“Arcade The Comics Revue” appeared out of nowhere in the mid-seventies, an anthology of comix by underground luminaries from the first wave of the late sixties. Crumb drew most of the covers, and all the issues are easy enough to find nowadays, except for the elusive #1, of course, the one I am missing, with all its lovely big booty action by Crumb himself:
And here is the ultra-rare cover of Robert and Charles Crumb’s “Arcade” #26 from September 1962, with an early Fritz the Cat:
At the mid-seventies American underground comics were, as Art Spiegelman put it (The Comics Journal # 65, August, 1981: 106) “going through a slump. […] [T]he underground comix market was shrinking, and we [Spiegelman and Bill Griffith] felt it was necessary to create a life raft of some kind for the artists that we thought belonged in print.” Said “raft” was Arcade the Comics Revue (issue # 1, Spring, 1975 – issue # 7, Fall, 1976). The artists who “belonged in print” were, with editors included, Robert Crumb (who gave permission to use the title of an old mimeographed comic book that he did with his brother Charles back in the sixties – issue # 1: April, 1960 -; Crumb also agreed to draw the covers of the new Arcade; he drew five of them), Kim Deitch, Spain Rodriguez, Justin Green, Jay Kinney, Jay Lynch, etc… old glories of the dying underground movement, all of them…
And the original cover art by Crumb has been auctioned off by Heritage Auction Galleries:
Robert Crumb – Original Cover for Arcade #1 (Print Mint/ 1975). Uplifting entertainment from an artist synonymous with the Underground art movement, Robert Crumb. This is the original cover art to Arcade, the Comics Revue, which was edited by Art Spiegelman with appearances by Deitch, Green, Griffith, Moscoso, Spiegelman and Spain. A forerunner to the “ground-level” comics movement, this issue represents some of the biggest names in the Underground scene. Crumb’s pen and ink tour-de-farce is a rich cavalcade of characters and movement all set before an amusement park. A classic Amazonian Crumb beauty is the central theme that all the insanity revolves around and she is a Crumb archetype with her thick legs and bottom. The Arcade logo is hand-lettered along with an overlay with “No. 1, $1.25” and “Spring 1975″ hand-lettered. Art size is approximately 11″ x 13”. Signed by Crumb.