Victor Moscoso Zap Comix

Zap Comix are culturally significant in the underground comics era as a rebellion against the acts set in place by committees at the time that attempted to stifle creativity in an attempt to make mass media more family friendly. Comix were titled this way because of their “X” rated nature, and Zap Comix #4 actually led to the arrest of a shopkeeper that was arrested on the grounds of “spreading obscenity.” Moscoso’s work with this publication makes him one of the most “rebellious” artists at the time, although he was never in question by the law for the comix; this was mainly the shopkeepers who were banned from selling the comix or arrested. Zap comix #4 was slightly different than his vibrating colors posters that he had done in the past. He still was using bright primary colors to create bold hierarchy, but used them in a way that made more traditional sense. The illustration in Zap comix #4 is varying shades of blue, with the background being predominantly a bright red shade. The scene grounds itself on a plane, which many of his poster works did not do. His illustrations for Zap comix in general were abstract, but followed a realistic sketching and shading principle, which his more notable posters did not follow. Having elements clearly separated by a plane into foreground and background allowed for a unique color interaction, where in this case the red becomes a sky of sorts and the yellow of Zap Comix seems to act like a sun. While this illustration is not technologically advanced, it was a very bold and progressive art style at the time – one intended to appeal to adult audiences and thus making a bold political statement. Moscoso’s personality is such that he values art over any restrictions that are imposed on him, even with his formal training. He mentioned in interviews that he produced art not strictly advertise but to provoke, and these comix, both visually and in content, did just that. Issue number 4 attacked social conventions and the hypocrisy in America, by illustrating an incestual family that was mocked as being ideal for being able to “stick together.” This crude humor led to the legal scandals of  Zap Comix #4, and meant the book quickly became infamous.

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