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Spain Rodriguez, seminal underground cartoonist, 72


S. Stewart/Babylon Falling/2010


NEW YORK — Spain Rodriguez, 72, a cartoonist whose radical politics and hyperbolic macho imagery, presented with sly humor, were influential elements in the rise of underground comics, died Nov. 28 at his home in San Francisco.

The cause was cancer, said his wife, Susan Stern.

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Mr. Rodriguez was part of a wave of artists — including R. Crumb, S. Clay Wilson, and Bill Griffith — who established the irreverent, profane, highly sexed, antiwar, anticapitalist spirit of underground comics.

A voracious reader of comic books as a boy in Buffalo, he was highly offended by the Senate hearings that resulted in the censorship of comics in the 1950s, and his anger at the establishment never wavered.

In illustrating his tales of revolutionaries taking back the streets, often violently, from plutocratic forces of repression and corruption, Mr. Rodriguez drew motorcycles and other machinery, detailed cityscapes, futuristic and historical military scenes and hypersexed ­human figures.

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