Unrestrained Underground Comix

Underground comix from the USA and Finland that revolutionized the comics world in the 1960s from the collections of Kari Elkelä.

Underground comix became popular in the United States in the late 1960s as part of the youth counterculture. Self-published underground comix deliberately broke the rules and, due to their eccentricity, they became favourites among young people.

In their heyday in 1967–1974, more than 800 underground comic magazines were published in the United States. The underground was characterised by blasphemy and questioning everything, not by offering solutions or preaching politics.

The underground also arrived in Finland in the late 1960s, and comics were published in small circles. They came to public attention when the Jymy magazine appeared on newsstands in 1973, succeeded by the Huuli magazine in 1976.

The underground has survived to this day as a genre supported by star artists such as Robert Crumb and Gilbert Shelton, who have continued to draw in an underground spirit throughout their lives, and their early comics continue to be republished.

The exhibition has been compiled by collector Kari Elkelä from his own collections.