Kitchen Sink (1968-73)
Bijou Funnies (1968-73) was born in Chicago in the summer of 1968, just six months after Zap Comix #1, and evolved into one of the most important underground comic book series in history. The first issue featured Jay Lynch (also the editor) Skip Williamson, Jay Kinney, Gilbert Shelton and Robert Crumb, launching a comic anthology that by today’s entertainment standards (or even the standards of 1968) appears relatively mild and hardly revolutionary. Yet it was.
But by the early ’70s, Bijou began to rely on its core stable of creators to provide content for their book, as did the broader underground comics movement, which was financially burned by inferior content and slow-moving titles. Like the best of the underground comics, Bijou hit its peak in the early ’70s with outstanding contributions from a handful of legendary comic creators.
And most importantly, Bijou hit the same wall of doom in 1973, when a confluence of events formed the perfect storm and essentially ended the golden age of underground comics. The most critical event in that storm was the landmark Supreme Court decision on obscenity, which confirmed that obscenity was not protected by the First Amendment and established subjective guidelines for determining what constituted obscene material. The consequences of that ruling essentially destroyed the head shop distribution system that underground comics relied on to reach their audience. In an editorial on the inside front cover of Bijou Funnies #8, Lynch wrote a scathing critique of the ruling, predicting that freedom of speech had been destroyed forevermore. And Bijou Funnies never published another issue.