Don’t you wish that you had been at the recent UNDERGROUND USA symposium, which was a celebration of the legacy of Portland’s underground newspapers, the Willamette Bridge and the Portland Scribe? Here’s what you missed: Comics historian Patrick Rosenkranz blew our minds by proving that Basil Wolverton made it into print as a cartoonist by 1929- the crack of dawn of comic books. Also by identifying the exact points in the lives of Basil Wolverton and Carl Barks when their careers paths crossed those of the underground cartoonists who followed them. Former Scribe staffers Maurice Isserman and Norman Solomon discussed the urgency and political outrage behind the deceptively casual “fly by the seat of your pants” appearance of the underground press. Event organizer Anne Richardson talked about the several “undergrounds” which influenced the thinking and film writing of Sheldon Renan. I, David Chelsea, gave a tour of the artists/cartoonists who appeared in Portland’s underground press. Event moderator Richard Gehr and surprise guest Matt Groening drew a verbal map of a Portland stuffed with record stores, bookstores, live music, and Ken Kesey sightings, and both identified themselves as former Willamette Bridge newsboys. Animation legend Bill Plympton joined the panel discussion and Portland’s Poet Laureate Walt Curtis spoke in appreciation of Norman Solomon. A very complete experience! These photos may give some idea:
David Chelsea is watching: The Witch
Starring Anya Taylor-Joy
Photos by Gus Fredericks, S. W. Conser, and Ann Richardson.
Now archived! My appearance on the KB00-FM program Words And Pictures discussing UNDERGROUND USA with host S. W. Conser, Patrick Rosenkranz, and Norman Solomon.