Saturday, May 19, 2007

The Buffalo Rag

The Buffalo Rag--underground comix

Victor Marsillo, a writer and collector of underground comix recently found a copy of the long, lost, "Buffalo Rag," and after a bidding war on eBay, won the item for $202. He said it was "a good price," considering that one of the other bidders is a dealer that has been selling them over the years for $500. Victor writes:

"Not necessarily an affordable item, but by god, oh how I've longed for this book:

I've been in touch with Karl Kotas and there's an interesting story behind it.

Rather than paraphrase, here it is, directly from the source:

"Buffalo Rag was published in 1974 under the auspices of SUNY College at Buffalo. . . . We actually gave them away free on the streets of Buffalo, NY and on campus at Buffalo State College, because we were technically forbidden to sell them, although we did. It was funded by some obscure experimental independent degree program where students could actually invent their own classes for college credit. We actually received 3 class credits to publish an underground comic book. Can you believe that? (I love the 70's. Buffalo State College at the time had a class called "History of Erotic Cinema" where the students could actually make porno films for their class project.)"

Only 500 copies, or less, were printed.

Considering the the way they were distributed, I can't imagine many survived in any condition whatsoever, and this copy appears to be beautiful.

I'm sorry, I don't mean to gloat, but I'm beaming over having won this! Besides, I thought the story behind it, an underground comix that was done for college credits, was too good not to share."
Victor has been researching "the underground comix" movement for several years--and is working on, what he hopes will be, the definitive reference guide for collectors and enthusiasts. He first heard of the book in Jay Kennedy's guide, from the early '80s and says, "I was trying to make sense of why he had the book priced so high. The other artists were Kenny Laramay and Gary Shultz--when I search for Kenny, I turn up an animation artist who, I'm assuming, is the same person."

The comic was listed in several prominent collectors guides over the years and it garnered cult status because it was rare and collectors heard about it but never saw it. Another factor adding to it's worth is that the Grateful Dead has been actively buying up unauthorized Dead memorabilia.