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Zip Comics
spotty writing
skilled art
historical bonus 2
total score 5
Zip Comics
Zip Comics Back CoverBack Cover
(click for larger image)

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Only Printing / late 1973 / 36 pages / H. Bunch Associates
Zip Comics is another one of those British undergrounds published by H. Bunch and their Cozmic Comics imprint in 1973 and 1974. They put out more than a dozen comics after launching their flagship Cozmic Comics in 1972, including Edward's Heave, Tales from the Void, Animal Weirdness and Dope Fiend Funnies. Like Zip Comics, most of them were one-shot titles that primarily featured British-creator comics.

Zip Comics does leverage Canadian Rand Holmes for their front cover art; a Nazi parody that originally appeared in the Vancouver newspaper The Georgia Straight
. The book's other contributors are all British, as far as I know. William Rankin gets Zip Comics off to a strong start with his seven-page "The Sunshine Kids," which features four adolescents going "off on holiday" aboard a train. It's a bizarre little tale as one kid after another suffers a fatal accident, even though the tone remains entirely casual and light-hearted.

Rankin is no Robert Crumb, but he appropriates a vintage British cartoon style in the same way Crumb's style was influenced by comic artwork during his childhood. David Huxley identified the archetypal British style Rankin adapted in his terrific book about British undergrounds, Nasty Tales. Rankin's cartooning in "The Sunshine Kids" is cutesy and slapsticky, but, like Crumb's charismatic style, it's only a veneer for the deviancy and brutality of the action. It's highly effective and insidiously funny.

Like many other British undergrounds, the remainder of Zip Comics is fairly pedestrian, but there are some decent strips and none of the stories are as long as "The Sunshine Kids" so it's easy to breeze past the weaker material. I've become rather enamored with non-American undergrounds, as they mix in new connotations and expand the diversity of content for the genre. Sometimes you discover audacious embellishments in a British underground that you know you'd never find in American work. These little surprises can make an otherwise familiar journey worth the ride.
It is currently unknown how many copies of this comic book were printed. It has not been reprinted.

Rand Holmes- 1
Josh Thomas - 2
William Rankin (aka Wyndham Raine) - 3-9, 24-25
Edward Barker - 10
KOK - 11-13
Chris Tyler - 14-15
Dave Gibbons - 16-17
Paddy Morris - 18-20
Pied Dingus Komicks Production 21-23
Kevin O'Keefe - 26
unknown contributor (dammit I know this guy!) - 27-32
Thomas Warkentin - 33
unknown contributors - 35-36