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fresca zizis
excellent writing
exceptional art
historical bonus 3
total score 9
Fresca Zizis
Only Printing / December, 1977 / 36 pages / Last Gasp
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Long before Melinda Gebbie devoted 16 years to illustrating Alan Moore's controversial and erotic Lost Girls trilogy, she produced Fresca Zizis, a comic so controversial it was banned in Britain and existing copies were ordered to be burned. Fresca Zizis, which means "fresh cocks" in Italian, includes some autobiographical comics that Gebbie states "deal with the cruelty of lovers, the excesses of youth, the states of depression and dreams....a warning and a comfort to those who venture out too deep."

Fresca Zizis was one of several comic books (including Tits 'n Clits) imported by Knockabout Comics in 1985 that were seized by Her Majesty's Customs and Excise for containing "pornographic" material. This led to Gebbie testifying in the subsequent trial, eloquently defending her work. In essence, she said "these things happened to me, and I wrote about them because they happened to me, so if you're going to find them obscene, you have to find the people whom I'm writing about obscene. I'm just writing about my life, I'm not trying to titillate anybody." The judge thanked Gebbie for her "well-considered" testimony and then ruled that all the comics should be confiscated and burned. They burned all 400 copies of Fresca Zizis and made them illegal to possess in England, where they are still illegal today.

Featuring stories like "In Debasement" and "Daddy! Save Me,"
Fresca Zizis provides a portal for Gebbie's pain and rage over childhood and teen sexual abuse, either her own or that of other women she knew. The artwork covers a range of styles but often appears surreal and sometimes based in mythology or history. This reflects Gebbie's fascination at the time with the French Revolution, Joan of Arc, and Charenton, a lunatic asylum in France that housed the Marquis de Sade for 14 years. The art repeatedly assumes a fairy-tale perspective that makes the violence and abuse even more disturbing.

The story plotting and scripts are sometimes obscure and often non-conventionally structured, but the messages about fear, sorrow, confusion and violent revenge are still passionately conveyed. As Gebbie put it, "...a lot of my early stuff is kind of incomprehensible, but I think the art is good. And I think, for its time, its got value as a kind of dreamscape of incoming static from strange places." The places are strange indeed, but that doesn't make them easy to dismiss.
Last Gasp printed approximately 10,000 copies of this comic book. It has not been reprinted.



Melinda Gebbie - 1-13, 14-15 (art), 16-36
Al Dubin - 14-15 (song collaboration)
Harry Warren - 14-15 (song collaboration)