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the firm
average writing
competent art
historical bonus 3
total score 6
The Firm
Cozmic Comics #3

Only Printing / Fall 1972 / 44 pages / H. Bunch Associates

Back Cover
Indicia Page
(click for larger image)

Back Cover
Back Cover
(click for larger image)

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The Firm, officially known as Cozmic Comics #3 (and also listed in that series review), is a landmark of sorts in the history of British underground comics, as it was the first commercially produced underground comic book spotlighting a single British artist throughout the book. The featured comic creator is Michael John Weller, who designed a David Bowie LP cover, worked as a poet, and was a political writer and activist for many years in Britain.

Weller has also done a lot of small press and zine publications. Weller's comics in this book are reflective of all his work; it represents his alliance with the British working and lower middle class, a notoriously downtrodden group that has battled British elitism and the monarchy for centuries. That conflict was especially acute in the '60s and '70s, which was an era of deep and widespread social upheaval in most European countries as well as the U.S. The Firm is one artifact of that social churn, though it is hardly a revolutionary manifesto.

The Firm places systemic racism and sexism in the workplace under a harsh spotlight, but it's mostly played for laughs and some nudge-nudge-wink-wink jokes about sex. Weller's drawing style, faintly reminiscent of early Dave Geiser but without the detailed line work, is pretty average and some of the writing has not aged well. It's also a very British work, which means there is a sometimes subtle, sometimes overt difference in the nature of humor in the stories.

That all said, The Firm was an important milestone because it gave a British underground comic creator a stage all to himself. The book did not sell as well as the previous two issues of Cozmic Comics, but it did well enough to encourage H. Bunch to produce several more books featuring one British artist, including Edward's Heave, Ogoth and Ugly Boot, It's Only Rock 'n' Roll, and Serious Comics.
It is currently unknown how many copies of this comic book were printed. It has not been reprinted.
Mike Weller - 1-36