Spain Rodriguez

Underground Comic

Produced by Marc Santo & Scott Newman
Camera by Rainer Evans
Edited by Kyle Gilman

Spain Rodriguez is one of the best-known artists in underground comix. After first gaining attention covering the 1968 Democratic Convention for The East Village Other, he was recruited by Robert Crumb to draw comix for Zap. There, his off-beat political stance and history in the Road Vultures Motorcycle Club proved rich material for showcasing his crisp, bold line drawing style, which is best demonstrated in his seminal tabloid Zodiac Mindwarp, as well as his Trashman series. A former "intimate" friend of Janis Joplin and collaborator of Frank Zappa and Charles Bukowski, Spain’s work has appeared everywhere from Penthouse to Salon.

Spain is most recently the author of CHE: A Graphic Biography from Verso Books.

Spain Rodriguez's NYC

  • "I've lived all around Tompkins Square Park. It was a great place for counter culture back in the day. Kim Deitch and I lived on 8th Street and Avenue C, in a building that was taken over by a Puerto Rican street gang. They used to kick holes in the wall and steal Kim's paintings (which were very beautiful) and my girlfriend's panties. The landlord was afraid to come by so we just stopped paying rent."
  • "I had the best steak I've ever had in my life here but they charged an arm and a leg for it."
  • "This is a great little spot right by St. Marks and 2nd Ave. In the late 60's this was the corner where every kid wanted hang out."
  • "I enjoy the Polish diners especially this little one on Tompkins Square Park. I enjoy the pierogies and galumpkies in particular."
  • "It's hard to go wrong poking around the Whitney."
  • "Back in art school I was indoctrinated into the ideology of modern art. Many of my fellow underground cartoonists wouldn't have seen that as a compliment."

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    "This has become an obsession, a sickness. I have about 30 different ideas for bikes in my head at any given time."
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    "I am an illustrator, which in the art world, is very much equivalent to whore."
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    "Very simply, since 9/11, most of my colleagues in the media have become pussies."
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    "Past Life Regression is the closest thing we have to time travel."
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    "Hamburgers should not have sauces. Sauces, like a klansman’s hood, are a way of covering up something evil."
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    "The New York I live in is populated by bands, bicycles and booty dancing."
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    "There are so many great restaurants in NYC. If I could, I'd go to a different one every night."

What do you think?

GREEK CARTOONISTS

this wonderful discovery...

I was hunting around for something on Spain, the only name I knew him by, since I had so much admired the work of his that I saw in ARCADE. But I knew nothing of his background, how large he loomed in the original underground comics scene. It was the work itself that did it for me, a street scene in the Mission District, a harrowing vision of the fall of the Third Reich, really unforgettable images there. There was a full throated righteous anger in his pen, and it was clear that he loved the work as much as he championed the messages that it carried. So he envied S. Clay Wilson. I can, as they say, dig it. But he was his own force, and whereas S. Clay Wilson was mischievous, Spain was possessed. May he still be so. This is really heart warming, to know that this astonishingly brilliant artist is alive and kicking. I'll be looking at this some more, anything else I can find out about him.