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solid writing
exceptional art
historical bonus 4
total score 9
Spasm Back Cover
Back Cover
(click for larger image)

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Only Printing / April 1973 / 36 pages / Last Gasp
Jeffrey Catherine Jones was a tremendously talented artist who began working in comic books and magazines before launching a very successful career as a fine artist. When art critics and admirers discuss the scope and quality of her art, the esteemed illustrator Frank Frazetta is often quoted for his declaration that Jones is "the greatest living painter." Jones passed away in 2011, but Frazetta's statement is still referenced by her fans and fine art enthusiasts.

I needn't regurgitate the tremendous volume of information and opinion that you can find on the Web about Jones, especially for this review of her single underground comic book. Suffice to say that almost every underground comics creator who knew Jones back in the day (when she was Jeff Jones, long before her gender transition in 1998) was fairly awed by her talents.

Spasm reveals that Jones was unlike most underground cartoonists, or any cartoonist of her day for that matter, with her non-idealized female figures and delicate watercolors. Her stories are sometimes guilty of the same segregation of words and pictures that I've chastised other comic creators for, but those creators weren't Jeff Jones. Spasm is hardly perfect, as some of the stories are rather lightweight, but her wry humor always sustains the introspective mood and she hits a few high notes that only she could hit.

Though Jones only worked briefly in the underground comix world, she did work in many other comics and magazines throughout the '70s and '80s and even into the '90s. Some of her more interesting work, from an underground comic perspective, are her contributions to Heavy Metal, National Lampoon and Vampirella. There are also several collections of her artwork, including paintings, illustrations and sketches, that are worth looking into.
Last Gasp printed approximately 20,000 copies of this comic book. It has not been reprinted.

Jeffrey Catherine Jones - 1-36