Cherry Poptart #1 Legacy Edition

The Summer of Love in San Francisco had come & gone. The Bicentennial in the USA came & went. “Underground Comics” was a thing; comics being drawn by excited, disturbed young people who had grown up under constant looming threat of nuclear annihilation &/or arrest by fanatical crusading authority figures &/or being forced into service as cannon fodder in a meaningless war in a mysterious faroff land. They did what they had to do: got high & laughed. Out loud. Onto paper. Well, some of them did; this was what came to be known as the Baby Boomer generation, who mostly just went along with the repressive Status Quo regime, but some of them saw the absurdity & hypocrisy, & just had to rebel.

What made it “underground” was decentralization; if we (the subculture) made & produced & distributed our own comics, we could do anything we wanted, actually exercise Freedom of Speech & the Press & shit, outside of the autocratic system, so it was like black market, but not illegal. Underground-ish. So what came out was all this shocking gross shit, of course: violence, sex, pinworms, etc… Larry Welz said “What if somebody did a comic where sex was fun & nice & nobody was a victim?” Welz had been doing a superhero parody comic, Captain Guts, in the last days of the 60s. He had many ideas for comics. The first incarnation of what would become Cherry was Debbie Clambake, who showed up in Tuff Shit Comics (Last Gasp), cute teenage girl shooting heroin in the bathroom, drawn in the ‘Archie’ style, that is, Dan DeCarlo. Having cartoon teenagers acting like real teenagers was ironically altered perception. At that time every comic company had or had done a wacky teenager title, so the riff was on the whole genre. Cherry Poptart first appeared in a one-off called Funnybook #1 in 1971. It took Welz six years to do enough strips for a comic. He gave the art to Ron Turner at Last Gasp in San Francisco. Last Gasp then moved from where they were to Bryant Street, in the process misplacing said artwork for another three years. 1981, Cherry Poptart #1 is published. Welz thought of it as a one-off; he called it #1 as a joke. Turned out to be popular, so he did some more.

Larry Todd did an 8 page Vampironica story where he did direct parodies of all the Archie™ characters, the only piece in the book to do so. Nervous about possible retribution for Copyright Infringement, we deleted that item & replaced it with other material in subsequent reprint runs. Archie Comics is now doing a whole series of Vampironica comics. For this special Legacy Edition reprint, we have restored Todd’s excellent story, as well as Jay Kinney’s Wholesome Twins story, so it’s a complete & accurate reconstruction of that groundbreaking experimental first issue of Cherry Poptart.