Acid Heroes

August 3, 2013

The Berkeley Barb

Filed under: Backwords from Ace — Ace Backwords @ 8:45 pm
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The Berkeley Barb was one of the famous underground newspapers of the 60s.  It sputtered on through the 70s.  Turned into a porno tabloid in the 80s.  And then went out of business in 2005 when the internet took over the porn business.

I sold my first cartoon to the Berkeley Barb.  Age 20.  Easy to remember the date.  July 7, 1977.  7-7-77

I remember I worked for a month on that comic strip.  It was a full page cartoon, and the Barb printed it on the backcover, in color.

At the time my big dream was to have a career as an Underground Cartoonist.  Which shows you how nuts I was.  Sheesh.  I was homeless back then, sleeping on this off-ramp on Fremont Street in San Francisco.   Beautiful spot actually.  This would be my homeless home for a year. It was on top of this man-made hill at the foot of the Bay Bridge.  I had an incredible, panoramic view of the San Francisco Bay, with Oakland and Berkeley twinkling off in the distance.  Thirty years later they would build luxury apartment buildings in the area, and the  “million dollar view” would be a big selling point.  Course I got to enjoy the view for a year and never paid anyone a dime.   Life is weird like that, ain’t it?


I vividly remember when I first saw my comic in print.   The Berkeley Barb had a newspaper rack on 8th and Market right near the City Hall.  I remember how thrilling it was to see my cartoon there on the back cover in print.  After all these years of seeing other people’s stuff in the media, there was my own stuff staring back it me!  It was like a form of magic.   Like I had entered into the other side of the media looking glass mirror.
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The Barb ended up paying me $30 for the cartoon.  When I got that $30 check I remember thinking:  “I worked an entire month for 30 bucks.  I’m gonna have to re-think this Career As An Underground Cartoonist thing.”














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