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excellent writing
exceptional art
historical bonus 2
total score 8
Premium Crackers #2
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Only Printing / August, 1978 / 24 pages / John A. Adams
After producing Premium Crackers #1 for his master's thesis show at the University of Colorado, John Adams continued experimenting with pop art machinations in his quarterly minicomic Pure Art Quarterly (1976-79). As Adams states on his website, "Late 1940's and early 1950's cheap magazine graphics were (and are) a favorite starting point to be painted over, clipped out or traced. The result was a dada comix mix, stark, black and white and ironic."

In the midst of producing his minicomic, Adams produced a second issue of Premium Crackers in 1978. Adams divides the book into three sections and three defined "production forms": comics with traditional foregrounds and backgrounds, comics with traditional foregrounds but "altered" backgrounds, and comics with altered foregrounds and backgrounds. The resulting fabrications establish a progression from idiosyncratic comic panels to surrealistic art compositions. Adams execution leverages his growing skill set and delivers some exquisite and often highly detailed comic art, especially in the single, full-page illustrations that populate the book between the second and third sections.

Unlike the first issue, which includes only one page of highly stylized female nudity,
Premium Crackers #2 integrates nudity throughout the book, adding to the quirky absurdity of the comics. The prevalence of nudity doesn't create a covertly erotic atmosphere because of the ironic theme, but there are individual panels that employ classic male-fantasy iconography (female servitude, lesbianism, playful bondage) to great effect. Premium Crackers #2 is one of my favorite pop art confections from the world of unconventional comics.
John Adams printed approximately 2,000 copies of this comic book. It has not been reprinted.
John A. Adams - 1-24