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The Print Mint, Inc. was a major publisher of underground comics based in the San Francisco Bay Area
San Francisco Bay Area
during the genre's heyday.[when?] Starting as retailer of psychedelic posters, it soon evolved into a publisher, printer, and distributor. It was "ground zero" for the psychedelic poster. The Print Mint was originally owned by poet Don Schenker and his wife Alice, later partnered in the business with Bob and Peggy Rita.[1]

Contents

1 History

1.1 Posters 1.2 Expansion to the Haight 1.3 Underground comics 1.4 Legal troubles 1.5 Later years

2 Titles published 3 References 4 External links

History[edit] Don and Alice Schenker started The Print Mint as a picture-framing shop and retailer of posters and fine art reproductions on Telegraph Avenue in Berkeley, California, in December 1965, originally sharing a store with Moe's Books, but later on moving into a separate location down the block. (The Schenkers and Moe's Books owner Moe Moskowitz had been friends back in New York City during the 1950s Beat era, so this association was a continuation of that connection.)[2] Schencker's first comics job was a reprint of Joel Beck's Lenny of Laredo, published by the Print Mint in April 1966.[3] Posters[edit] The Print Mint soon opened a wholesale division, publishing and distributing posters. The dance venues at The Avalon Ballroom
The Avalon Ballroom
and The Fillmore were advertised by posters designed by artists Stanley Mouse, Rick Griffin, Alton Kelley, Victor Moscoso, and others. These posters were soon in much demand, and The Print Mint distributed many of them along with work by Peter Keymack, Hambly silkscreens, Solo Period posters, M. C. Escher
M. C. Escher
prints, Neon Rose, Bob Frieds Food line, and many others. Expansion to the Haight[edit] In December 1966, the Print Mint opened a second store on Haight Street, in the Haight Ashbury
Haight Ashbury
district of San Francisco, in a building that Moe's Books owner Moskowitz had purchased to install a book store. (Unfortunately, the city had refused to give Moskowitz a permit to sell used books, so his plan was never realized.)[4] 1967 was an eventful time, and the store became a center of neighborhood activities, a main source of countercultural information and creative energy to the huge influx of young people coming into San Francisco that summer. The store grew from being a simple retailer into a complex cross-country distribution and then publishing operation. In December 1967, however, Moskowitz forfeited the building and his plans for a second location for Moe's Books, bringing a demise to Print Mint in San Francisco.[4] Underground comics[edit] Beginning in 1968, but really getting going in 1969, publishing and distribution of underground comics became The Print Mint's major endeavor. With their partners the Ritas, (employees that the Schenkers had offered a partnership to in 1967), Don did the organizing, editing and layout of the books, working with the artists. Bob and Peggy Rita and Alice handled the distribution and the day-to-day operations of the business. (Bob Rita had previously run Third World Distribution out of a Haight Street location.)[5] Alice also oversaw the Berkeley store. The company's main office was located at 830 Folger Avenue in Berkeley. The first comix Print Mint published was the (initially) weekly tabloid Yellow Dog, edited by Don Schencker.[6] (They also re-issued Gilbert Shelton's Feds 'n' Heads, which he had initially self-published.)[6] Eventually, the Print Mint published such underground comix notables as Robert Crumb, Trina Robbins, Rick Griffin, S. Clay Wilson, Victor Moscoso, Gilbert Shelton, Spain Rodriguez, and Robert Williams. Titles they published included Zap Comix, Junkwaffel, Bijou Funnies, and Moondog. In addition they published one of the first ecologically themed comics, The Dying Dolphin, a solo effort by rock poster artist Jim Evans with contributions by Ron Cobb
Ron Cobb
and Rick Griffin. As the first publisher to invest heavily in the underground comix movement (and its distribution), the Print Mint was instrumental in the form's popularity and widespread reach in the late 1960s and early 1970s. As they were growing the market and putting money in the hands of the cartoonists, however, their business practices were called into question by a number of the more popular artists. A few of those, including Gilbert Shelton
Gilbert Shelton
and Frank Stack, broke off in early 1969 to form their own publisher, Rip Off Press, taking some of the more established cartoonists (like Crumb) with them. (The 1973–1974 venture Cartoonists Co-Op Press
Cartoonists Co-Op Press
was formed out of a similar motivation.) From that point on, the Print Mint focused more on bringing new talent into the burgeoning underground industry.[7] The Print Mint's bold experiment with Arcade: The Comix Revue, started in 1975 and edited by Art Spiegelman
Art Spiegelman
and Bill Griffith, with each issue sporting a cover by R. Crumb, paved the way for RAW! just a few years later. Legal troubles[edit] The Print Mint weathered a lawsuit filed over the publication of Zap Comix, particularly issue #4 (published in 1969). The Schenkers were arrested and charged with publishing pornography by the Berkeley Police Department. Previous to that, Simon Lowinsky, owner of the Phoenix Gallery on College Avenue in Berkeley, had organized an exhibition of the Zap collective's original drawings, and had been arrested on the same charge.[8] His case came to trial first. He was acquitted after supportive testimony from Peter Selz, a prominent figure in the art world. At that point the city dropped the charges against the Print Mint.[citation needed] Later years[edit] By 1975 the partnership with the Ritas was not going smoothly.[citation needed] Alice Schenker says that an agreement was made to split the business between retail and wholesale, the Schenkers taking the retail store and the Ritas the wholesale and publishing. The Print Mint ceased publishing comics in 1978, but the poster shop continued. In 1985 the Schenkers sold the store. It continues to this day, looking much the same. Titles published[edit]

All Girl Thrills (1971) — all female contributors: Trina Robbins, Barbara "Willy" Mendes, and Julie Wood (a.k.a. Jewel and a.k.a. Julie Goodvibes) American Flyer Funnies #1 (1971) — anthology title; contributors included Larry Welz Arcade (7 issues, 1975–1976) — magazine-sized comics anthology created and edited by Art Spiegelman
Art Spiegelman
and Bill Griffith. Contributors included Spain Rodriguez, Justin Green, Kim Deitch, Robert Crumb, and Charles Bukowski. Bijou Funnies
Bijou Funnies
(3 issues, 1969–1970) — anthology with early work by Jay Lynch, Art Spiegelman, Gilbert Shelton, and Skip Williamson; issues #5-8 picked up by Kitchen Sink Press The Captain (1972) — Hak Vogrin and Jean Einback Vogrin Captain Guts (3 issues, 1969–1971) — Larry Welz The Collected Cheech Wizard
Cheech Wizard
(1972) — Vaughn Bode; reprinted from a Company & Sons title Coochy Cooty Men's Comics (Dec. 1970) — Robert Williams Despair (1969) — Robert Crumb Deviant Slice Funnies (2 issues, 1972–1973) — Tom Veitch
Tom Veitch
& Greg Irons The Dying Dolphin (1970) — Jim Evans El Perfecto (1973) — Timothy Leary
Timothy Leary
Benefit Feds 'n' Heads
Feds 'n' Heads
(1968) — reprint of Gilbert Shelton
Gilbert Shelton
self-published comic Girl Fight Comics (1972–1974) — Trina Robbins Guano Comix #4 (c. 1974) — anthology title Heavy Tragi-Comics (1970) — Greg Irons Hit the Road (1971) — Pat Ryan and Russ Rosander Human Drama (1978) — anthology title edited by Jim Madow featuring Spain Rodriguez, Mark Fisher, Leslie Cabarga, Alan Weiss, Howard Hopkirk, Roger Brand, Greg Irons, and Madow Insect Fear (3 issues, 1970–1973) — horror anthology Junkwaffel (1971) — Vaughn Bodē Kukawy Comics (Dec. 1969) — John Thompson

Lemme Outa Here (Oct. 1978) — stories of life in mid-century American suburbs edited by Diane Noomin, featuring Noomin, Michael McMillan, Robert Armstrong, Bill Griffith, Robert Crumb, Aline Kominsky, Kim Deitch, Justin Green, Mark Beyer, and M. K. Brown Lenny of Laredo (Apr. 1966) — reprint of Joel Beck's 1965 work Light Comitragies (June 1971) — mostly Greg Irons Manhunt #1 (July 1973) — feminist comic with contributors like Aline Kominsky, Trina Robbins, Ted Richards, and Bobby London; 2nd issue published by Cartoonists Co-Op Press Mean Bitch Thrills (1971) — Spain Rodriguez Meef Comix (2 issues, 1973–1974) — Fred Schrier Moondog (1969–1973) — George Metzger Occult Laff Parade (1973) — anthology title; featured a story by Jay Kinney and Ned Sonntag entitled "Bud Tuttle and Commander Jesus" Real Pulp (2 issues, 1971–1973) — anthology; issue #1 featured first Zippy the Pinhead
Zippy the Pinhead
strip (by Bill Griffith) San Francisco
San Francisco
Comic Book (3 issues, 1970–1973) — anthology title at first published with the San Francisco
San Francisco
Comic Book Company; later picked up by Last Gasp Show + Tell Comics (Oct. 1973) — Justin Green Spiffy Stories (1969) — anthology title Tales of Toad (2 issues, 1970–1971) — Bill Griffith; 3rd issue published by Cartoonists Co-Op Press Truckin' (2 issues, 1972–1974) — George Metzger Tales from the Tube (1972) — Robert Crumb, Rick Griffin, Harold Ward, Robert Williams, and S. Clay Wilson Tuff Shit Comics (Mar. 1972) — anthology title Uneeda Comics (1970) — Robert Crumb Vaughn Bode's The Man (1972) Yellow Dog (22 issues, 1968–1973) — anthology started as a tabloid and then converted into a comics magazine Young Lust (2 issues, 1971 & 1974) — anthology title co-edited by Bill Griffith
Bill Griffith
and Jay Kinney; contributors included Guy Colwell; later published by Last Gasp Zam (Zap Jam) (1974) — Robert Crumb, Rick Griffin, Victor Moscoso, Robert Williams, S. Clay Wilson Zap Comix
Zap Comix
(issues #3–9, 1968–1978) — R. Crumb-edited anthology

References[edit]

^ Groth, Gary "An Interview with Victor Moscoso," The Comics Journal #246 (Sept. 2002). ^ Estren, Mark James. A History of Underground Comics (Berkeley: Ronin Publ., 1993), p. 50, 250. ^ Fox, M. Steven. "Lenny of Laredo," ComixJoint. Accessed Nov. 24, 2016. ^ a b Elliott, Lisa Ruth. Ten Years That Shook the City: San Francisco 1968-1978 (City Lights Books, 2011), p. 287. ^ Rosenkranz, Patrick. Rebel Visions: The Underground Comix Revolution 1963-1975 (Fantagraphics, 2002), p. 75. ^ a b Estren, p. 54. ^ Estren, p. 250. ^ Fox, M. Steven. "Snatch Comics," ComixJoint. Accessed Dec. 9, 2016.

External links[edit]

Print Mint at the Grand Comics Database Print Mint at the Comic Book DB

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