Brian Doherty’s new book Dirty Pictures tells the story of – as the subtitle puts it – “How an underground network of nerds, feminists, misfits, geniuses, bikers, potheads, printers, intellectuals, and art school rebels revolutionized art and invented comix.” The book is simply the best and most comprehensive look at underground comics published to date.
In the book, Doherty tries to capture a wide range of what was happening in underground comix and with the people who were involved. Indeed it was the people, their lives and their stories that fascinated him more than the comics. But more than simply an account of a fascinating group of people and a notable body of work, Doherty wants to argue that comics as we know it today, which is studied in academia and widely read and respected, can be traced back to this deeply transgressive art movement.
To make the book, Doherty talked to, well, just about everyone. It is a fascinating, at times hilarious and sometimes moving account of a generation of artists, the work they made and the changes it wrought.
Doherty is an editor at Reason Magazine and the author of a number of books, including This is Burning Man. He took time out recently to talk about how the pandemic affected research, the people he wasn’t able to interview, and his relationship to underground comix.Continue reading “Smash Pages Q&A | Brian Doherty”