|Headquarters location||San Francisco, California|
|Key people||Colin Turner|
|Publication types||Books, Graphic novels, Comics|
|Nonfiction topics||Rock music, Art, Poetry|
|Fiction genres||Underground comix|
Sexploitation Comic Group
Last Gasp is a book and underground comix publisher and distributor owned and operated by Ron Turner, with its headquarters in San Francisco. The company operates as a publisher, distributor, and wholesaler for books of all types, often with a lowbrow art and counterculture focus.
Last Gasp was established in 1970. Although the company came onto the scene a bit later than some of the other underground publishers, Last Gasp continued publishing comix far longer most of its competitors. In addition to publishing notable original titles like Slow Death, Wimmen's Comix, Binky Brown Meets the Holy Virgin Mary, and Weirdo, it also picked up the publishing reins of titles — such as Zap Comix and Young Lust — from rivals that had gone out of business.
The company no longer publishes comics, though in the period 2004-2010 they published English-language versions of some manga titles. The company publishes art and photography books, graphic novels, fiction, and poetry.
Last Gasp was founded in 1970 by San Francisco State University graduate student Ron Turner, with the help of Gary Arlington, to publish the ecologically-themed comics title Slow Death Funnies (in conjunction with the first Earth Day). Last Gasp followed Slow Death Funnies with the all-female anthology It Ain't Me Babe, spearheaded by Trina Robbins.
The company's success with the two titles enabled it to expand into distribution in addition to publishing. The company soon became a major part of the underground comix movement. Sociopolitical themes were explored in Last Gasp series such as Guy Colwell's Inner City Romance (1972–1979), which portrayed gritty urban tales; Armageddon (1973), which focused on anarcho-capitalism; and Anarchy Comics (1978), which focused on left-wing politics. In addition to publishing Wimmen's Comix for much of its run, Last Gasp published a number of other comix with feminist themes, including It Ain't Me, Babe, Tits & Clits Comix, Twisted Sisters #1, and Good Girls.
Beginning in 1972, Last Gasp began publishing ongoing titles moving over from other companies; beginning with Young Lust, and then Rand Holmes' Harold Hedd. In 1977, the company picked up Joyce Farmer and Lyn Chevely's Tits & Clits Comix, publishing that series until 1987. Last Gasp published the final three issues of San Francisco Comic Book in 1980–1983, and the latter half of Zap Comix' run from 1982–2005.
In the early 1980s Last Gasp published some of the first books about the West Coast punk rock scene, including a number of titles by Peter Belsito.
Starting in 1975, Ron Turner began hosting the annual "Burritos, Beer & Cheer" holiday party at the Last Gasp offices, which was also a fundraiser for the Martin de Porres House of Hospitality, a free soup kitchen located in San Francisco. Last Gasp hosted "Burritos, Beer & Cheer" for more than 30 years.
Creators associated with Last Gasp
Notable artists published by Last Gasp include Tim Biskup, Robert Crumb, Richard Corben, Ron English, Camille Rose Garcia, Justin Green, Bill Griffith, Spain Rodriguez, Mark Ryden, Dori Seda, Larry Welz, Robert Williams, and S. Clay Wilson.
This is a partial list of underground comix published by Last Gasp.
- The Adventures of Harold Hedd (1972–Sept. 1973)
- Anarchy Comics (4 issues; 1978–1987)
- Armageddon (3 issues; 1970–1973)
- Binky Brown Meets the Holy Virgin Mary (1972)
- Brain Fantasy (2 issues; May 1972–Jan. 1975)
- Cherry Poptart (13 issues; 1982–1992)
- Harlan Ellison's Chocolate Alphabet (Aug. 1975)
- Cocaine Comix (4 issues; 1975–1982)
- Dirty Laundry (1974, 1978, 1993)
- Dopin' Dan (3 issues; 1972–1979)
- Dr. Atomic (6 issues; Sept. 1972–Apr. 1981)
- Fresca Zizis (1977)
- Good Girls (6 issues; 1987–1991)
- Grim Wit (2 issues; June–Sept. 1973)
- Harold Hedd (3 issues, 1973–1984)
- Horny Biker Slut (13 issues; 1990–1998)
- Hup (4 issues; 1986–1992)
- Inner City Romance (5 issues; 1972–1978)
- It Ain't Me, Babe (July 1970)
- Last Gasp Comix & Stories (5 issues; 1994–1997)
- The Legion of Charlies (Fall 1971) — one-shot by Tom Veitch, Greg Irons, and Dave Sheridan
- Mickey Rat (2 issues; 1980–1982)
- Neurocomics (Mar. 1979)
- Skull (5 issues; 1970–1972)
- Slow Death Funnies/Slow Death (11 issues; 1970–1992)
- Tales from the Leather Nun (1973)
- Twisted Sisters #1 (1976)
- Weirdo (28 issues; Spring 1981–Summer 1993)
- Wimmen's Comix (10 issues; Spring 1981–Summer 1993)
- Young Lust (5 issues; 1972, 1987–1993)
- Zap Comix (16 issues; 1982–2005)
- Kouno, Fumiyo. Town of Evening Calm, Country of Cherry Blossoms (2004)
- Mizuno, Junko. Pure Trance (2005)
- Nakazawa, Keiji. Barefoot Gen (10 issues, 2004–2010)
- Belsito, Peter, Bob Davis, and Marian Kester. StreetArt: The Punk Poster in San Francisco 1977-1981 (1981) ISBN 9780867193008
- Belsito, Peter and Bob Davis. Hardcore California: A History of Punk and New Wave (1983) ISBN 9780867193145
- Belsito, Peter. Notes From the Pop Underground (1985) ISBN 978-0867193374
- Cometbus. Despite Everything: A Cometbus Omnibus (2002) ISBN 0-86719-561-4
- Corinne, Tee. The Cunt Coloring Book (1989)
- Griffith, Bill. Zippy Stories (1986). ISBN 0-86719-325-5
- Fitzgerald, F. Stop and Marian Kester. Dead Kennedys: The Unauthorized Version (1983) ISBN 0-86719-312-3
- LeRoy, J. T. with illustrations by Cherry Hood. Labour (2006) ISBN 9780867196542
- Perry, Michael with illustrations by Doug Cunningham. Turntable Timmy (paperback re-issue, 2015)
- Schorr, Todd. American Surreal (2008)
- Ron Turner at Michigan State University Libraries
- Lepage , Cécile. "A 40-year Last Gasp that's getting stronger," San Francisco Bay Guardian online (March 30, 2010).
- "On the Town: with Ron Turner" SF Chronicle, April 29, 2007
- "F A Q." Last Gasp Books. Retrieved on July 30, 2012. "Last Gasp 777 Florida Street San Francisco, CA 94110"
- "Last Gasp Hero" The Wave Magazine
- Nelson, Gayle. "The Origins of Last Gasp," Last Gasp website (Jan. 1999). Accessed Dec. 14, 2013.
- R. Crumb: Conversations by Robert Crumb & D. K. Holm. University Press of Mississippi, 2004 ISBN 978-1-57806-637-7 (p. 93)
- A history of underground comics, Mark James Estren. Ronin Publishing, 1992 ISBN 978-0-914171-64-5 (p. 254)
- Multicultural Comics: From Zap to Blue Beetle - Race and Comix by Leonard Rifas pp. 33-34
- Beale, Scott. "Last Gasp Holiday Party 2005," LaughingSquid.com (Dec. 17, 2005).
- Official website
- Last Gasp at the Grand Comics Database
- Last Gasp at the Comic Book DB
- Photos from the 2005 charity fundraising party held at Last Gasp offices
- Photos from the 2007 charity fundraising party held at Last Gasp offices
- Photos from the 2008 charity fundraising party held at Last Gasp offices