cover image Newave! The Underground Mini Comix of the 1980s

Newave! The Underground Mini Comix of the 1980s

, . . Fantagraphics, $24.99 (888pp) ISBN 978-1-60699-313-2

In his introduction to this fascinating treasure trove of an anthology, Dower describes drawing, folding, and stapling his first minicomic back in 1982. Many others were doing the same and their combined efforts added up to a do-it-yourself scene in which “obsessed nutballs” drew like crazy and made trips to the copy shops to get their work out there before the Web. In addition to work by greats like Artie Romero, Rick Geary, and Mary Fleener, and 50 or so others, the book serves as the history of a movement. The Newave Manifesto, written by Clay Geerdes in 1983 starts things off, and introductions and interviews preceding each creator's work puts it in context, while the list of artist Web sites at the end gives readers much more to discover. Some highlights include Dada Gumbo, in which a series of artists riff on the idea of dada; the 1993 comix ode to Louise Brooks by Molly Keily, whose black-and-white drawings offer seductive closeups of the actress's iconic eyes and hairstyle; and Brad Foster's Eternal Conflict, in which a man tries to get through dinner in clear line drawings that coolly present his absurdist difficulties. (Feb.)