cover image Tits and Clits 1972–1987

Tits and Clits 1972–1987

Joyce Farmer et al. Fantagraphics, $59.99 (376p) ISBN 978-1-68396-683-8

Bold, irreverent, and often gleeful, this collection of women’s underground comix opens with an essay by volume editor Samantha Meier on how Farmer and Lyn Chevli became “smut queens.” Between 1972 and 1987, the pair published nine issues of the comix magazine Tits and Clits, navigating obscenity crackdowns, financial troubles, and a divided feminist audience. The comics that comprise most of the collection are simultaneously products of their time, ahead of their time, and timeless. There are entries about menstruation, masturbation, lesbians (mostly Roberta Gregory’s work), and kinky sex. Dark humor and social commentary go hand in hand—in Beverly Hilliard’s “The Adventures of Dahlia Delicti,” an exhausted waitress drops dead, but that doesn’t stop her corpse from being raped, “dated” by a man who likes to hear himself talk, and becoming a supermodel. Roberta Gregory’s “First Lover” depicts a woman making a nice dinner, lighting candles, and masturbating because “who deserves it more than me?” The last issue, “Abortion Eve,” chronicles a diverse group of women who meet at an abortion clinic, supporting and educating one another; it will have an almost elegiac feel for contemporary readers. Farmer’s characters sport ample hips and big breasts, Chevli’s are simpler and cruder, yet still vibrant. The original publications took a stand within the male-dominated comix underground and against morality police, and it’s for good reason the smut queens’ influence still reigns. (Mar.)