Clay Geerdes Dead

Friday, July 07, 2006

Clay Geerdes - Comix World Creater


By Par Holman

Clay Geerdes, 63, died at his home in Berkeley, California,
July,8,1997 at I:30 AM from complications of cancer of the liver.
He had been ill for most of a year.
He had surgery in October, 1996 where the extent of his
illness was discovered. He refused conventional medical
Geerdes was born in Sioux City, Iowa, May 25, 1934. He was
raised in Lincoln, Nebraska. He served four years in the US
Navy in the mid-1950s. Upon discharge from service he moved
to California to continue his education. During the 1960s
Clay was a college professor, working first at Fresno State
and then Sonoma State colleges. He was married twice, but
had no children.
He established himself as a freelance photo-journalist in the early 70s.
His photos of THE COCKETTES and John Waters film star, DIVINE, have been used in films on the big screen and TV. In books and magazine articles world wide. He photograhed the Beat scene, protesters, hippies and clicked shots off at the first Be-in. His work is a testament to the changing times. His work can be found on the internet.
Clay was a lifelong comic book fan, whose earliest reading
pleasures came from Superman comic books. As is common with
most comic book fans, when he moved his mother threw
his old comic books away. During the late 1960s-70s Geerdes
became a free-lance writer, and photographer working for
alternative newspapers like The LA Free Press, Berkeley Barb,etc.,
and it was during this time that underground comix came into
being with the publication of Zap Comix #1. Geerdes was one of the
first journalists and serious chroniclers of the counter-culture
to write extensively about the artists, publishers and the
comix themselves.
In 1973 Geerdes started writing and publishing Comix World
as a newsletter about underground comix. He changed the name
to Comix Wave after a copyright dispute and published until 1995.
By the late '70s underground comix had more or less lost their
impetus and so Clay decided to publish his own "mini-comix,"
calling them "newave comix." These were single sheets folded into
quarters to produce a small 8-page pamphlet. Later on he
published digest-sized comix. Titles that Clay published
number in the hundreds. He also gave early and first
publication to several contemporary artists including Jim
Valentino, J.R. Williams and Kevin Eastman, among others.
Geerdes was a person who wrote constantly. His most recent
work had been published in a Northern California newspaper
called The Anderson Valley Advertiser. He collected and
self-published many of the essays in a book called Articles,
Stories and Essays, Volume One in 1997. A book called The
Incredible Rabbit Reference Book was dated 1994 and
self-published in 1996.
Geerdes was opinionated, and creative. He was a
scholar who spent countless hours in research on many
subjects that interested him. He was a fixture at
California comic book conventions in the 1970s and '80s, a
familiar figure with his camera. He was a photographer who
captured the era of the 1960s and å70s in the San Francisco
Bay area, and was the first to seek out and photograph the early
underground cartoonists who were beginning to make their

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