Lot 296 of 340:
Archive of Letters from S. CLAY WILSON to Charles PLYMELL  

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Lot closed - unsold
$5,000 - $8,000

Archive of Handwritten Letters and Postcards from S. Clay Wilson to Charles Plymell, 1990s

Wilson, S[teve] Clay





Lot comprises 17 letters, 17 postcards, and eight envelopes handwritten by S. Clay Wilson to Charles Plymell. Many of the pieces are decorated by Wilson with word balloons, elaborate hand-lettering, stickers, rubber stamps, and pasted-on images, some of them collaged. Most letters dense with writing. Also included is a photo of Wilson, Plymell and a woman named Linda and a Polaroid of Wilson's [?] back inscribed by Wilson to Plymell, his wife and cat. Excellent condition overall.

"I, for one, don't want to forget where I came from and folks who helped me along..."

A fascinating archive of letters and postcards from S. Clay Wilson to his friend and publisher Charles Plymell. Plymell was an early appreciator of Wilson's genius, and his influence on Wilson's trajectory as an artist makes him a critical figure in the development of underground comix. Plymell was the first to publish Wilson's work (in a 1966 issue of Grist, a poetry journal Plymell edited). The following year Plymell introduced Wilson to R. Crumb, and their longstanding collaboration in Zap Comix soon began. Both men are heroes and founders of the underground, and these letters afford a clear view into their friendship, one of the key alliances of the UG movement.

The letters, postcards and envelopes are extensively decorated by Wilson with tremendous flair and humor. The letters are written in a direct, engaging, funny, literate voice that perfectly captures the picaresque Wilson's charismatic persona. Subject matter ranges from the personal to the professional, from literary to low-life, and the missives are shot throughout with Wilson's humor, insight and magnanimous spirit of friendship. Topics include mutual friends such as R. Crumb and William S. Burroughs, women and sex, money matters, homelessness, drugs, Zap Comix, art and artists, and Plymell's cat Bear, who apparently wiped his filthy posterior on Wilson's trousers, an affront that Wilson can't seem to put behind him, as he alludes to it more than once.

"I don't consider myself 'famous'.. ain't made much progress in years.. no property.. living month to month.. I'm almost broke.. takin' various idiotic jobs to squeak by. Crumb got rich due to a couple of stinkin' rich collectors.. one in Paris.. one in New York (Alexander Acevedo.. has a N.Y.C. gallery.. offered $200,000 for a Crumb notebook). I hear stories constantly of various cartoonists getting tons of money.. ain't happened to me I know that, may never will [sic].. Robert Williams has people waiting years in advance for one of his paintings.. $30,000 a pop or so..." -S. Clay Wilson.

Consignments Accepted for PBA's Next Comic Book Auction. Golden Age, Silver Age, Pre-Code, Original Art, Interesting Ephemera Sought. Contact [email protected] for details.

PBA COMICS March 26th Comic Book Sale catalogues available. Supplies Limited. Softcover catalogues limited to 200 copies ($45 + $5 postage/handling). Hardcovers limited to 26 lettered copies, dust jackets, special limitation plates ($150). Contact [email protected]

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