cover image Zap Comix #16

Zap Comix #16

Robert Crumb et al.. Fantagraphics, $14.99 trade paper (96p) ISBN 978-1-60699-900-4

An iconic anthology bows out in a long-unpublished final issue featuring all of its premier artists, showcasing the differing styles that made each creator famous. Crumb's self-reflective comics (often published alongside those of Aline Kominsky-Crumb, the first woman ever to appear in Zap) are strong, with his distinctive griminess and nervous faces cowering under piles of looming word balloons. Kominsky-Crumb's thin lines contrast well against her husband's dense drawings, and their discussions are often touching in their bald honesty. Shelton lampoons the 21st-century need for all heroes to kill in the last Wonder Wart-Hog strip. His lines in this and another story, about a loser who becomes a terrorist to get laid, have a Mad magazine feel. Wilson's shock comics are the weak link for today's readers now that nudity is common in mainstream monthly books. While many have fond memories of Zap as one of the first to break the rules, much of the transgression is now common or unnecessary. (Feb.)