another, though there's a bit more extreme deviancy on display. Such as a farmer slicing off a chicken's head as he's fucking it (by Crumb) and a woman opening a bottle of beer with her pussy (by Wilson). Hayes provides an array of crude and ultra-violent vignettes of naked men and women cutting, punching and dismembering each other, demonstrating quite a few of those "pent-up anxieties" Crumb was referring to.

There's plenty of jaw-dropping vulgarities in Snatch #2, but none are as jolting as Crumb's center spread cartoon, "The Family That Lays Together Stays Together!" While not nearly as elaborate as "Joe Blow" would be a few months later in Zap Comics #4, "The Family" portrays a multi-generational family of seven in their home, with mom and dad fucking on the sofa, grandma and grandpa fucking in the kitchen, and brother and sister fucking on the floor... oh yeah, and the baby girl is getting fucked by the family dog. Not surprisingly, Crumb depicts them all with euphoric grins on their faces.

"The Family" was the first professional, graphically incestuous cartoon anyone had ever seen and it remains a shocking image even today. Why did Crumb dare to do it? Well, as Robert Williams said about Snatch, "We were seeing just how absurdly improper you can get before the authorities have to hunt you down." Crumb's subject matter had some catching up to do after S. Clay Wilson's incendiary comics in Zap #2 and he rose to the challenge.

As well, "The Family" can be viewed as a derisive parody of the heavily promoted slogan, "The Family That Prays Together Stays Together." That oft-quoted catchphrase was coined by an ad agency writer for the 1940s Roman Catholic Family Rosary Crusade led by Father Patrick Peyton. It caught on quickly and was plastered on over 100,000 billboards and endorsed by dozens of Hollywood celebrities. By the '60s, the slogan had been embroidered by countless church ladies and gift manufacturers on millions of pillows and wall hangings. It was exactly the type of fad that made Crumb's blood boil, and if his family didn't display the slogan in his childhood home, he certainly knew families that did.

And who knows, maybe Crumb had a thing for one of his two sisters when he was a kid. Robert has said that he and his younger sister, Sandra, engaged in some quasi-sexual ''horsing around'' when they were teens (which Sandra has denied). So maybe Crumb was working on his "anxieties and repressions" as well, but that doesn't mean he advocated that families should "lay together." As Crumb's wife Aline stated, "When he does a thing about the 'The Family That Lays Together Stays Together,' anyone who thinks that he's proposing that people should indulge in incest would have to be pretty dumb."

The entire Snatch series is powerful because our laughter or groans of astonishment sometimes conceal a deeper reaction of recognition. Some of the images are disturbing because they simultaneously connect with our darkest fantasies while sparking self-loathing or guilt about our wicked imaginations...or most-private activities.

Snatch #2 is not only the creme de la creme of this brief series, but the creme de la Crumb as far as Robert Crumb is concerned. His incendiary cartoons are toxic to large mobs of narrow-minded, bible-belting, family-values mafioso. Throw in some lethal Rory Hayes bombshells and S. Clay Wilson torpedoes and you have an explosive annihilation of everything that everyone thought comic books should be or even could be.
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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 50-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. The current experts' consensus about the early printings is significantly different than the descriptions provided in Jay Kennedy's Price Guide.
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The 1st printing (unknown copies) is easy to identify as long as you can see the interior pages. The Rory Hayes cartoon "Shit! Am I Ever a Horny Bitch!" appears on page 23 and features color ink in the "juices" that flow from the woman's gaping vagina (see example on the right). It's certainly one of the more colorful and provocative ways to identify a 1st printing, especially if you need to ask a stranger on the phone to describe it to you. Don Donahue used multiple colors of ink for printing this page, including yellow, red and a blue-to-green gradation.
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None of the subsequent printings of Snatch #2 have any colored ink on the interior.
 
Rory Hayes Juices
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Snatch #2 1st Printing
Rory Hayes page 23
(click for larger image)
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The 2nd printing (unknown copies) still has the Rory Hayes cartoon on page 23, but it does not feature any color ink. In all subsequent printings of the book, the Hayes cartoon is placed on page 15 instead of page 23. It's a bit tricky to distinguish the 3rd printing (unknown copies) from the 4th, since they are very similar. The Hayes cartoon is on page 15 of both editions and the covers look very similar.
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But upon close inspection, one can observe that the black color that outlines much of the cover artwork is actually made with two color inks (blue and orange) in the 3rd printing and only one color ink (black) in the 4th printing (see example on the right).
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The first 3 printings by Apex Novelties all feature this two-ink combination on the covers, though some copies (especially from the 1st printing) are more accurately registered than others. The 3rd printing was the last one produced by Apex Novelties and the 4th printing (10,000 copies, June 1972) was the first produced by the Print Mint. The Print Mint cleaned up the color separations to produce a cleaner print run and only used black ink for the outlines.
 
Snatch 2 Printing Differences
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3rd and 4th Printings
demonstrating front cover differences
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So the 4th printing is primarily distinguished from the 3rd printing by the solid-black ink outlines, but another tell-tale sign is that the bindings of the 3rd printing are typically much sloppier and skewed, whereas the 4th printings are neatly trimmed. The 5th printing (15,000 copies, 1973) also has a 50-cent cover price, but (most of) the background color of the circle behind Angelfood on the front cover changes from blue to green (see below). The 6th printing (10,000 copies, 1973) is by the Print Mint and has a 75-cent cover price.
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Jay Kennedy's Price Guide erroneously states that the 1st and 3rd printings both had colored "juices" on page 23, but Don Donahue, who printed the book, corrected this error after the Guide was published. This makes sense given the scarcity of books that include the color juices. Kennedy also has other minor errors about the printings. Kennedy also tries to distinguish printings based on the shades of orange and blue on the front cover, and while these differences are generally apparent, it's pretty tough to rely on them as absolutes.
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All of the above is based on current understanding, but it does make it a little tricky to collect the different printings of Snatch #2. Many internet listings are just flat out wrong when it comes to identifying these printings, so buyer beware. The most important thing, of course, is to know whether Hayes' cartoon on page 23 has any color ink on it or not. Colored juices are the holy grail of Snatch Comics #2, and if you buy a slabbed copy that's certified as a 1st printing, it'll be Hell to resist the temptation to crack open that slab and have a look!
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COMIC CREATORS:

Robert Crumb - 1-3, 10, 13, 17-19, 23-25, 33, 36
S. Clay Wilson - 4-8, 11, 14, 20, 22, 27-30, 32, 34
Rory Hayes - 9, 12, 15-16, 21, 26
Victor Moscoso - 31
Rick Griffin - 35
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Snatch Comics 2 3rd _ Snatch Comics 2 4th   Snatch Comics 2 5th
3rd Printing
Two-color outlines
on covers.
4th Printing
Black ink outlines
on covers.
5th Printing
green circle background