Experimental, intellectual, punk, global, highbrow artsy, lowbrow fartsy, just plain raw—from 1980 to 1991, this “graphix magazine” was it all. The brainchild of spouses Françoise Mouly (publisher and co-editor) and legendary cartoonist Art Spiegelman (co-editor and oft-contributor), Raw served as the premiere publication of alternative comics during that genre’s early heyday. It was envisioned as an art forum for adult-oriented (high-concept and thematically risqué) comics for a brainier readership, perhaps unfamiliar with the edgy, visceral comics of the waning underground scene. In this regard, it was highly successful, publishing over time some of the most seminal works in comics, including Spiegelman’s Pulitzer-prize winning opus, Maus.
Pictured above is the premiere issue, which, besides containing some stellar comics works inside, features this fantastic Spiegelman-illustrated cover. Like many of the earlier issues, the magazine was hand-assembled by friends of Spiegelman and Mouly; in fact, the color window on the cover is partly glued on stock paper, hiding what looks like a black-and-white image underneath.
The entire run of Raw is available in Special Collections.
The post was written by Oscar Chavez