Look what we stumbled on. Why, it’s a ‘Young Lust’ No 5 comic book from 1977, featuring ‘Red Guard Romance’, a sexy underground comix look at the Cultural Revolution!
The ‘Young Lust’ series was a collaboration between Bill Griffith and Jay Kinney that fit pretty solidly within the smut-friendly corner of popular American culture known as underground comix, a form generally exemplified by the notorious Robert Crumb, who’s considered to be the Picasso of the form.
Here’s series co-creator Jay Kinney’s background on ‘Young Lust’:
Forty years ago, DC and Marvel were still cranking out “romance comics” such as Young Love. Bill Griffith (of “Zippy the Pinhead” fame) and I had the bright idea to create an “adults only” satire of the genre, Young Lust. It became one of the top three best-selling underground comix, along with Zap Comics and the Fabulous Furry Freak Brothers. These were two of my best strips for the comic: my memoirs of Fifth Grade and a satire of the Maoist Cultural Revolution. [If you are under-18, please grow up before you read these. ‘Nuff said.]
Yes, the prudes out there might think some panels in ‘Red Guard Romance’ are a little kinky, but we think it merits a place on our fair blog, since it stands out as a work of kitsch and knowing political pop art of the highest order, from an era when the outside world still referred to China as a place covered behind a thick and impenetrable Bamboo Curtain.
For the uninitiated looking to find out more, check out Terry Zwigoff’s Crumb and American Splendor starring Paul Giamatti, two movies that focus on the tortured
anti-social miscreants misunderstood geniuses that spent their lives working in the underground comix form.
Images from Jaykinney.com (click for more comics!) and the Flickr account of Ephemerally Yours.