A RAW History: The Magazine
by Bill Kartalopoulos

According to the introduction to Read Yourself Raw, Spiegelman and Mouly finally agreed to publish a magazine at a 1980 New Year's Eve party. The magazine's first issue was funded by the Soho Map and Guide, which Mouly continued to publish through 1990. Budgets for subsequent issues would be determined by the previous issue's profits.

Art Spiegelman: One way or another I've always gravitated back towards some form of editing or other. [After Arcade], I swore never to do a magazine again and there I was making one with Françoise because she had a printing press and had decided to become a publisher. The magazine was actually a half-sideways umbrella step twist from the original notion, which was literally to do small press book publishing. ... It was also an outgrowth of my frustrations being hired as a consultant for magazines like High Times, and Playboy, and finding that their interest in comics was completely modular: "Well great, if it's got tits!" And the frustration led to a kind of one-off magazine, not necessarily thinking about doing a second issue, but thinking about gathering some of this stuff together to show what a magazine would look like if it was what it should be.

Françoise Mouly: Art agreed to do Raw, and he has said since then, oh, he just wanted to do one, and hoped it would just be enough. That's not my memory of it. I wanted to do it biannually. I certainly wasn't going to put all of this effort into doing a magazine just once. There were a couple of considerations. I wanted it to be a magazine of comics and graphics, which was a broad term, but it meant things like Pascal Doury, and the Bazooka people, things that weren't necessarily comics, but that were narrative pictures. And I wanted text pieces, which were really hard to arrange.

There was a goal that was to show an audience, a world, or whatever, to make it manifest how good comics could be. I mean, it was to fight the prejudices against comics as toilet literature, that they should be printed only on newsprint, and disposable, because Art had already gotten some of that feedback from some of the underground cartoonists at the time of Arcade. There was an aesthetic, which is perfectly valid, that was certainly Robert Crumb's aesthetic, of, like, "Aw, shucks, it's only lines on paper, and don't take yourself too seriously, and this is all, like, disposable."

So here the large size, and the good paper, and the fact that it was non-returnable, were meant to force people to see how beautiful, and how moving, and how powerful, the work could be. And it should have Europeans and Americans and people from all over. It should bridge a lot of gaps. That was the intent.

Raw v. 1 n. 1
Cover by Art Spiegelman

Editors/Publishers: Françoise Mouly and Art Spiegelman
Production Assistant: Christine Nelson

Contents by: Gross and Winter, Alfred Jarry, Bruno Richard, Geoff Robinson, Kaz, Jacques Tardi, Joost Swarte, Jerry Moriarty, Mark Newgarden, Bazooka, spiegelman, Patricia Caire and James Barth, Lynne Tillman and Mariscal, Mark Beyer, Josh Alan Friedman and Drew Friedman, Heinz Emigholz, David Marc and Gary Hallgren, Françoise Mouly, Winsor McCay, Gerry Capelle, George Griffin

Published by: RAW Books

The first issue of Raw, published in July 1980, featured a full-color "tipped-on" image glued by hand onto the black and white cover. A copy of Spiegelman's small format, full-color "Two Fisted Painters" was bound into each issue. According to a 1985 Village Voice article, "Raw 1 was printed three times before [Mouly] found it acceptable." Finally, out of roughly 5,000 printed copies, the official print run comprised 3,500 copies that met Mouly's approval. Several of Raw's initial contributors were cartoonists who Mouly and Spiegelman had either met in Europe or whose work they had encountered in European publications. Others, such as Heinz Emigholz and Patricia Caire, were associated with the filmmakers' collective that Mouly and Spiegelman had interacted with. Kaz, Mark Newgarden, and Drew Friedman were among Spiegelman's students at the School of Visual Arts.

Spiegelman: [Meeting Jerry Moriarty] was a function of being connected to the School of Visual Arts. Every time Raw would come up, they would say, "Oh, have you seen Jerry’s work?"

Uh, no...

"Oh, he teaches here, he's done this real comics-like stuff." And then seeing it and falling in love with it.

Mouly: We went over to his studio where he lives now, and he showed us his painting, and then we saw the strips, the "Jack" strips. And we had heard about it, I guess from Ben Katchor. And we were blown over by how great his work was and we had to really talk Jerry into how good those things were, because he was still at the stage where his real art was his paintings, and he didn't take his own comics very seriously. They were just, like, amusement. He couldn't help doing it, but we had to really argue with him about, "No, no, this is worth reproducing."

Jerry Moriarty: In 1980 I called Art to ask him to see the first seven pages I had done of "Jack Survives." We had students in common at SVA. I had not met him before. He and Françoise came to my loft. [The] first seven pages [were] done and I needed to know if they were the delusions of a comic fan or original. They said great things about them. I did not know that Raw # 1 was in the works. They invited me to be in it.

Mouly: We thought that there would be all those artists who were doing comics and just were not finding a place to publish them, and that actually wasn't the case, there were very few cartoonists that were doing comics in their books.

Design sketches for Raw 1's table of contents

But one of the things we learned early on, maybe Art already knew this, is how difficult it is, excruciatingly difficult it is to reject somebody once they have done something for you. It's not that hard if it's unsolicited, but... Our most traumatic moment was in Raw 1. We were in touch with Joe Coleman. He did something that he did just for us, and the first Raw. And the deadline came, and he still was not done, and eventually he came over with it, and he had to take a cab because it was raining. The idea of someone taking a cab, and spending the money on a cab, to bring his piece, and then we had the piece in hand... It just didn't fit. It's not like the piece was not good, it would have been perfect in an underground comic, but it wasn't what we wanted in Raw. And we really agonized -- agonized -- about having to call him up the next day and say, "Well, you know, thank you so much, but we're not gonna publish it in Raw." So eventually we did. It was difficult to be that obnoxious and to be that adamant. On the other hand, this is the first or second issue of the magazine so it really mattered, because it sets the tone in terms of what we were looking for.

Kim Deitch: At some point, [Art] called me in California and told me he was starting a new mag. He said he couldn't afford to pay and asked if I would do something... I said I would, but it didn't really work out. First of all, I was given the wrong page size, and second of all I think the two pages I did, "Coming Up Rosy," was too lighthearted for what he had in mind, but the latter thought is speculation only. The two pages ended up in Denis Kitchen's Snarf.

When Art sent me Raw #1 he enclosed a note in which he referred to the contents of the issue as "new wave", a term that was being much bandied about at that time. I was not greatly impressed by the contents except to say I honestly liked what Art himself did... My impression was that Raw was meant to be more arty and experimental than Arcade, which was more entertainment oriented.

Spiegelman: It was hard to figure out what the project was. It was much more intuitive than programmatic. We tried to figure out what a magazine could be, having learned some negative lessons from trying to launch Arcade. And it wasn't trying to make Arcade, but bigger... But it was part of figuring out what is Raw that isn't Arcade.

If we had known more writers, we might have had more literary content, although probably dealt with it more visually. A lot of times our verbal content in Raw was like, "Type would look good here, we've gotta make something that would let it happen, and then the pictures would drive the type." It's like the art director run amok as editor. But the whole spectrum that ends up being comics includes writing, drawing, and this other stuff that's somewhere between the two. And it's always all been interesting to me and to Françoise. So it's very, on the one hand, artificial, on the other hand it's been a basic part of me trying to navigate and figure out what the hell I'm doing, because I function to make single images over the course of my life, as well as panel to panel. And I've written without pictures. And all of it remains part of the, literally, the mix. And it never seemed divorced.

Kaz: I met Art after I signed up for his School of Visual Arts class, "Language of the Comics." It was my second year at SVA. I met Françoise a few months later when delivering work for the first issue of Raw at their loft in Soho... Art helped me find an ending for one of my strips, he told me to change a title on another, and he made me go back and redraw panels on one or two. Art and Françoise's editorial hands drove other cartoonists nuts... These cartoonists thought that whatever they drew was perfect (ironically they were more like pretentious fine artists in this regard). Since I saw Art as my teacher it was easier for me to take and apply his criticisms.

Extensive notes towards Mouly's first and only comic strip, "Industry News and Review No. 6," from Mouly's Raw 1 notebook.

Moriarty: We all worked for nothing because [Art and Françoise] made no money after production costs. Later we made a small amount when sales were picking up. Sometimes a comic careerist would go to Raw to show his stuff and want to know how much he would get a page and other professional perks. They were not called back. The point wasn't the money or the career, but the desire to see your work published in the best possible way. It was said that Françoise would throw her body on the printing press if the work was not up to her standards. That gives one confidence... she wouldn't really throw her body on the press but you know what I mean.

Spiegelman's hand-painted color separations and the cover of "Two-Fisted Painters," a full-color small-format comic insert in Raw 1.

Mouly: "Two-Fisted Painters" was something that Art did for Raw because he was reluctant to get started on Maus. It was a transitional piece between Breakdowns -- it was a piece that was in direct line with "Ace Hole," or other pieces, which talked about somewhat similar concerns. And "Two Fisted Painters" was done specifically for Raw because we couldn't afford color, and "Two Fisted Painters" was the equivalent of the tip-in. And it's like, OK, if you're gonna print this magazine, but you wanna have color, then you need a whole story that is about color.

Raw v. 1 n. 2
Cover by Joost Swarte (color by Françoise Mouly)

Editors/Publishers: Françoise Mouly and Art Spiegelman
Editorial Associate: Rick Gallagher
Staff: Kevin Hein and Mark Newgarden

Contents by: Jerry Moriarty, S. Clay Wilson, Bill Griffith, Caran D'Ache, Rick Geary, David Levy and Art Spiegelman, Ever Meulen, Mark Beyer, Cathy Millet, Kaz, Drew Friedman, Mariscal, Lynne Tillman and Scott Gillis, Ben Katchor, Mark Newgarden, Joost Swarte.

Published by: RAW Books

Raw's second issue included a package containing six out of eight possible bubble gum cards (drawn by Mark Beyer) and an actual stick of bubble gum. The cards' contents tied into a two-page spread developed by Beyer to provide context for the insert. The issue also included the first chapter of Spiegelman's Maus, incorporated as a small-format booklet attatched to the magazine's inside back cover. Each subsequent issue would contain a similarly-formatted chapter from Spiegelman's book-in-progress. Joost Swarte provided the issue's cover, along with color separations for the cover's border design. Swarte indicated a monochromatic tone for the image area, but Mouly instead elaborately hand-cut full-color separations.

Mouly: We did the bubble gum cards by hand. I printed these on my press, then we cut them all up, and then we had to do this insane thing, which was the random sampling of the bubble gum cards so that a different one would show. We were obviously inspired by Topps. We didn't really intend for people to buy twelve issues of Raw, which was an expensive magazine at the time, but we wanted that people in the store would open up the magazine and see a different card at the top. So we had to do some kind of random assembling, but making sure that we would get equal amounts of each card in each package. We worked it out... and it wasn't that complicated once we sat down to do it, and Art got the gum from the bubble gum card company. And that we did with the artists, just sitting around.

Mark Beyer's "City of Terror" trading cards, printed by Mouly and hand-assembled with bubble gum acquired through Topps.

Chris Ware: [One] day around 1983, I saw an oversize magazine sticking out of the back of the bin with the word "RAW" barely visible at the top. Hoping it was pornography, I pulled it out. Much to my disappointment, it wasn't, but I'd also never seen anything like it. I could tell immediately that it was something wholly different (maybe something "punk" or "new wave"?) and sophisticated in a way my Nebraska brain at the time simply couldn't understand ... but what was it? Reluctantly (for lack of the aforementioned prurience) I nonetheless bought it, took it home — and it rearranged my mind about comics forever. Everything about it, from the size, the lack of "humor" in it, the strange, serious subject matter, the drawings that looked like you'd cut yourself on them, was a revelation to me. I think Joost Swarte's cover of that issue had something of the effect that the Humbug radiation cover had on Robert Crumb; I studied it for hours, days, and weeks... I should mention here that the aforementioned cover of Raw #2 taught me practically everything I know about coloring using printing tints, and it was only years later that I found out Françoise had colored the whole thing herself; to this day I still make use not only of that basic pallete, but also the sensibility of the scheme, with the bright colors being picked out against a more subdued background; she's truly a genius of design.

Mouly's hand-cut color separations for the cover of Raw 2.

The issue includes two consecutive pages by Drew Friedman. The first, "Comic Strip," includes stereotypical images of African-Americans similar to Robert Crumb's "Anglefood McSpade." The second page depicts Spiegelman and Mouly taking Friedman to task over his uncritical use of racist imagery; meanwhile, the Freidman character's coat is stolen by an African-American character.

Mouly: Some people like Kaz were eager to work and rework, and some people like Drew Friedman had some -- this is something he submitted to us, the "Comic Strip" page, and it's true that it brought up a lot of issues for us, in terms of the depictions of blacks, and so on and so forth. It was our suggestion that instead of just slamming the door on us, that there was something interesting about discussing this. Like, it wasn't a matter of we were right and he was wrong, but that like a lot of those issues could, should be brought up. So it was our suggestion that he do a strip about the doing of the strip, and that we would reproduce it only if he was willing to incorporate that discussion. It's not something that he would have done, that's not what his work was gravitating towards. And it so happened that this anecdote is true, that his coat got stolen. Nobody knows whether his coat got stolen by a black guy or not, that's him reasserting his prejudices at the end. And he stumped us, because by the time he draws this "moral" to the story, I don't know that that's what we had in mind. On the other hand there was enough complexity in this that it was worth -- it was somebody that certainly wasn't taking direction easily. On the other hand what came from it was something that was worth attending to.

It must have been in '78 that Art did that outline for (A Suivre), and I think at the time that we started Raw it wasn't clear that he wasn't gonna be doing Maus for (A Suivre). So my proposal to him is that the constraints of (A Suivre) were too demanding, that it was a deadline that he needed, but that Raw could provide that.

Spiegelman: Basically from before we did what I thought was a one-shot of Raw, I'd already been chipping away at what I saw as this big project that I couldn't fully see the horizon of. If I had known there was gonna be a Raw 2, 3, and 4, I would have quaked, because Maus was taking up a lot of my time aside from occasional illustration work and weekly stints at the bubble gum company. And usually I would, like, oscillate between things as necessary, trying to figure out what we would have in the next Raw, how that might shape things. Françoise would be off on the production, I'd be back working on Maus, and then all of a sudden I'd find out almost invariably that everything was waiting for me to finish a chapter so that it could be included. So I had the luxury of a longer deadline than a lot of the other contributors, but while Françoise was already launched into the production aspects of it I'd be desperately trying to make sure that everything was in place for a chunk of Maus to appear.

Raw 2's inside back cover, with Maus attached; The cover, inside front cover, and chapter heading from the first chapter of Maus.

Mouly: There was a conflict, or something that we had to reconcile between the impulse behind Maus, which is a long book, and Raw. But Maus couldn't be done large size. If he had started doing Maus for Raw it would have become something else altogether in terms of the intimacy of the book. "Two Fisted Painters" was stapled into Raw. And theoretically we could have done this for Maus, but then Art didn't want that. It was more making manifest -- I know now they don't seem like they would have been such big issues, but at the time they were big issues. This is somehow, the way it's presented, it's not exactly part of the magazine. It's more like a supplement. And that was different if it had been in the center of the magazine... This is Raw, and it also has this whole other work.

Many of the pages in Maus's first chapter were either redrawn or retouched by Spiegelman prior to the 1986 publication of Maus I.

Ware: Inside... it was Art's first chapter of Maus that really grabbed me; Maus felt completely honest and real to me in a way that comics simply hadn't before, and I knew that I'd found what it was I wanted to do with the rest of my life. I went back to the store in search of other issues, where I managed to find most of them, and so was introduced to Gary Panter and Charles Burns, which rearranged my mind even further. Those issues of Raw and Robert Crumb's stuff were amongst the few things I deemed important enough to take from my adolescence to my University of Texas dorm room with me in 1985, and throughout my school years remained as a sort of "toehold" reference point whenever I felt my confidence eroding by the theory-based non-figural art many of the instructors were encouraging us students to do.

Raw 2 included contributions by Ben Katchor and Charles Burns.

Mouly: Ben was working in a typesetting concern down on James Street, and we met him through the SVA connection. He was amazingly reluctant, Ben. He kept saying, "Oh, no, this isn't any good what I do, I'm just a small businessman." But he did do a spread for the second Raw. One of the difficulties of Ben's work is that it was meant to be reproduced, but it was very hard to reproduce at the time. It was so hard, it was really difficult. But he was a typical example of what we thought there would be more of, which was artists doing interesting things in comics, and not really getting them published, although he was publishing himself. With Ben, we were on the same wavelength. Ben would have continued to do what he would have done whether we did Raw or not.

Raw associate Kevin Hein at the loft; Ben Katchor and an unidentified individual speak with Spiegelman; Patricia Caire.

Deitch: I'm not a big one for parties, but here is the most curious recollection I have concerning the Raw parties I did attend. I met Ben Katchor at one of them and got to know and like him, talking to him at that party and at several subsequent ones. He described himself to me as a typesetter and never told me he was an artist. At the time I always skipped over his work as it, at least for me, does not invite the eye. It was only later when Art actually stood over me and made me read some of his Raw pieces that I had to honestly concede that not only did Katchor have a unique writing gift, but that these strips of his were very good indeed.

Mouly: Charles Burns was less formed by the time he came... Charles I think sent us something, or, I think he rang our bell, because he was doing strips, things like this, but he had no place to publish. And the first place he turned to was us. Charles really was an example of the part of Raw, it's not the only part, but certainly... there had to be a venue. That was one of the impulses. There had to be a venue for people to do something because they weren't going to do it in their notebook. And it had to get looked at, they had to see people reading it, because comics is not just meant to, on the part of the artist, to please himself, it's meant to communicate, so there's got to be the other side of it.

Charles Burns: I had gone to art school, a fine art school, and I had some vague idea that somehow I could at some point make a living on doing comics or illustration or something, but I wasn't quite sure what that was. So I was living in Philadelphia at the time and doing my comics, and I had kind of put together whatever pieces I had into some kind of portfolio. So the people I had talked to in Philadelphia and other places were saying that I should go up to New York and take my portfolio around to various magazines... I was doing that. Nothing was really coming out of that.

Anyway, so, I would go up to New York, walk around with my portfolio, and the first issue of Raw had just come out... It was something that was kind of visible in the comic book stores, or the specialty stores that I had gone to. I remember that the first issue had some tip-on color piece, and everybody was kind of pulling off that piece to see what was underneath it. In the first issue there was a call for submissions, whatever, saying they were interested in submissions. And I realized that the address of Raw Books was right around the corner, so I wandered over, rang the doorbell. A slightly pissed off or tired Art Spiegelman answered the door. I had my little black portfolio... I guess he was in the process of putting out Raw #2, and he said to send Xeroxes, which I did. So the next time we made an appointment, so I went up and visited Art, showing him my big stack of comics and various things.

I was fairly isolated as far as people I had come in contact with. I didn't really know any other cartoonists... And I just got a sense that Art understood what I was getting at. Like, he got it, which was kind of a satisfying thing.

Raw v. 1 n. 3
Cover by Gary Panter (design & color by F.M. & a.s.)

Editors/Publishers: Françoise Mouly and Art Spiegelman
Production Assistant: Kevin Hein
Editorial Associate: Rick Gallagher

Contents by: Scott Gillis, Ever Meulen and Eddy Flippo, Gary Panter, Cathy Millet, Jose Muñoz & Carlos Sampayo, Françoise Mouly, Rod Kierkegaard, Mariscal, Art Spiegelman, Rick Geary, Meulen and Joost Swarte, Ben Katchor, David Marc and Scott Gillis, Patricia Caire, Charles Burns, Josef Schwind, Heinz Emigholz, Gerry Capelle.

Published by: RAW Books

Raw number three introduced Gary Panter with a cover and an interior Jimbo story. The cover image was adapted from a Panter comic called "Okupant X" after Mouly and Spiegelman considered and then rejected Panter's original cover design (a version of which would later be used for the cover of Raw volume 2 number 1). The cover's final coloring and design by Mouly and Spiegelman won a 1981 Print Magazine design certificate. The issue also included the second chapter of Maus and a long story by Muñoz and Sampayo, printed on grey paper stock.

Gary Panter: My memory is faulty, but it seems to me that Bruno Richard and Art and Françoise came into my life about the same time. Perhaps Bruno was the herald. Art and Françoise contacted me and told me that they wanted to use my work... I was tempted many times to send work to Arcade, but felt that my work might not fit, so I was very happy that they noticed my work in Slash and Wet.

Mouly: We had first seen Gary Panter's work in the L.A. Reader, or whatever that magazine was that was publishing at the time... and again Art has kind of like a sixth sense, a radar, so he was aware of Gary. And we made a trip, the same way we made a trip to Europe, we made a trip to the west coast where we went to Gary's house. It was clear that Gary really fit into what we meant for Raw. Here was someone who was really doing great comics, and those things were hard to find. Gary had a following among punk music or whatever, but most cartoonists didn't see his work. So we went over to his house in LA with issues of Raw, and, like, you know, "Let us publish..."

Spiegelman: There's a separate moment in comics' trajectory that indicates some new sensibility coming in. Gary was the clearest version of what that might be, as separate from what I'd known up to that point in underground comix.

Panter in Los Angeles;Spiegelman with Panter and unidentified individual in Disneyland.

Panter: I did new work for them. They gave me a lot of freedom and also a lot of advice and of course were very strong editors. I was working in something of a vacuum before meeting Art and Françoise and Bruno. Having this intellectual resource was and is wonderful. Also, they always believed in my work, which is very precious to an artist.

Mouly: He did a cover for Raw 3 which we then had to turn down until the second volume. As a cartoonist he was amazing, and as a graphic artist he also was amazing. And he was doing posters, and he was doing, like, covers for records, so he was a natural after Art and Joost to do the next cover for Raw, but then he sent that thing. It again fell on the other side of the equation, of putting down comics. It was too early, it was too soon. We were trying to establish comics as a serious medium. First of all, the way Gary had done it, everything was very hand-drawn, and it looked funky. And again, I know where he was coming from and I agree with him that that's one of the attractions of comics, but again, we couldn't get there yet. We hadn't accomplished enough. It was fine years later, but first we needed to say: "Take me seriously. Look at this attentively."

Spiegelman: [What he gave us] just seemed too casual for the intensity of the magazine that we were trying to make, which had a lot to do with certain things that were happening at Printed Matter: the art book as an object, the artist's book, rather than a book of art. I know that when we were doing the cover with Gary, we finally went back and took something of his and turned it into a cover... so that it would have a different, slower yield, rather than look superficially like a casual throw-away. Superficially.

Panter's original cover submission for Raw 3; subsequent mock-ups by Spiegelman towards the possible use of the submitted image; notes by Mouly towards a letter to Panter about the cover.

Panter: The duckbill cartoon character was developed as an idea for a Raw cover and I also did paintings of the image. I think I wanted it in B&W but color was wanted. Bruno did some wonderful cut-up color versions of the image, but none was chosen for the cover. Maybe a watercolor photocopy by me was finally used or adapted [for Raw's second volume]. The "Okupant X" image [that was used instead] was from the earlier comic published by Diana's Bimonthly Press, and colored by Françoise. I later adapted her color approach on a giant version of the image used in a Gannett billboard and bus shelter campaign.

The cover of "Okupant X," published by Diana's Bimonthly Press, and the spread adapted by Spiegelman and Mouly for the Raw 3 cover.

Mouly: He was a little taken aback, but the arguments with Gary never like were arguments. It's like, "Whatever you want," and then it was fine. He was surprised when we decided to do this rather than the cover that he had given us. But there's some discussion going on among all the artists, of how can you both take comics seriously and not take yourself too seriously. I think there was a desire that we shared to not become pretentious, and not lose the, in the Latin sense of the word, the vulgar appeal of comics. And Gary was great for that because he was able to do both. Like here, [in "Jimbo is Running Sore,"] he is talking about silly stupid comics, that's what he's drawing within the context of Jimbo, but the overall depth of discussion in the strip is astonishing... it's incorporated into a broader context. So yes, he was clearly the artist that had to be featured.

Design sketches for Raw 3's table of contents, from Mouly's notebook.

Burns: The only [other] place that I had been published at that point was this small tabloid out of the Bay Area called Another Room, which was a monthly, or bi-monthly... free magazine that was distributed in the Bay Area, but focused in on punk music and records and so on. So I had a full page piece that was appearing in there called "Mysteries of the Flesh"... I had maybe published four or five of those at the time. The "Dog Boy" story that appeared in that period, I think in issue number three of Raw, was originally slated for that... I think that was one of the pieces that I showed Art that first day, and he was saying, "Well, I really like this one, but you're already going to publish it somewhere..." Anyway. So as it turned out, I said, "Well, I'd rather be in Raw magazine than in this crummy little tabloid out of Oakland."

Jimbo (Raw One-Shot #1)
by Gary Panter

Introduction by Griel Marcus

Published by: RAW Books and Graphics

Jimbo was the first "Raw One Shot," a dedicated artists' book of comics published by Raw Books and Graphics. The book's interiors were printed on newsprint and the cover was constructed of corrugated cardboard. Black binding tape and a two-color Jimbo sticker were applied by hand. Greil Marcus contributed the book's introduction.

Mouly: It was part of the intention to publish books that needed to be published. Gary was one of the artists that best exemplified the core of why we were doing Raw. He was someone that was doing interesting work in comics form that wasn't widely published. And he could produce more than what we could do in one or two issues a year, and he had done some in Slash, so there was a body of work that could be collected.

So we had always intended to do books as well, and we wanted each one of them to be a different format. I thought that maybe we would have done the Mark Beyer book first... He also wanted to get his book published, and I don't remember the chronology directly, but somewhere around then is Three Mile Island, and fear of a nuclear disaster. That's very present in the Jimbo strip... We were scared! We were doing something with the intention of having a future, and meanwhile, there were politicians going crazy on us, and Reagan was talking about the evil empire, and the official policy was still MAD: Mutual Assured Destruction. I don't know when Three Mile Island was, it was traumatic, and we had all sorts of alerts from the radio to find brick walls and bottled water... One forgets that there was this moment of going to your bunker, like, hide below your desk and hope for the best! Where Gary was very much responding to this, and that work felt urgent.

It was described as a post-nuclear hardcover. Well, the world was falling apart. I mean, to me the central image in the book is "Can you stop the world from blowing up?" "N-n-n-n-no!"... That moment was very intense and that didn't seem right collected on beautiful velveteen matte paper. We wanted to keep something of the newsprint, of the urgency, of the ephemeral nature of throwaway newspaper. In a way it was a book that you would find after everything fell apart... The Japanese wanted to do an edition of it because he was having a measure of success [there], and they wanted to do it as a more beautiful, conventionally prettier book, and he was just as happy with that. But I think the one thing that he enjoyed was the fact that this book involved handwork.

I had gotten cardboard scored to the right dimensions... Most of the craftsmen I've worked with didn't enjoy being challenged, but this one was a difficult one because basically I got the binder to set up this machine that was not meant for this at all, to stitch cardboard. To stitch newsprint into cardboard. For the newsprint I went to a schlock printer... which was a web press, which I had never used before. And you don't control quality on a web press. All those were choices. I was forcing myself to live with the consequences of the choices, but also Gary's work could withstand this. I never would have tried this on a Joost Swarte or on many of the other artists, their work was too fragile. But one of the things about Gary's work is that it's indestructable.

We set up those signatures from the web printer that was more used to free supermarket handouts than art books. And then we, on the chain, we had them stitch it -- the piece of cardboard had been scored -- so then by hand we had to fold it. And then after that... then we put a piece of tape, which we then had to cut, and then we put the sticker on. And I think the sticker I had to print somewhere else as well. We didn't do that many of the Jimbo book. I can't remember, at this time we were up to 5000 of Raw, maybe 7500, I can't remember, so we must have done, I don't know... maybe 2000, 3000 of the Jimbo book. It still is a lot.

Spiegelman: For everybody we published, we'd be pain in the ass. For Gary as well, encouraging a more specific narrative trajectory. For better or for worse, it was always fun to see how [people] ignored it. I remember putting together the Jimbo book, of the pages he had done for Slash, and adding more things into that where I'd say, "You know, there are twelve places where you just totally drop the continuity of an idea, maybe you'd wanna consider doing some pages to pull some of that back together." And then he'd do it, but while solving the problems that were specifically listed, he'd create fifteen other narrative disconnects in the course of the page, and I was like, "Well, maybe that's great." We were glad to see it. Part of the reason perhaps that I now tremble when I think of being a comics editor is that I'm kind of a busybody that way.

Raw v. 1 n. 4
Cover by Charles Burns

Editors/Publishers: Françoise Mouly and Art Spiegelman
Associate Editor: Paul Karasik
Production Assistants: Kevin Hein and Wayne White

Contents by: Bruno Richard, Elwood Smith, Francis Masse, Doug Kahn and Sue Coe, Milt Gross, Gary Panter, Joe Schwind, Jerry Moriarty, Charles Burns, Lynne Tillman and Scott Gillis, Jacques Tardi, Mariscal, Bill Griffith, Ever Meulen, Art Spiegelman, Kiki Picasso.

Published by: RAW Books and Graphics

Raw number four featured a die cut Charles Burns cover with a second, full-color cover beneath, and a bound-in flexi-disc recording of "Reagan Speaks for Himself," a Ronald Reagan audio-collage by Doug Kahn. A thematically-related full-page illustration by Sue Coe appeared alongside the flexi-disc. The issue's editorial matter warned that the following issue's Pascal Doury story may invite censorship, and solicits subscriptions. With this issue, Paul Karasik joined the staff as an Associate Editor. The issue includes Maus chapter three.

Burns: I think that for each issue they were trying to do something unique. Each issue was kind of like an object in itself... so the idea was, let's do a die-cut, and what will that be? So it was a long process of me coming up with ideas, or sketches, and just kind of bouncing them back and forth. Coming up and showing my goofy sketches, and just slowly building from there... If you're gonna have die-cuts, it had to function in a certain way. Art's idea was that you'd have some image on the cover, [but] that the two images, the front cover and what was revealed inside, would be two very different, unrelated images. So it was like trying to figure out that, like a puzzle.

I know that at a certain point Art made it clear that we had to have Ronald Reagan's head on there somehow. And I was kind of opposed to that in the sense that, I'm not gonna draw Ronald Reagan, that's something that I would never draw. On the other hand, that was part of the whole magazine, the idea that there was this little record in there of "Ronald Reagan Speaks for Himself," which was edited clips of speeches that made this kind of amazing sound collage of him talking about cans of poisoned meat. So anyway, Art would say, "Well, yeah, you can just have a little Ronald Reagan dwarf sitting on the side of this table over here." And I was going, "Oh, shit, I don't wanna do that." Eventually I figured out a way of having Ronald Reagan in a framed picture on the side.

They also had taught me how to do hand-separated color, which was a necessity at that point because of the costs of shooting something from a full-color piece of artwork as opposed to working with a black and white original and then adding the color mechanically... It was a funny thing, I remember, also... I had done a color sketch for the inside of the cover, and there's like these big hanging pieces of meat, raw meat, that were going to be coming through the front cover for the Raw title. And so at some point we had a color guide, and I remember Françoise going in and pulling frozen steaks out of her freezer to try to match the color.

Doug Kahn's "Reagan Speaks for Himself;" Design sketches towards Raw 4's die-cut inside cover; Possible taglines for the issue's cover.

Mouly: Reagan was such a shock, because when I first came to America, which was 1974, every American I ran into was still under the shock of Watergate. And I always thought that they were childish, because they were like, "How could he have lied?" And I thought that was really surprising. "What do you mean? He's a politician, what do you expect him to do?" Coming from France, certainly you don't expect politicians to be moral, you expect them to be liars, otherwise they would never have gotten anywhere. It's actually interesting to remember this, because I think the shock of Nixon betrayed a certain naivete as to good guys, bad guys, and at the time the country was at the end of the Vietnam War and the Watergate scandal, [and thought] that a more just view of the world had prevailed, and the bad guys had lost, and had been caught lying and killing and so on. And then in 1980, Reagan gets elected. He was the parents or the grandparents triumphant. He wasn't in any way a progressive force. He was coming out with things like, cutting down school lunches, the conservative agenda was implementing. And all of a sudden it was like, "Wait a minute, we lost ground here! Like, nobody was watching the store and it was robbed!"

The flexi-disc was sent to us unsolicited... But it was a thing that was sent to us and that was so interesting, I mean, yeah, we wanna incorporate that. We had started out with this idea that, yeah, we'll try to put that handmade touch in every issue. But here is something that gets all of the senses involved, and the die cut, we wanted to do something that was well-produced, in the machine age, but also displayed the touch of the individual involved. It seemed like that was just right between mass market and handmade. Some of the parallel tracks at the time was what was happening with artists books at Printed Matter, and, before that, like Fluxus and what the artistes were doing. And we were interested in some of the questioning of what is art, but not the rarified air that they were breathing. So we wanted some of those challenges, and putting in an audio component was like: "God, we can do this!" Because who's to stop us?

Spiegelman: I saw the sanctification of Reagan when he died recently, and how that totally blanketed the media was one more moment of total alienation from American culture, to see how thoroughly things were re-written into this guy being a great President rather than the beginning of the great unravelling. Although I've never been as committed politically to any kind of programmatic assault on the culture, it just came with the territory of growing up with the underground newspapers and comics. And it just never seemed that separate, the culture and the politics. Look through the underground comics you'll find lots of stuff that wasn't political but somehow seems vaguely informed by a repulsion with Nixon and the Vietnam War, no matter what else was going on. It remains true here. And comics has never been easy to figure out: what's timeless, and what isn't. I ran into this most specificly recently with my No Towers pages. Like, how do you reconcile this vague desire for immortality that seems to come with the territory called "art," when the nature of comics is being in communication and responsive to the cultural moment? It's nothing we had to figure out one way or another, but it probably was accentuated by being able to meet an artist who was willing to work with us who was so absorbed by those issues, more than some of the other issues: specifically, Sue Coe. What she was complaining about, I think, was that her work would get used once or twice a year by art directors who wanted to win an award, and the rest of the time they would kind of avoid her like the plague.

Sue Coe; Coe's Reagan illustration for Raw 4; Coe with Spiegelman at a 1983 show of Mark Beyer's work at Danceteria.

Mouly: Sue Coe liked us because we bounced back her first draft and said "It's not mean enough..." And she said, "Oh, that's great!" She was being published in numerous magazines at the time, in Rolling Stone, or even maybe in the Times, it's before she had even a gallery or an art show. And when we got the record we thought, "Oh, OK, that's perfect, we'll get Sue to do the picture." And from that point on she came into the magazine and then she had the bigger project that she wanted to do. And she clearly liked the company and liked the challenge, and that was true for everybody. Charles Burns loved being in a magazine that had Gary Panter, and Art, and Kaz, I mean, just everybody that we brought in liked the company and the challenge that they posed to them. Not only that we were publishing their work, but it made them want to do more.

Paul Karasik: I think that I first met Art in the fall of 1981. By this time, most of the SVA guys whose work appeared in Raw 1-3 had already taken Art's class and had moved on. I believe that Newgarden was still hanging around as well as Friedman, Kaz. I don't actually remember these guys being in class so much as just being around... After the second class Art and I went out for coffee and it was immediately clear that we spoke the same language as well as the strong possibility that we could work well together. By the third class I had been called aboard by Art and Françoise, enlisted to help out at Raw.

Spiegelman: It ranged from, like, we've gotta find a place where we can buy plastic bags to put bubble gum cards, to, as we moved along into it, OK, another eighty submissions have come in and I don't have the time to go through it and deal with it, but could you answer these people in a way that won't make them unhappy, but doesn't necessarily make us publish it? … Those were hard things to pull off. It was like, we needed a staff, there wasn't anybody doing these things. There were color separations to cut, there was lettering to do for translations, there was paste up and mechanical in the world before Quark. And then there was the consequences of interesting, stupid ideas that had to be implemented. Like, if you're gonna rip the corners off of a cover of a magazine, that requires getting a lot of personnel together.

Raw's form rejection letter.

Karasik: One of my jobs was to go through submissions. The quality of submissions was unbelievably awful. Every 50th submission would be worth encouraging and from time to time someone will come up to me and thank me for not telling them to go to hell outright. It tried to be gently encouraging while clearly explaining that their work was not for Raw. It was nasty work, but Art and Françoise felt obligated to go through every damn submission...or, rather, they felt obligated to have me go through 'em all... 99.99% were really not even worth considering (a somewhat cruel yet effectively discouraging form letter had a photocopied advertisement on the back from Acme Recylced Paper Company with a box on the form advising particularly obnoxious and untalented submittors to forward their work there. This box was rarely if ever checked but stood there as an unspoken threat).

Mouly: With Francis Masse, we were reprinting something that had been published in France. He was published in most of the comics magazines that were being published in France. He's very hard to translate, that's part of the reason why he didn't appear right away. The other thing is that he disappeared around that time. So we actually went on the trail of Francis Masse pretty much from the moment where we started contacting artists with the intention of publishing Raw, but he was hard to track down. We had to have permission from him, obviously. And most publishers had lost track of him, and he was on a communal farm in Grenoble, Switzerland.

We would ask someone, "You publish Masse, could you give us his phone number?"

"Oh, if you find him, we have this money for him! Let us know!"

He was — he is a complicated person. He's still alive, he hasn't drawn, he hasn't published anything in a while. That was hard, not only to translate it, but also for each author that we were publishing, like Masse, whatever, we had to find somebody that would learn to do the lettering, because it's so much the handwriting of the person. It's very difficult to translate, especially with Masse, to get within the very crowded balloon. You get, like, multiple headaches with complex puns and layers... It means this, and it means this, and then it means that: if we can just get one of these layers, we'll be very lucky!

Karasik: I learned how to letter like Tardi, Caro, and Francis Masse. I am very proud of my Tardi lettering. But the guy who was the hardest was Masse. I lettered most of one story and showed it to Françoise who gently gave me the thumbs down. At this point I was caught up in the Raw work ethos. I certainly was not going to get fame or fortune out of this gig, but Art and Françoise were inspirational in their devotion to this magazine. I went back to work and taught myself how to really letter like Masse. This is tough because the guy has his own way of writing each letter of the alphabet. It's not just a style of writing, it's a way of writing. The next sample passed muster and to this day I can mimic Francis Masse's lettering should the need arise, which it does not.

Raw v. 1 n. 5
Cover by Ever Meulen

Editors/Publishers: Françoise Mouly and Art Spiegelman
Associate Editor: Paul Karasik
Editorial Associate: Rick Gallagher
Production Assistant: Laurence Mouly

Contents by: Sue Coe, Francis Masse, Art Spiegelman, Fletcher Hanks, Gary Panter, Charles Burns, Pascal Doury, Joost Swarte, Jacques Tardi, Mark Newgarden, Marti, Jay Lynch, Bruno Richard, Kim Deitch, Carol Lay, Mark Beyer, Meulen and Kamagurka, Justin Green, Jayr Pulga, Jerry Moriarty, Jose Muñoz, Giorgio Carpentieri, Tardi and Paul Karasik, Kaz, Marshall Arisman, Bob Zoell

Published by: RAW Books and Graphics

Raw number five bears a cover by Ever Meulen and features "Theodore Death-Head," a long story by Pascal Doury which displays, in its unexpurgated version, rampant phalluses. The issue's editorial text reads: "To avoid offending the aforementioned jerk, we've taken it upon ourselves to block out the 'private parts' of Theodore Death Head... So as a public service, RAW offers the genitalia as a sheet of stickers for readers to clip and stick in the privacy of their own homes." Interested parties were asked to submit proof of age and a self-addressed stamped envelope. The issue also includes a full-color, newsprint signature, which showcases Fletcher Hanks' "Stardust," a late-1930s comic book series discovered by Jerry Moriarty, as well as a series of short strips billed as the "Raw Comic Supplement." Includes Maus chapter four.

Mouly: Developing covers had been difficult, because the first cover Art did. The second cover, Joost did something and I sort of shaped it into something else. The third cover was Gary Panter, and he gave us something and we did something else. And basically we made the cover from a drawing and I colored it. The fourth cover, we worked closely with Charles. We really wanted for the fifth cover to be able to say to an artist: "You do the cover!" and print what they gave us. I know it's hard to ask, but we were like, "Oh my god, I hope this one works," without us having to counter what the artist is offering. And Ever Meulen was definitely one of the people whose work we wanted to feature. We'd done a couple of drawings of his, but he wasn't gonna be good for too many strips... but, I mean, how could you not give him the cover? And he really did come through. He did do a drawing that's hard to decipher, but it's truly a Raw cover. By then we had clearly presented our intention and our aesthetic, and the content and the form are in accord, there's no disconnect there between what we wanted and what he wanted, and he did it for us. And we agreed by then what Raw meant, and what the magazine meant.

He's got an extraordinary sense of color, so in order to get it right, he gave me a color sketch and I cut a ruby separation, which is a slight variation on the zipatone separation that I cut for number two, with Joost. I had to actually teach my plate-maker what I was doing. It wasn't that complicated, but it was something that wasn't used in offset printing anymore, which was that you cut a window, you create an opening for each one of the colors, and then you have to angle the tint. But I ended up stripping the whole job... they loved the fact that I was a French stripper. But it was a massively complicated job to strip because I had twenty colors, and each one I had to create. And I also was trying, because each one of those screens cost money, I was trying to not cut them. I could reuse them. But it took me a few days. I actually stripped there, at the platemakers, but I got it together. I was quite happy with that.

The send-away sticker sheet of Doury phalluses.

Kaz: They had to cut out the Pascal Dory penis drawings in one strip and offer them as stickers to the readers to apply themselves. Ronald Reagan's conservative shock troops were all over the culture at the time.

Spiegelman: It was serious. Everything about Raw was not having any obvious home territory. Like, it wasn't necessarily an underground comic book, it wasn't a magazine, it wasn't this, it wasn't that... And part of the distribution was through the comic book shops that were growing then, part of it was what was left of the underground distribution, part of it was on newsstand distribution, part of it was in bookstores. And at least in some of these territories we were travelling in, it was clear that that could thwart the distribution. That's what created it as an issue, as a problem. The goal was always to solve the problems, rather than just give up the hope of solving them, to not acknowledge the problem.

Mouly: You could really, really kneecap somebody for obscenity. We were concerned. On the other hand, it was interesting to see the difference between France and the U.S., Europe and the U.S. Because in France, if we had said, "Oh, we have to be careful about the publication," the French would say, "Oh, you got censured! Good for you! You're so lucky!" I said, well, no, there's no censure board in America, so it's not like you get the approval or the disapproval. But for them it was great because if you get your publication censured it was free publicity, and you immediately get people to come in and try to find it. And there's some very specific barriers in things that you can do, things that you can't do. Things are censured from being displayed on the newsstand, but that doesn't mean you can't sell them. In America, it's so much more ambiguous because there's community standards. So it depends where it's sold, because New York has different community standards than a small town in Alabama. And comics were especially vulnerable because of the association with children. When I was called in as an expert witness in an obscenity trial about another comic book, it was to go talk about the fact that comics are not just necessarily for children, which was the contention of the prosecutor, which is if it was comics, it was only for children.

This is my chauvenism: I like the French system better, where there are specific rules of censorship. So you know what you can do, you know what you can't do, as opposed to here where you have trial and error and you always have to watch your back, and basically you control people by getting them scared to take chances.

I must have printed the stickers myself, because there's so much sticker stock in the office. The sticker stock was difficult because it sticks. Or maybe I went through a sticker stock printer, because I remember investigating that. It was difficult at the time, obviously, finding someone who'd be willing to print that. We did dutifully mail out the stickers. We still have a fair number of them, so I guess not quite as many [people responded] as we thought. Some people did.

The cover to Mouly's Raw 5 notebook (with art by Spiegelman); List of possible subtitles; Invitation and photograph from the Raw 5 release party at Danceteria.

Spiegelman: To me, [running older work] is basic to what I understood a magazine to be. Maybe that's just because I read my Kurtzman and studied it carefully, and when he was doing his magazine he looked at older stuff and he included it... To me that part had something to do with wanting to make a magazine, but not make something that would go out of date. That meant creating a common denominator that wasn't temporal... And I was at least as interested in the old stuff that I was discovering as the younger artists I was seeing.

Moriarty: I found [Fletcher Hanks] in Fantastic Comics in the early 1970's at the Fourth of July comic convention in NYC. It was a cheap Golden Age comic (1939) and my eyes were bigger than my wallet. When I got the comics home and I really looked at Fletcher Hanks' "Stardust" I had to get more and I did and I did and I did. Art saw them and flipped. When he republished a story in Raw I think Charles Burns inked it and Françoise colored it, or it could have been Mark Newgarden.

Burns: This is, again, the days before digital everything. My memory is that they had made some black and white stats where they had screened out most everything, but I don't think you could screen out the reds. So I think, I can't remember exactly, I tried to go in and start touching things up, but it ended up being too much of a job for me... Somewhere in there there's probably one or two panels that I kind of cleaned up, but that's about the extent of it.

Kaz: [Art and Françoise] helped me with layout and inspired me to try different things. My strips at the time were creations of a "Kaz world" so there was no right or wrong in a way. The would help me to make my ideas more clear. But they were sensitive to the mystery in my work too and didn't want me to lose it. In Art's class he would critique my comics assignments and he was brutal in his honesty. He totally supported what I was trying to do but often I didn't have the chops and couldn't pull off my ideas and he'd let me know. My attitude was always "Oh, yeah? Well, I'll show him! Next time I'll do a comic that will blow him away." It gave me a goal... I did a two-pager that Art and Françoise didn't care for. Instead of shit-canning it I decided to rewrite and redraw the thing. They thought I was nuts to waste my time on it. When I was finished I showed it to them and they right away published it in Raw ("Zombies on Broadway").

How to Commit Suicide in South Africa (Raw One-Shot #2)
Graphics by Sue Coe
Text by Holly Metz

Design: Françoise Mouly and art spiegelman

Published by: RAW Books and Graphics

How to Commit Suicide in South Africa, the second Raw One-Shot, was a Raw-sized book with two-color interiors. All of the interior text was typeset.

Mouly: In our discussions, Apartheid came up a lot because it was vivid at the time. Again, it's hard to remember Reagan, but it was the time of Apartheid, and there was a fight to end it, but it wasn't ending! It was shockingly glaring, and something needed to be done, because there was no official position of the US on South Africa. It was condoned by the Reagan administration. And Sue had done a few pictures about this, about Steve Biko and the events back then, and what we decided was that we should do a political tract.... and it had to be grounded in fact. She agreed and we agreed that it would be new pictures, with some of the pictures that she had done, and it would be architectured around a thesis and a goal, which was to advocate a boycott of specific companies that did business with South Africa. It wasn't enough to go and complain about all the things that were wrong, but not indicate a direction of "What can you do?" So here it was like, "Oh, you know, actually, here there is something you can do, which is to boycott giant companies."

The cover and interior pages from Mouly's notebook for Sue Coe's "How to Commit Suicide in South Africa."

And ultimately boycott is what forced the companies to lobby the government and eventually brought about — once public opinion, especially American public opinion, turned against the businesses in South Africa, they weren't going to be able to sell their diamonds, and get all their other contracts, then they had to end Apartheid. It was as simple as that. It wasn't idealistic. It was like they can't trade with the rest of the world, you can't trade with America, then they had to change that racist system. Holly was someone that Sue came up with, a writer... but the writing would have to be at the service of the pictures. So it's not like Sue Coe's going to illustrate the book, this is the writer who's going to illustrate her pictures by grounding them in facts. This was along the lines of what I always wanted to do in Raw, which were like, illustrated articles and getting the content.

A set of four postcards by Joost Swarte: one of the last projects Mouly printed on her multilith press, along with a page of related budgetary notes.

Raw v. 1 n. 6

Cover by Mark Beyer (color by Françoise Mouly)
Publisher: Françoise Mouly
Françoise Mouly and Art Spiegelman
Design & Production: FM

Contents by: Komar and Melamid, Mark Beyer, Joost Swarte, Saudin bin Labutau and Art Spiegelman, Justin Green, Muñoz and Sampayo, Jayr Pulga, Ever Meulen, Jerry Moriarty, Ben Katchor, Mark Fisher, Charles Burns, Mark Caro, Mark Newgarden, Josh Alan Friedman and Drew Friedman, Gary Panter, George Herriman, Pascal Doury.

Published by: RAW Books and Graphics

Raw 6 includes a two-color newsprint signature — which includes a center spread by Ever Meulen — and Maus chapter 5.

Mouly: We liked some of the French artists, but the stories were interesting but just a little bit loose. There are narrative issues in the European comics... Actually a lot of European cartoonists work with scenaristes, which is different than here. There are plenty of people who I think would have become perfectly good at writing their own stories, if they had been in America. But because there was a market and there are magazines, there are people who have made careers of writing for comics. It tends to be more of the off-the-shelf type of stories. It's fine, but Caro did his own stories, which we definitely encouraged.

Karasik: The Marc Caro piece in Raw # 6 is an example of an artist whose work we wanted to use, but whose work did not... let's say, translate well. Art and I rewrote the piece frame by frame. In that case most of the gags, I'm afraid, are mine.

Jack Survives (Raw One-Shot #3)
by Jerry Moriarty

Editors: Françoise Mouly, art spiegelman
Design: Mark Michaelson, Françoise Mouly, art spiegelman

Published by: RAW Books and Graphics

Jack Survives featured a double cover, with an acetate sheet reproducing the black lines of Moriarty's cover image and a cardstock sheet beneath reproducing only the colors. The interiors were in black and white and flat color.

Mouly: Jerry, around that time, was very unhappy with us for his book. There was some kind of... we were forcing his hand. You know, he was saying this is too fancy. The cover was really about comics, and color separations, and the black plate, and outlines, and so on and so forth. He would have been just as happy with something on newsprint, and not something that was displayed in the way that was Raw-sized, and as fancy as this. There were two sides to the argument. On one hand we had people who were saying, "Comics are not worth anything, and they're certainly not worth taking seriously," and on the other there were quite a number of cartoonists, among the Americans (not the Europeans) who were saying, "Oh, it's all newsprint material, worthy to be thrown away." But people such as Ben [Katchor] and Jerry were very serious about their work, but they were ambivalent about presenting it in too elaborate, too slick a format.

Moriarty: They weren't sure of my commitment because of my reluctance to be a comic artist. I had visions of myself as a painter who had a passion for comics. Over the years since then I have understood I am both... a paintoonist.

I know nothing of designing a book. Françoise was the designer. I accepted her decisions.... I hated the cover and that was Art's only visible input because he was busy working on Maus. Art told me that the book was so easy to read the whole thing in the store that there needed to be some extra reason for them to take it home to keep. I wanted to do a typical 1940's comic cover. The cover had to be changed to fit this new idea. Since I had quit illustration I wasn't used to compromising. In retrospect I understand Art's point. If you see a Jack Survives One-Shot on eBay they always mention the acetate cover.

I only had thirty-three "Jack Survives" pages done and some ballpoint pen drawings and pencil drawings, so [the book] was everything I had. Six years later I did a couple of "Jack Survives" strips for the NY Press and they stank of knowledge. So Jack did not Survive his book. [I'm happy with how the book turned out], including the cover. It established me as a Raw artist... They promoted it brilliantly. Françoise organized the material and made sense out of random pieces and maintained the Raw production high standards. They gave me a real book.

Invasion of the Elvis Zombies
by Gary Panter

Design: Mark Michaelson, Françoise Mouly and art spiegelman

Spanish translation by: Yoli and Pierre Gonazlez

Published by: RAW Books and Graphics

Invasion of the Elvis Zombies, co-published in Spanish and English language editions with Spain's Arrebato Editorial, featured "Precambrian Bath," a flexi-disc by Panter mounted onto the book's inside back cover. It was the first in a series of three Raw One-Shots with a more or less uniform digest-sized, hardcover format.

Mouly: Of all the artists that we were working with, Gary was one of the closest to music. Music was an interesting world, and we knew nothing about it. I ran into a problem with the manufacturing where I tried to cope with a European publisher and have it printed in Spain, and that was such a mess because it got held up in customs. The customs business is one where it really mattered to not be a real publisher. I mean, I could wing it with my binder on Lafayette Street, my printer on Varick Street, I could show up at my platemaker and do my own stripping, I shot my own negatives. I could pretty much fake it throughout most of the steps in the grown up world, but customs clearing: I just collapsed. I think a lot of it had to do with bribes... I think they said that we had included something that had not been manufactured in Spain, which was the flexi-disc, and therefore we had to pay some taxes. And the people don't say, "Well, you were supposed to bribe me," usually. Eventually you figure those things out, but by the time you're into this it's much too late.

Raw v. 1 n. 7
Cover by Art Spiegelman

Publisher: Françoise Mouly
Françoise Mouly and Art Spiegelman
Design & Production: FM
Design Associate: Mark Michaelson
Aides: Thomas Bunk, Kevin Hein, Paul Karasik, Mark Newgarden

Contents by: Joost Swarte, Robert Crumb, Mariscal, Sue Coe, Lloyd deMause, Charles Burns, Mark Beyer, Art Spiegelman; Burns, Ever Meulen and Spiegelman; Grill Marcus and Scott Gillis; Francis Mass; Terry Yumura; Yosuke Kowamuro; Sugiuro Shigeru; Gary Panter; Tsuge Yoshiharu.

Published by: RAW Books and Graphics

The upper right hand corner of each copy of Raw 7 ("The Torn-Again Graphix Magazine") was torn off by hand; an irregularly sized corner from a different copy was then taped onto each copy's table of contents. The issue also featured "Tokyo Raw," a section of work by Japanese artists, many of whom Mouly and Spiegelman met when visiting Japan in 1983 for an exhibition of work by Raw artists. In addition to the sixth chapter of Spiegelman's Maus, the issue included a separate, two-color booklet reprinting Yoshiharu Tsuge's twelve-page story, "Red Flowers." The issue also included a long story by Robert Crumb, drawn especially for publication in Raw Magazine.

Mouly: We did go see all of those people while we were in Tokyo in 1983, so we managed to find out about them even before we went... We also very very early on made contact with Kosei Ono... Kosei Ono is a book critic, and a writer, and a scholar of comics and he's the one who put us in touch with Tsuge and, a really smart guy. So we basically made connections with the right people.

It's the only time that Tsuge published outside of Japan. He just won't allow it. He let it happen with a book that just came out in France this year, ten years later. It was basically because Kosei Ono vouched for us, and Tsuge gave us permission for "Red Flowers." And of course we had to do it as an insert. He didn't want it blown up in Raw, and he liked the idea that it would have its own format, that he would be presented. The reason that he doesn't want to be published anywhere else is that he contends, and I can see, if you read his books you can understand what he means, that if you truly want to understand his work, you have to go move to Japan, learn Japanese, and then you can understand his books.

Karasik: The translations that I did of Tsuge's remarkable tales remain the Raw work of which I am proudest. My close pal, Akira Satake, who is one of the best banjo players in the world and quickly becoming one of the best ceramicists, as well, was familiar with Tsuge's work and would do a rough translation of the story. Because he and I are so close, even though I do not understand Japanese, I was able to take his translations into vernacular English while retain what I believe and hope is the intonation and intention of Tsuge's original work. Footnoting the "Red Flowers" was Art's bright idea. It gave us a way of explaining the sound-effects, inflection and subtleties inherent in the original Japanese which would be lost to Western readers.

Mouly: It turned out that Tsuge loved the idea of having footnotes, we loved the idea of having footnotes. It was nice, we liked the idea of a comic strip with footnotes. It slows down the reading, which was the same project that we had as well.

Karasik: I recall clearly going to the printer's on Canal Street for the Raw 7 corner tearing party. We worked in shifts over a long weekend. The printers were absolutely agog, stunned that anyone would be crazy enough to destroy their hard wrought work.

Mouly: We were very happy at this point, really happy, to run a piece by Robert Crumb. You know, that was a measure of our true success, that Robert would draw something for us. It was a vindication because there had been some banter back and forth. There was no ill will, but there were different points of view. He was more than willing to say, "Oh, what are you doing? Comics are crap anyway, they're supposed to be read on the toilet, you're wasting you're time," and so on. So here the fact that he was willing to do something for Raw was great. It felt good.

Spiegelman: Well, he wanted us to have a good Jack Benny/Fred Allen-like feud. He loved that, just for the fun of it. But I think it was greatly exaggerated. It represents some obvious differences in temperament or aesthetic. But it was never really a feud. You'll have to ask Crumb why he agreed later but not earlier to be in Raw. On the other hand, we didn't want him in the first few issues, but I don't think he was petitioning to get in either. Having Robert in the first or second Raw would have really redefined Raw as being directly related to the comics that came before, as opposed to sort of related to the comics that came before. So as Raw had found a specific zone of it own, it became possible to [include] a lot more of the artist I was interested in who had become more identified with earlier rounds of avant garde comics.

Big Baby (Raw One-Shot #5)
by Charles Burns

Lettering: Susan Moore
Design: Charles Burns, Françoise Mouly and art spiegelman

Published by: RAW Books and Graphics

Mouly: I think both Gary and Charles got me started in that format at the same time, and Gary worked faster and was filling more pages than Charles was... And Charles also did strips for some of the Raw issues at the time, as well. It was really a pleasure because he was eager and everything moved very smoothly. We stopped using the Spaniards for production, which made my life easier.

Burns: Well, it actually came about because there was a series of books... It was a series of these little hardbound books that had a cloth bind, and I had seen one or two of these when I was traveling in Europe. And then I got in touch with the publisher and said that I was interested in doing my version of one of those books, because I just liked the format... It was Collection Atomium by Magic-Strip. Anyway, I had seen those, and I had actually started working on a story for them that never really panned out. I think maybe I had gotten ten pages done, something like that.

So I had discussed this with Art and Françoise, and talked about the format and how much I liked it... And somehow they had gotten in touch with a very small Spanish publisher that was doing a similar sized collection, so they got interested in that format as well. [Gary Panter's Invasion of the Elvis Zombies] was the first one. But that was the format and so basically rather than doing a book with Magic-Strip it was then proposed that I do something for Raw Books. By the time it came for them to publish it, they ended up publishing in the United States so it didn't have the cool little cloth bind, but it still ended up being a nice, interesting book... I was working on that when I was living in Italy.

X (Raw One-Shot #6)
Pictures by Sue Coe
Text by Sue Coe (with art spiegelman)
"Concurrent Events" by Judith Moore

Edited by: Françoise Mouly and art spiegelman
Design by: Françoise Mouly
Typesetting: Daniel Shapiro

Published by: RAW Books and Graphics

Mouly: I was very happy with the South Africa book. I wanted to do another book with Sue Coe. She said, "I want to do the autobiography of Malcolm X." I'm not as happy with the X book. I don't think she is as well. It's badly printed, and it's my first experience into full color printing... I still remember being on press and it died on the sheet, it just -- oh God, I can't look any more. It turns out, I learned, but too late, that the paper was no good... It was not that many copies, but I spent the entire day trying to get an OK sheet, and I went through all 5000 copies and never had a good one. But the book was, I mean, I loved working with Judith Moore, she did the text... Much easier than, for me, working with Holly Metz. I was less comfortable with Malcom X than with South Africa, to tell you the truth, as a concept, though there's a lot of interesting things, and it's a combination of factors.

Mouly's notes towards back-cover copy for Sue Coe's "X."

In 1986, Pantheon Books published the first volume of Spiegelman's Maus, compiling chapters one through six.

Maus chapter inserts from issues three through eight of Raw's first volume.

Mouly: The editor of Pantheon at the time, 1986, said to Art, right before they published Maus, "I just want you to be prepared, maybe we'll only sell 3,000 copies of this. But that's OK, it's a good book, that's all that matters." And Art said, "Yeah, that's fine. I just want to have it out before that movie ["An American Tale"]." And that was the goal. And I think we beat it by a few months... And then all of a sudden things got out of hand. Ken Tucker actually wrote something in the New York Times Book Review right before the book came out, maybe in June or something, but before the book came out, and that had never been done before, to write something about a book that hadn't been published. And from then, that started having an effect on Raw, but not until years later, actually. Raw had its own momentum. It didn't stop Raw's momentum.

Raw v. 1 n. 8
Cover by Kaz (color by Françoise Mouly)

Publisher: Françoise Mouly
Françoise Mouly and Art Spiegelman
Design & Production: FM
Assistants: Lisa Kleinberg-Elliot, Geoff Notkin, Santiago Cohen

Contents by: Bruno Richard, Marc Caro, Kiki Picasso, Kim Deitch, Leo Gorcey and Drew Friedman; Paul Boyet; Gary Panter; Art Spiegelman; Theofile-Alexandre Steinlen; Lorenzo Mattotti and Toni Capuozzo; Mark Newgarden; Richard Sala; Norman Dog; Baru; David Olstrem; Sue Coe; Jerry Moriarty. Ad Hoc Committe of Raw Gagz Wags: Tom De Haven, Ron Hauge, Paul Karasik, Kaz, Sean Kelly, Françoise Mouly, Mark Newgarden, Gary Panter, Art Spiegelman.

Published by: RAW Books and Graphics

Raw 8, with a cover by Kaz, was the magazine's first squarebound issue. The issue also included a newsprint section printed with green ink. This section included "By the Bomb's Early Light," a text about nuclear politics by Paul Boyet; a long, thematically-related Jimbo sequence; and the RAW GAGZ humor section. The issue also included a long story that was Kim Deitch's first major Raw appearance (he had previously drawn a short strip for the issue five's "Raw Comic Supplement"). The Maus chapter seven insert was the first appearance of new Maus material since the volume one's publication earlier that year.

Mouly: The reason Raw 8 was squarebound was because we wanted to grow, but we wanted to accomodate the almost inevitable growth. So we wanted to try it since we were capitalizing on the fact that we had a measure of success at this point. At this point I had help with my orders, with my advance orders, when stores ordered more. I didn't have to spend all my time box-packing. That's a lot of what Bob Sikoryak did, packing boxes, in his early years.

Possible contents and table of contents designs for Raw 8, from Mouly's notebook.

Kaz: They asked Mariscal to draw a cover for Raw 8 and they didn't like what he sent them. He wouldn't draw another one for them (for whatever reason). They called and asked me to take a shot at it. I did some sketches. They liked one so I drew it in pencil. Art asked me to make some adjustments. I did and inked it. Deadline was drawing near so Françoise asked me to do a color sketch that she would use as a guide when she did the color separation herself. I remember when it was done Art looking at it and saying that the drawing looks like it was always a Raw cover. Somehow I synthesized the Raw thing and spit it out onto that cover. I was over-the-top happy. I actually thought that the cover of Raw 8 would get me big paying art gigs. It didn't happen. I couldn't understand why art galleries and top of the line publishers weren't calling me. I just got a few more magazine illustration assignments that all now wanted exploding scenes. But I'm very proud of that cover.

RAW GAGZ was a section of gag cartoons cobbled together from disparate sources (often featuring images -- new and old -- with captions written by an individual other than the artist).

Spiegelman: We were gathering together lots of drawings we liked, some by painters. There were a lot of graphic things that we liked, and were part of the energy of the moment, but they weren't that narratively driven. And it would have felt funny to me to just publish a "picture portfolio." That would have felt like some kind of art magazine-like thing to do. So what we did was, we had all these pictures we wanted to use, and we tacked them up all over our loft. And then invited a committee that became the gag-writing committee... to just write gag-lines on post-its, and put them on whatever picture was up in the room that they could embellish with meaning. Essentially it was a bunch of people all wandering around with post-its, seeing what kind of captions they could write for these things. Although there were a few that didn't need any help, that were already captioned drawings, either from the past or whatever, there were a lot that needed the push into being something other than portfolio of interesting drawings. That was a great evening.

Karasik: Art and Mark Newgarden and myself [were] sitting around a table passing pictures around and coming up with captions [for the RAW GAGZ section]. The best ones in that section are largely by Mark who is a gifted gagmeister as a result of his brain being an iron toothed beartrap of gaggage.

Kaz: They stuck up a bunch of drawings that they liked (or thought would lend themselves to gags). Then a couple of cartoonists (I know Gary Panter was there) tried to write gag lines for the drawings while drinking wine. I don't think any of my lines were used.

Ware: One of the painting professors [at the University of Texas], Peter Saul, had been included in the "RAW Gagz" section of Raw #8, and when I discovered he taught there, I immediately wanted to talk to him, simply because he'd actually been in contact with Art and Françoise — at that point I didn't know Peter Saul had also essentially presaged and "prefigured" Pop art, a fact which is finally being realized by those who write such histories.

R. Sikoryak: I was going to Parsons at the time, and one of my teachers... was Steven Guarnaccia and he put me in touch with Art and Françoise. I think I helped out at the party for Raw 8 and that was the first night I met them, just selling issues, I think, that night. But Steven Guarnaccia, of course, had known them for years. He was in the RAW Gagz, and he probably contributed some way or another before then, but he was definitely in the Raw 8 issue. And I met them that night, and then over the course of the next year probably, that was about 86, over the course of the next year I was working for them a little bit at a time, here and there, once or twice when they needed some help around the office.

Read Yourself Raw

Edited by Art Spiegelman and Françoise Mouly

Published by: Pantheon Books

Following the publication of Maus, Spiegelman and Mouly began publishing in association with Pantheon Books.

Mouly: I moved the office from the loft to downstairs. I remember carrying the boxes down when I was pregnant, in early 87. I also had to establish working hours because I worked throughout, like, the last minute of pregnancy, but once Nadja was born I had a babysitter, when she was three months old for about four or five hours a day, working hours. So a lot of those things were very, very destabilizing. And then Art was totally thrown off his horse by Maus, in the sense that... he spent a few months giving interviews, and that was great, that was wonderful. And then he spent endless months staring at a dirty spot on the couch, doing nothing. Being paralyzed, just paralyzed... because he couldn't go back to Maus. That was difficult.

I was very disappointed actually with the things that I did with Pantheon because they didn't take Raw anywhere else. They basically retraced the steps I had done, with the book distribution. We went to the same stores, in about the same quantity, in a much more inefficient way, because I had sold Raw C.O.D., and there was no returns. And Pantheon sold their things the way every book is sold, which is that you publish more of them than you can sell, you put twice as many out in the store, and then you trash half the print run. And I just was so incapable of thinking that way. It just didn't work, because... it didn't make it easier for me, frankly.

A sketch and finished line-art by Spiegelman for the cover of "Read Yourself Raw."

Read Yourself Raw, published by Pantheon Books, collected nearly all of the material from the magazine's first three issues, including bound-in reproductions of Beyer's "City of Terror" bubble gum cards and Spiegelman's "Two Fisted Painters."

I went into fits of frustration with the production people at Pantheon for Read Yourself Raw, because they kept coming back to me and saying, "No, you can't have a different paper stock." Why? "Well, because we can't afford it." And we'd say, "Well show me your costs." And they would show me... I learned a lot, actually. They would show me their costs, but instead of saying paper costs $5,400 for that many pounds, it was this spreadsheet. Where the paper and the binding -- the PPB, the production, printing and binding -- was averaged over the electricity, the salaries of the editors, the marketing budget, and whatever. You don't enter a cost. It was so much more inefficient than what I had done so far. So much more costly, so much more restricted in terms of things that you could do. I finally got different cover stocks for the covers, and... it was all so hard. It was like I had to work through a whole bureaucracy to get the same numbers. It wasn't worth it. And the same with Agony, I mean, it was an easier book to produce, but it didn't feel like a step up. It was more like a step sideways, and it kind of broke my momentum.

by Mark Beyer

"A RAW Book"

Edited and Designed by: Art Spieglman and Françoise Mouly

Published by: RAW/Pantheon

Sikoryak: When I got out of school in 87, like May 87, I think I started working for [Art and Françoise] that summer more full time, and that was putting the map together. I think at the same time they were also doing production work on the Pantheon books. I think I cut some overlay separations for the Jimbo book, again, before computers, so they had one section that was two-color that I did some work on. Just following the patterns. No actual thought involved there. The map at that point was essentially paying for the publication of the magazine, so that would take three months of the year pretty much full-time, and that's when I started being seriously involved.

I had been doing a lot of comics without much direction, I would say. I was trying out a lot of stuff. I had majored in illustration and was really enamored of working in different styles and trying out different media. But my comics were kind of all over the place as well. Because I had met Art via Steven, I sat in on a class that Art was teaching at SVA. It was a lecture series that was probably about five or ten sessions. And at the end of that class we had to do an assignment, which was two pages of comics, one of which was a George Herriman parody that was in the SPX anthology a couple of years ago -- it finally got published, 15 years later. And from there I met Paul Karasik and Mark Newgarden, who were teaching at SVA. So I took their class and that kind of immersed me further into the kinds of postmodern comics that Art had sort of spearheaded for the ten years before that, fifteen, however long, Arcade time and that sort of thing. So being in Paul and Mark's class and sort of marinating in that further, what I did in their class got me into Bad News.

One of the things that I did for [Art and Françoise] when I first started was help them move all of the stuff down [to the office] and organize some of the stuff that was down here... That's sort of what I was doing at first. Packing boxes, and shipping, and selling the map... Keeping the gears moving. What I did for the map mainly was just sort of organize the information. I wasn't in charge of selling the advertising or anything, it was mostly production work and some, I guess, editorial organization. I wouldn't have thought I was the editor, but I think that was Françoise's way of giving us a nice credit.

Ware: Generally when I was drawing my college strip I'd have one or more copies of Raw out on my table, and I went through a pretty obvious Gary Panter phase, a Charles Burns phase, a Kaz phase, etc. — basically, trying to understand what all these artists were doing, and to internalize it all (i.e., ripping them off.) Thus, needless to say, when Art called me in 1987, I was so floored I could hardly talk to him. (This was shortly after my first horrible comic book collection was published, and I'd been unjustifiably mentioned in an article he'd seen about Maus in the Austin paper only because articles about comics in those days generally mentioned "the locals" who were also cartoonists, as if that provided some "hometown" angle.)

Mouly: With Chris it was really bizarre, because we got something sent to us, one way or another. I remember the piece of newsprint that was in the Raw office, that came from some other thing, with a piece of Chris's art on the back of the paper, and Art going, "Oh, what's that? This guy's good!" And it wasn't even a whole strip by Chris, and it wasn't what had been sent to us, and Art was saying, "Get in touch with that guy!" And, you know, this was too little to judge, but not for him. Not for him. So Chris's response was (now I understand the character): "Oh my god! No, I'm not ready for it! You can't be contacting me!" But he did send more samples of his work, and he was very abashed.

Spiegelman: Somebody just sent me an essay or an interview that they'd done with me for a Texas college paper. And the interview or the essay wasn't much, but on the back of it was just part of a strip: "Gee, this guy's good!" So then I got back in touch and asked them to send me some more clippings by that cartoonist, if he'd done anything else for the paper, and a way to get in touch with him. And whatever they sent me just verified: "This guy's really good!" And then… I called, and had this very shy, very self-effacing voice on the phone saying, "I'm not ready for Raw. Raw's what makes me draw, but I'm not ready for it. I'll be ready for it in a few years, but I can't do that now." He had this kind of notion of what the bar was that was totally based on his own over-achieving self, but not on the reality of what he was already doing.

Ware: I really don't remember much about our first conversation other than it signified he'd actually read my stuff and didn't seem to hate it, which of course meant the world to me. He also encouraged me to send him my stuff as I finished it, which I did, and over the following months and years he'd call up every once in a while to chat and, basically, simply to be friendly and encouraging. I considered myself probably the luckiest aspiring cartoonist in the world that he'd even want to talk to me, let alone bolster me; I thought of him as a mentor and the best education I could ever hope to get in comics; it never occurred to me that eventually I'd also end up considering him one of my closest friends.

Jimbo: Adventures in Paradise
by Gary Panter

"A RAW/Pantheon Book"

Edited and Designed by: Art Spieglman and Françoise Mouly

Published by: RAW/Pantheon

Mouly: With Jimbo, it's difficult for me, to separate the editing and designing. Jimbo was codesigned with Helene Silverman, I think, so there was one more person ... I mean, we had less direct input, and by then we were reconciled with, "Oh, standard format, OK, you want a standard format, you don't want diecuts and special paper stock. I give up on the production, tell me the standard that you want..." I wasn't trying anymore. They didn't want it. It's not like the artists had ever wanted it, and here the publisher... There's a role for the publisher separate from that of the editor, which is they want to make something happen. I had a hard time here getting any of that from Pantheon. "You want to do it? OK, go ahead." It's not the same things as, "Oh, god, we've gotta make this, we've gotta stun the world!" There's a kind of motivating factor, a good publisher can do that. Never got it with Pantheon. I mean, the way that Maus came in through the back door established a path. The kind of pat on the back Tom Englehart initially gave to Art, "You know, I want you to be reconciled with the fact that you're doing this because it's good, and it's like a poetry book, and it's OK if nobody sees it." It's very different from where we were at, which was like, "You've got to do this, it's a matter of life or death!"

Hard-Boiled Defective Stories
by Charles Burns

"A RAW Book"

Edited and Designed by: Art Spieglman and Françoise Mouly

Published by: RAW/Pantheon

On January 27, 1988, Spiegelman and Mouly sent a letter to potential contributors soliciting material for the next issue of Raw. "So we're actually gonna do another issue of RAW. It seems that everyone always knew this except Françoise and me... We haven't had enough free time to even think about RAW coherently and when we did it was usually to remember the production nightmares... On the other hand, RAW has gotten too solid a reptuation and too much attention to just drop it and walk away... So... we'll do it again. We've come up with a new format that has us excited: RAW 9 (actually RAW, volume 2, number 1) will be a 200-page 6" x 9" paperback... Considering our infrequency of publication, a 200-plus page book lets us show more work by more artists, and more than one or two longish narrative pieces... The new book size... is one our distributors will be comfortable with... But most important, it will let us present a thick brick of work, some in 4-color, some in 2-color, some on different paper stocks."

Raw v. 2 n. 1
Cover by Gary Panter

Editors: art spiegelman and Françoise Mouly
Associate editor: R. Sikoryak
Printing: Freddy Lagno

Contents by: Gary Panter, Ever Meulen, Charles Burns, art spiegelman, Justin Green, Drew Friedman & Mark Newgarden, Joost Swarte, Kaz, Mark Beyer, Kamagurka & Herr Seele, Tom DeHaven, David Holzman, R. Sikoryak, Kim Deitch, Richard McGuire, Jacques Loustal & Villard, Krystine Kryttre, Pascal Doury, Lorenzo Mattotti & Kramsky, Mariscal, Baru, Basil Wolverton, Ben Katchor, Edward Sorel, Georganne Dean.

Published by: Penguin Books

Mouly: The momentum was broken in great part by having a baby. And I really felt that at the time, with Penguin, it was one of those mis-steps, where we weren't that happy with Pantheon, either as a motivation factor, or as a distribution outfit. But then we ran into an editor at Penguin, and he said, "Oh, you're not happy with Pantheon? I love what you do. Come to my house, because you're just what I want to do, and this is great, and you've already done all the work with Raw, and with Maus, and this is so successful, and we'll do a whole line... " And this was the moment in editing when things started going corporate in the mid 80s. So the first question we asked him was, how happy are you at Penguin? How long have you been there? You're not going anywhere? "No I'm not going anywhere." How much autonomy do you have? "I'm like at the head of my division, I don't have to ask permission to anybody." So we jumped ship, we went with him, and within two weeks of us having signed on he moved on to another house. With a lot of apologies.

So we were left with no magnet, because the guy who wanted us was gone, so, like, again, this was ridiculous. At least with Pantheon it's like, "Oh, whatever you want, whatever," but here it was difficult and we ended up with another guy, who was a junior guy, very enthusiastic, he knew Raw, he knew the stuff, he volunteered to work with us, but it's not the same because he was junior, he couldn't make any decisions. He couldn't validate budgets, he couldn't put us on the front burner, he couldn't give us the production means.

I was doing other things by then. I was taking care of my baby. I was also studying neurobiology and taking classes at Hunter, which was pretty consuming. But it was somehow like the world had opened up. I wanted to try other things... There was not the urgency anymore... The messianic urge had abated because a lot of those people we worked with were now being published, and if I didn't publish them, somebody else would. Actually, I must say it was more Art than me, wanting to continue on the momentum. So I guess there the balance had shifted. Bob Sikoryak was very involved with that second volume of Raw.

Spiegleman: My memory is as pure as — and therefore as probably wrong as — every one was the last issue. I would do each one thinking, "That's the only one we're doing." And by the time the second, small-sized volumes were coming out, part of what re-energized me enough to want to make more Raw was, "Oh, well, with more pages we can have longer stories, and that can allow different impulses to come forward." And at the time Françoise was beginning to move towards studying neuroscience, and wasn't as interested in pursuing Raw.

Things seem to have their own logic at a given time, and at that point I wasn't getting as beaten up for being an editor. People just sort of got used to it… so there wasn't some kind of negative reinforcement of: "Head for the hills and don't do anything ever." Maus had landed well in the bookstores, but it took a lot longer than I expected for other long works to really come along and sit up there in bookstores. But part of that second round of Raw was going, "Well, why can't there be a visual Granta?" And it was a way to invent that.

Mouly: The second volume was more within industry standards. And it responded to a second demand, to another demand, it was accomodating things from the artists... it was like, give me more pages. It was also in a way because Maus had been published, and we had established with Raw that comics could be taken seriously, with Maus that they could be long narratives, so more the story part of comics, and less the visual part, so those volumes didn't have things like the Bazooka group.

R. Sikoryak served as Associate Editor for all three issues of Raw's second volume.

Sikoryak: By the time they decided to start up Raw again, I was pretty well ensconced in helping out in every which way around the office. My job and my job skills grew over the year, year and a half from when I started working with them to when Raw was actually in full gear. So it seemed kind of like a seamless growth in terms of my involvement. What I did on that first issue was things like, I think there were a few pages I did color separations for, I think there were a number of strips that I may have re-lettered. I did a lot of the production work on it, a lot of the photo-statting and things like that.

Spiegelman: Bob is one of the most amazingly humble people I've ever met. Genuinely. It's not like a pose or anything. So he saw what needed to be done, and he would do it in ways that I don't think we even noticed he was there, he'd just sort of be in a closet space piling books up because they needed to be shipped. So bit by bit his usefulness and his intelligence came forward. But I think at first it was just, "There's this guy packing boxes here all the time. Who is he?" We found Bob through Steven Guarnaccia who had been his teacher, and who he had interned to a degree with... "Oh, you need some office help? Bob could be good." And that, I guess I owe Steven Guarnaccia to this day because Bob's amazing. So it really started as invisibly as that, and it was only bit by bit that it was: "Oh, somebody's gotta letter this comic strip in English. Can you take a crack at this?" Somebody who can do a person's lettering style that accurately was there, and he was better doing that than packing a box.

Two mock-ups for Raw v.2 n.1's cover using Charles Burns' artwork; a photograph of the full-color Panter image eventually utilized; a mock-up based on Panter's artwork.

Burns: [My back cover image] was originally supposed to be the front cover. It just was like a process where I went through the stages of proposing ideas for the cover, and some sketches, and so on.... I think what happened, at a certain point, they just weren't ultimately happy with the final results. So they took what was originally supposed to be Gary Panter's from way, way, way back when... Basically, his rejected cover replaced my rejected cover, how many years down the line.

Sikoryak: I think [Art and Françoise] felt that the Panter image was maybe a bit bolder, and for the first time in real bookstores, having an issue of Raw, that maybe Panter's would be more iconic. And I guess it was part of the size issue. But I do remember them agonizing over that since they'd commissioned it from Charles. I think as much as they are involved editorially, they really hate to have to make hard decisions like that. But I think ultimately the Panter cover seemed more iconic and graphic for the issue, and I'd have to agree. I'm sure Charles might not feel like it's the same thing, but he at least got the back cover.

Burns: ["Teen Plague"] comes from, I was doing a weekly strip at the time called "Big Baby," and I was trying to do long, serialized stories. I was in about fifteen papers at the time, and each episode consisted of two tiers with a little recap by the title. I put it out in a serialized form, but my intention was that it would be put together, reassembled as a comic book story, in a full page format. There weren't any changes made on that, it was basically just... reassembled into full pages, I think the only thing I did was a title page, and that was it... As time went on, I think [Art and Françoise's] direction shifted away from things that were more purely graphic towards comics that were focused on the narrative. Those things just shifted, as did my interests, as well.

Sikoryak: Part of the idea of doing Raw in a new format was to allow the artists to do longer stories. And in some ways the visuals weren't quite as important as the stories were. I'm sure people would disagree, but I think in some stories there was definitely more of a focus on narrative. Charles Burns had been in issues before, but he'd never had twenty pages in an issue before. And when the books were oversized and would max out at a hundred pages, that would be kind of impossible... I just sort of feel like it shifted the balance a little bit in terms of narrative [from] pure visual impact.

And I think also having done Raw for nine years, by the point volume two number one had come out, there were a lot of new artists to sort of invite, and having more pages let that happen. I remember feeling like there was a real effort made to be more inclusive in a way, than the smaller-in-page-count Raws could really allow. And I kind of liked the idea that -- I think people who had been reading Raw from the beginning might be surprised at some of the people who were included. Lynda Barry, who did a couple of great stories for the small issues, hadn't been in Raw before, and I don't think I would have expected to see her in Raw if I was strictly a reader, but I thought having her in the mix added another dimension that I thought was just great.

A Raw v.2 n.1 book signing at a Manhattan B. Dalton's.

Mouly: With Richard [McGuire] we had been bugging him to do something. We were aware of his work and he was a masterful artist, and I was surprised that we didn't have him before in Raw. I think we knew him through his kid's books. And he was publishing illustrations as well. I mean, he was someone where it was clear that he was good, he was so smart. He was definitely a mature artist. He was something we'd wanted for a long time.

Karasik: Bad News #1 was a student project that grew out of Art's class directly. He reasoned that it made sense for students to work for publication. We learned a lot doing the artwork and doing the production, printing and distribution all by ourselves under Art's guidance... The second (and best) issue was a newspaper tabloid format that Mark Newgarden and I edited by ourselves without any SVA class or school involvement. The third and final issue grew out of the class which Mark and I co-taught when Art had to give up teaching regularly. We worked hard developing students work as well as bringing in some of our pals. There were several showcase pieces that glided over to Raw when Art and Françoise saw how good they were: Richard McGuire's "Here", Mark's "Love Savage Fury", a nice sketchbook page by Art. There were really no hard feelings, though, we begrudgingly agreed that this work would be better served to see print in the pages of the esteemed Raw.

Spiegelman: In a way, Raw absorbed my connection to the School of Visual Arts, but it wasn't created because of or for it. On the other hand, dealing with this small group of ambitious, but not in the economic sense, cartoonists at SVA, it was necessary to let people see their work in print... It remains important for cartoonists to develop. And it seemed like I could yank a budget out of SVA, that it let me make that the focus of the classes after the 101 class. As a result it would be easier to do that then to get everyone up to snuff so they could be in Raw — that just wasn't practical. A number of people in those places just weren't talented in that way.

Sikoryak: We were pretty far along in the process of putting the issue together and at some point Art said that he really liked what I did for Bad News, and if I wanted to do a page for the issue they would be open to looking at that. And that kind of completely terrified me because I was so in awe of what the people in Raw could do that I went home and came up with a bunch of ideas for different strips, and ["Inferno Joe"] was one of the ideas that I'd had. And I pitched it, and they liked that one and it went... At the same time I was doing this, one of the ways I was making a living -- When I did start working for Raw, I would only come in maybe once a week. But Art also hooked me up at Topps Bubble Gum, and I was writing gags for the back of Garbage Pail Kids and doing comp roughs for new products they'd be coming up with. And for a few weeks I was writing Bazooka Joe strips. They ended up re-starting the series and not using any of my gags, but for about, it may have been even two or three months, I was submitting ideas for gags every week. So I was thinking about Bazooka Joe a lot, in '87, '88, and that was probably why it seemed natural for me to do the "Inferno Joe" strip.

One of the things that always struck me about it was the amount of time that was taken to sort of organize the issues, so that one story would lead to the next, and how that would work out. And what the experience would be like even to flip the book from front to back, or even from back to front, and trying to come up with an organization for all of these pretty disparate stories that would be intriguing to someone just looking at it at a glance, and then maybe reading it from back to front. I don't know if anyone actually does that with anthologies; I don't do it myself that often. But the idea is that hopefully it will be an interesting read, consecutively, chronologically, all in a row.

I might throw my two cents in, but really all of the contents were picked and for the most part organized entirely by [Art and Françoise]. I know when we would go through the process of shuffling the order of pieces I might throw in my two cents. I was certainly happy to be a springboard, but it was also, I have to admit, kind of nice to not have to take the responsibility of being the editor of Raw, because they did such an amazing job, and I wouldn't want to mess it up for them. I know there was a lot of pressure on them to make each issue as unforgettable as possible. Like I said, I was happy to help make that happen, but I don't really feel like I could maybe make the kind of hard choices they would have to make, in terms of who to include, which stories work, which don't, going back to artists, saying, "Yeah, this could actually use some work."

I remember in the first issue, the story that Kim did about the Communist animals ("Karla in Kommieland"), there was this last page addition which I think for Art was the whole point of the story. But I think originally the story ended [on the previous page], and then Art went back and said, "Can you kind of pull that back into your own experience?" Because the last page, which is almost a freestanding story, really kind of amplifies everything that happens within the previous nine pages, and without it I don't think you really get a sense of where this is coming from. So it just adds this whole other dimension to the story. And that sort of thing, I don't think, would ever occur to me, to go back to Kim Deitch and say, "Can you do more work?" And I think it really puts it into a new context and adds another layer to it.

Deitch: Art was very involved with every piece I did. He was and is a very hands on editor. Working for him is no fun, but he is the very best editor I ever worked for… He always without hesitation tells you the truth as he sees it. He is confontational, but he also listens. You can win your point with him but you have to sell him first. I usually have some kind of fight with him over something any job I've done with him, but it's all so professional, and on issue, that I've never had any hard feelings later and I'm as thin-skined as the next guy. More than once he's coerced me into doing something I wasn't feeling a hundred percent good about that later I was glad about. I wouldn't trade my experiences working with Art for anything in this world.

Raw v. 2 n. 2
cover by Joost Swarte

Editors: art spiegelman and Françoise Mouly
Associate editor: R. Sikoryak
Printing: Freddy Lagno

Contents by: Mark Beyer, Lynda Barry, Jacques Tardi, Sue Coe, Winsor McCay, Jerry Moriarty, Drew Friedman, Kim Deitch, Swarte, David Sandlin, Chris Ware, Kamagurka and Herr Seele, Yoshiharu Tsuge, Justin Green, Boody Rogers, Altan, Spiegelman, Henry Darger, Jayr Pulga, R. SIkoryak, Ben Katchor, Marti, Richard McGuire, Charles Burns, Gary Panter.

Published by: Penguin Books

Mouly: Chris [Ware] didn't get to do something until the second issue. And one had to insist with him: "No, you must!"

Ware: I first met Art and Françoise in person after they'd (much to my amazement) invited me to contribute a four page story to Raw in 1989. That summer, I drove from Austin to Maine to attend a nine week art program and I stayed in New York for a couple of days on the way there; they'd asked me to meet them at the opening of an underground comic art show at a gallery called "Psychedelic Solutions," which was quite an event: Art, Françoise, Robert Crumb, Aline Kominsky, Charles Burns and others were there — all my childhood and artistic idols, basically, under one roof. I felt extremely out of place, a complete nerd; I remember thinking I had no business supposing I could even talk to or meet any of these artists, let alone contribute to the magazine which had basically formed my thinking about comics, but Art and Françoise were extremely friendly, treating me as if I was an old acquaintance, and they even asked me to visit their loft the following day, an invitation which I, quite nervously, accepted, but I spent a sleepless night worrying about how I'd surely say something stupid to them if I went, so much so I even considered not going, but I finally decided I would — and I'm glad I did, because it was probably one of the more singularly inspiring events of my life.

They were more encouraging and comradely than I'd ever imagined any other artists could be, all of my interactions with "real" artists up until that point having been the teacher/student sort; they showed me the first floor where they did all the production work, the Mariscal painting on their door, Gary and Charles' originals — it was amazing to me. I sat with Art for a long time in his studio where he was working on one of the last chapters of Maus; we of course talked about comics, and he showed me the Milt Gross book He Done Her Wrong (I was still doing "wordless" comics at the time) which was something of a revelation, not to mention just being able to see how Art worked. (Any young, aspiring cartoonist simply doesn't understand the degree of daily despair that goes into the "act itself," so it was a tremendous relief when Art told me what a struggle he still had with it every day; it made me feel as if maybe I wasn't so hopeless after all.)

They also left me, at my request, to sift through all of the Raw rejection files — which, in hindsight, was a mistake, since it sent me into a whole new spiral of self-doubt; nearly every single one of the books they had carefully filed away as "unprintable" seemed so much better than anything I was doing or was capable of doing! In short, I quickly became deeply confused, and spent the rest of the summer in Maine panicking about the strip I was going to do for them, finally so working myself up over the whole thing that I ended up redrawing one I'd already done before — which they were still nothing but nice and grateful for. Anyway, I was sure I'd failed them when the issue was printed, but much to my surprise, Art called up to ask me to contribute again.

Headshots drawn to illustrate the synopsis preceeding a new chapter of Maus.
Spiegelman: I'm annoyed at how little advantage Penguin was able to take from Maus. They just didn't know what they were working with, and didn't know how to put it in front of an audience. Raw finally was being distributed in book stores at a time when Maus had really made a genuine impact. I'm tempramentally incapable of saying, "You know, the next Raw should have like a giant Maus picture on the front and say: Maus Continues!" It was there, but it was really tucked into the spine of the book, almost. And I would have, on the other hand, been happy if the sales force had been able to deal with that aspect of things, because it would have gotten it in front of even more eyeballs.

Sikoryak: I remember with the Tsuge piece that's in volume 2 number 2 ("Oba's Electroplate Factory"), there's a page that was essentially censored by, I suppose, the Japanese publisher (pg. 102). I think they had tried to contact [Tsuge] to see if he'd be willing to finish the page, but he didn't seem to want to go back to it. But that was a case where it's finally in a place where you can get away with this sort of thing. Well, not get away with it, but we can show it the way it was intended. I don't remember how old this story was, but it's possible Tsuge just doesn't look back... Art had mentioned that they had this new strip that he did that Art thought would be just great, but Tsuge said, "No, I don't need it to be published in English."

Color corrections for the issue's Henry Darger feature.

The issue reprints in full-color "Babe: Darling of the Hills," a sixteen-page 1949 comics story by Boody Rogers.

Spiegelman: It was again part of the trawling for old stuff that was as interesting as trawling for new. I found it looking for old comics, and began to go: "Oh, he's weird." He was as weird as Basil Wolverton, but I'd never heard of him before. And then finding more of it. I don't think it was until much after we'd used it that I discovered that he'd written this autobiography, this small self-published thing... He's somebody who was an assistant for Zack Mosley, the guy who did "Smilin' Jack." The great thing about his autobiography is that he barely mentions drawings comics in it, ever. It has some illustrations in it, but just a few. There may be one anecdote about being on a hunting trip with Zack Mosley and heating up beans on rocks or something, but nothing much about his life as a cartoonist. But he was appearing quite regularly, and "Sparky Watts" was quite popular. That was his main feature, it appeared in something called "Big Shot Comics."

Raw v. 2 n. 3
Cover by R. Crumb

Editors: art spiegelman and Françoise Mouly
Associate Editor: R. Sikoryak
Design Associate :Dale Crain
Printing: Freddy Lagno
Aides: Eduardo Kaplan, Paul Karasik, Robert Legault, Ed Levine, Steve Marcus, Mark Hurwitt, James Sturm

Contents by: Francis Masse, Jacques Loustal, Cheri Samba, Ben Katchor, Kaz, George Herriman, Muñoz & Sampayo, Aline Kominsky-Crumb, Chris Ware, Drew Friedman, R. Sikoryak, Tom De Haven & Richard Sala, art spiegelman, Kamagurka & Herr Seele, Lorenzo Mattotti & Toni Capuozzo, Joost Swarte, Justin Green, Gary Panter, Alan Moore & Mark Beyer, Kim Dietch & Simon Deitch, Marc Caro, Lynda Barry, Krystine Kryttre, Marti, Gustave Doré.

Published by: Penguin Books

Mouly: Dash was born in December 1991, so whatever little time I had, there goes that... In '89, '90, '91 I was in school, so that also does mitigate the involvement. And ultimately it's not like the publisher really was there to say, "When is the next issue coming out? And this is so great..." I mean, yes, it was happening, but we didn't feel that it was having an impact one way or the other. And by then, there is also the straw that broke the camel's back, the publication of the second Maus... The Pulitzer Prize, which propelled Art into a household name, literally. It was so hysterical the way America can be, so out of control.

And there started to be around that time, ten years later, other venues and other publishers were starting to do things. In Europe and in the US, finally by 1991, 1992, other possibilities were more incipient and it suddenly didn't feel like... Nobody could have come to us and said, "If you don't publish me, I'm gonna slash my wrists." There were other people that were doing things. It didn't have the same necessity of, "Oh my god, we've gotta show this guy's work to the world and make this happen because nothing like this has ever existed before." And ultimately, the premise of Raw volume 2 was less valid, I think, than the premise of Raw volume 1. Raw volume 1 in its time and place wanted to show a wide range of work that had never been published before. Each was unique, and each was worth paying attention to. The premise of Raw volume 2 was that there were all those stories that people wanted to do, and there weren't. There weren't lots of artists doing stories. Maybe now it would make more sense. But there weren't a huge number of artists doing like ten, twenty, thirty page stories, short stories.

Deitch: I had worked out the beginning of "Boulevard [of Broken Dreams]," with my brother Simon, strictly as conversation, really just for laughs. It seemed like a fun idea but, really, we had no idea of what to do with it and I was knee deep in a lot of other ideas. A few days after that, I was hanging with Art, and just shooting the breeze I verbally ran down the beginning sequence Simon and I had worked out on Art. The expression on his face changed as I spoke and when I was finished, he said, "You know Kim, if you ever decide you'd like to actually make some money in this business, you might want to seriously consider doing that story." Well now. That indeed was food for thought.

Pages from a draft of Kim & Simon Deitch's "Boulevard of Broken Dreams." Notes by Spiegelman in red.

Another thing Art had recently said to me was, "I would run a 40 page story in Raw, but it would have to be a damn good 40 page story." See, me and Simon knew we'd need at least 40 pages to properly kick off this story. So, those two things festering in my brain, soon thereafter I went to Art and told him, we wanted to do this story. We wanted to do it in Raw and the first episode would have be 40 pages. Of course it took a lot more talking and showing to really put that over to him, and you better believe he was very involved in the 42 page sequence that eventually appeared in Raw and it was very definitely a much better piece of work because of that involvment. I can't remember all Art's input, but he did make us alter the exact sequence of things, asked for more childhood background about the two brother protagonists, and he asked for bigger impact at a climacting moment toward the end of the episode.

Ware: Of course, I panicked about that strip ("I Guess") for a year... especially since I'd promised myself I'd draw something new for them; I knew I couldn't do something anywhere near the caliber of Jerry Moriarty or Mark Beyer or Charles Burns or Gary Panter or Kim Deitch, however — I was still very young, unformed, and was painfully aware of it, but I also knew I had to follow my own ideas and somehow do my best to find my own "voice." It was one of the hardest things I'd ever done, trying to figure out to the best of my abilities at that time what was most "me," and then commit it, in all of its embarrassing detail and stilted self-conscious presentation, to paper. I never talked to Art or Françoise about the strip when I was working on it, mostly because I was so uncertain of my idea and my shaky working methods, which, given the subject, ended up being extremely "traditional," and, I feared, very "un-RAW-like." I knew that I didn't have good enough drawing skills to make something that had the level of originality and finish that I knew everything else in the rest of the magazine would have. On top of that, I'd hardly worked with words for years — which, come to think of it, was really my only advantage, because it all of a sudden I'd become temporarily sensitive to them in a way I never was before.

A page each from Ware's script and rough draft for "I Guess."

Anyway, I really, really didn't want to let Art and Françoise down, and the day I finally sent my "pencil roughs" of "I Guess" to Art, I had to stop my car on the way back from Kinko's and put my head on the steering wheel because I was sure what I'd sent them was terrible and they'd hate it and never talk to me again. Of course, I got home and the answering machine already had a message on it; shakily, I pushed the "play" button, and it was Art; his only words were "Chris, this is great! We're going to lead the issue with it." What a relief that was.

The only suggestions Art made about the strip after I sent it were technical, all concerned with readability, and every suggestion came with the tagline: "But don't do it if you don't want to." I wasn't ever asked to change anything in the content of the story or in the presentation at all, and all of the anxiety I felt about working on it was due my own desire to make something that I thought was up to the level of quality that the magazine had set.

In addition to collaborations between Muñoz and Sampayo and between Kim & Simon Deitch, the issue included two collaborations organized specifically for Raw: "Proxy" by Tom DeHaven and Richard Sala, and "The Bowing Machine" by Alan Moore and Mark Beyer.

Mouly: At the same time that we were doing [Raw v. 2 n. 3] there was another thing that was going on, where Art was talking to — I don't remember which publisher, but one of them, Penguin, Pantheon — at some point he got into this whole thing about one of the ways to legitimize comics was to pair cartoonists with established authors. Some of this you can see in the third Raw... we had a long list of artists and writers. And again, it was interesting, but all of a sudden, it was kind of like the other side of the mirror. Like here we were... creating things? It was... filling pages? It was somewhat different from my gut feeling.

Spiegelman: It was as basic as it was probably written in the introduction to the issue, trying to see if two heads — like two Germanies — was better than one. There's an aesthetic that I've held, which is one of the things that's most exciting about comics is that they're one brain. Like literary novels, it's just one mind manifesting itself. On the other hand, we kept coming across, first of all, the history of comics tended to, just for practical reasons, get people to work in a much more collaborative and factory-like situation. And then specifically seeing how good Muñoz and Sampayo were together, better than each of them separately. That led to: "Let's try to get some more of that going and see what it's like."

It was like wanting to encourage longer form comics, obviously, but it it was more like: "Why not?" There's writers, there's artists, let them see what they can do together, where it's not just like meeting a deadline and getting junk out. There were people we knew who drew really well. We weren't as interested in their stories, maybe if they worked with somebody else something interesting'll happen. It certainly wasn't trying to turn Raw in that direction…. It wasn't: "And from now on we'll have more writers paired with artists."

Cheap Novlties: The Pleasures of Urban Decay
by Ben Katchor


Edited by: art spiegelman and R. Sikoryak
Designed by: Dale Crain and art spiegelman

Published by: Penguin Books

Sikoryak: [Regarding a possible fourth issue,] one of the things I do remember was, that as usual, Art and Françoise wanted to surprise the audiences and also keep themselves from getting bored. And one of the great things that I was hoping would have happened, I think we were talking about issue four being a full-color issue, which, at the time... would have been the only anthology of its kind to be in full color. So I remember being very excited about that as a prospect. You have to remember, Drawn and Quarterly had just started at this point [as] a magazine-sized comic book, mostly black and white, I don't know if they were doing any color. And Fantagraphics would have its anthologies, like Snake Eyes, which some of the same people from Bad News were in, that was also entirely black and white. So there were some good or soon-to-be-good anthologies coming out, but the idea of doing something in color that would be for more of a mass market, but still have all of these people in it, all of these artists in it, was something I thought was absolutely thrilling. And I can see why we didn't do it, because it would have been a nightmare. Especially before computers, I mean, we were still doing color separations for these issues, zipatone overlays and that sort of thing... It really would have been quite a nightmare to put together, but I'm sure it would have been amazing.

Deitch: Clearly my opinion of Raw grew with my involvement in it. It was a marvelous experience. It helped to make me a better artist and I wouldn't trade that experience for anything in this world. Being a part of it was a tremendous experience and I was mortified when Art and Françoise decided to end it. I was just getting warmed up to the Raw experience and, poof, it was all over, just like that. I begged Art to change his mind, to let me edit some issues, whatever it would take, but obviously I did not succeed. So, there you have it.

Sikoryak: I can't remember when we finally said, "No, we're not gonna do a color Raw." Between '92 and '95 not much was happening. I suppose Maus II came out in '92, so Art was kind of sidetracked with that. And then, I think the book tour for Maus probably extended for a while. And then, of course, the New Yorker came along, or the opportunity of the New Yorker came along, so that kind of sidetracked all of us, too. I was still helping out at the office, but I was juggling a lot of freelance work. Not just at the New Yorker, but, you know, my burgeoning illustration career.

Spiegelman: At that point it wasn't clear that Raw should stop, but on the other hand I think that we had fulfilled our first contract with Penguin, and found something not disimilar to what we found with Little Lit, which is: Series aren't a good idea in book publishing... There's a kind of diminishing yield that comes in book publishing from series of books... Penguin started with 40,000 copies. And the second book they did probably 30,000, and the third book they did 20,000... And so there was a steady depletion instead of building. And by the time we were ready to do more with Penguin, they were willing to give us an advance, and make something that would be built on the idea of, "Well, let's see, we can print 12 to 15,000." So we were going back down to what we were [able] to do on our own. So my metaphor at the time was: You can either drive some kind of souped up jalopy that you put together from scrap metal and get it to go up to 60 miles an hour, or you can take the Lexus and drive it with the emergency break on and get it to go at about that speed. And we never got the full cooperation from Penguin that would have allowed it to go higher… The person who had the real clout to do something like that split. The result was that it was always going slower. And at that point it just didn't seem to be worth showing up for more of that punishment.

At this point, it's as if everything was far more visionary and conscious than it was. It's all as a result of the same impulses that got Arcade magazine going finally, and that got Breakdowns into the world, and that got me to pursue the kinds of comics that I was interested in. Bizarrely enough, I can see so much of what's going on now as having its gestation and birth in Raw magazine, as if it knew it was going to succeed in its mission. Kind of uncanny, because what's still seen as cutting edge is what was appearing in Raw number one and two, twenty-five years later. It's kind of scary that things move so slowly. But, from where it sits now, it seems like: mission accomplished. We did that in a void. We did it because there wasn't anything else happening, and there was a crying need for something to happen. So we by default were put into the position of doing exactly what we did. But the notion of comics as being something like what they're becoming now is just part of what I, even then, was calling a Faustian deal: Very specifically trying to find part of an existing cultural fabric that would allow them to be stitched in.

Mouly: Raw was rendered obsolete by its own success. And the goals were to make manifest the possibilities of publishing that had never existed before, to create a community of artists, before even there was virtual existence as a concept, a virtual community of artists... And we did the kind of connecting people that was a dream come true, I think for us and for a lot of artists. There was something exhilarating about hanging out with Joost Swarte and talking about how great Mariscal was. The common admiration society was so sustaining. We weren't imposing things on anybody, certainly, when we started Raw. We were realizing a common dream. We had found like-minded people who had all been isolated and somehow we were doing something that was like the perfect realization of what we all had in common. And that was exhilarating, it really was.

Spiegelman: I would say that the European artists weren't as dependent on Raw. They represented, and still do to me, the most ambitious edge of what was happening within zones that could accommodate that edge, because that culture doesn't have the same kind of resistance to it that we have. So none of them needed Raw in the same way. On the other hand, they were able to acknowledge and be grateful for the company it made them keep. Like, I don't think Jacques Tardi was thinking much one way or another about Joost Swarte, and I don't think Joost Swarte was thinking that much about Jose Muñoz, who I don't think was thinking that much about Mariscal. It did form some kind of very peculiar common denominator between those people that gave them, if anything, validation for what they were already doing in an environment that could accommodate their work as part of the commercial culture.

Most artists not only didn't know each other, but many of them didn't sit as high in their own specific societies' cultural firmament as they did a few years later. If I'm allowed to pat myself on the back, I know that my radar was really good... They each had this one common denominator which is, they ain't like each other, but they had something in common. And each of them set up their own turf.

Mouly: When we would go to France it's not like we needed to convince any Frenchman that comics needed to be taken seriously, but there were lots of very, very competent French cartoonists who did great work, but it was still genre fiction. Now when we went back to Angoulême, that scene is actually now much broadened by the impact... not just with Raw, but between Raw, and the impact of Maus, and everything which we did together. It would have been different if it had only been Maus. There was something about the putting in common people from different cultures, and different stylistic approaches. It's so obvious that what made Raw so great was the assemblage. And Art was quoting somebody recently, I think Ken Jacobs, who said, if you're gonna do a collage, every single piece of the collage has to be perfect. And I think that's what Raw was.

In the years following the magazine's retirement, the Raw name was applied to "The Narrative Corpse," a collaborative chain comic co-edited by Spiegelman and Sikoryak originally intended as a piece in Raw vol. 2 n. 3. The tall-format comic was co-published with Gates of Heck. Mouly and Spiegleman's "Little Lit" series of children's comics anthologies, with three volumes published by Joanna Cotler Books (an imprint of HarperCollins) between 2000 and 2003, are labelled "RAW Junior Books." In a December 2004 interview, Art Spiegelman said that Raw is "basically in deep sleep because it's not needed... As soon as other things started happening, it was a relief not to have to do it anymore."