Saturday, August 25, 2012

Goin' Underground: Monolith (Last Gasp, 1972)

San Francisco was a haven for underground comics in the early seventies, and Last Gasp was right up there alongside fellow underground publisher Print Mint as part of the biggest underground art movement at the time. Hundreds of comix were published by the Big Two between 1970-1975, so there's a chance you might have missed Monolith, featuring the work of Larry Welz and Larry Sutherland. The cover sports a towering Jukebox behemoth staring down at you, reminiscent of something out of a giant monster movie. Awesome.

Both Larry's had previously worked together on American Flyer Funnies, which are highly regarded in the genre. They both also had a particular interest in warplanes, and you are guaranteed to see a warplane flying around in any work they were involved in. Monolith was no different, and the standout piece here is a cosmic interlude entitled "F+X-O", about a bored astronaut who decides to get high...and into a lot of trouble in the process. Warning -- Mature Content!

Looks like the poor guy got left hanging. Say no to drugs kids! The next standout feature is Larry Welz's "Escape From Dead City", about a soldier who saves a woman against orders and escapes, climbing to the highest point of Dead City...where he finds an old man that has been expecting him...and a new journey awaits.


It looks like Welz had planned Dead City to be a post-apocalyptic epic that would continue in future comix, but the question mark at the bottom indicated he wasn't so sure. Both Larry's contributed in one more story called "Contraband Commandos" and that is about it for this issue.

Page from Contraband Commandos:

This is the only issue of Monolith that saw the light of day. The Larry's contributed on another American Flyer issue before the scene died out. This is one of the higher-rated yet lower-priced comix in the market, so collector's should have no problem tracking this one down.

I've just updated Print Mint's legendary Light Comitragies by displaying nearly the full comic, so feel free to check that one out here.


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