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May 2024

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Robin Bougie: Lord of the Cinema Sewer
Featured Article

Robin Bougie: Lord of the Cinema Sewer

Robin Bougie is a champion of both indie comics and porn whose books, including two celebrations of vintage adult film posters (Graphic Thrills) and publications such as the grindhouse/ sleaze anthology Cinema Sewer, have garnered him a legion of rabid fans the world over. A lifelong collector and archivist whose writing and illustrations have been setting standards in ’zines and underground publishing for decades, Bougie spoke to us about a lifetime devoted to dirty comics, vintage XXX and much, much more. Can you remember when you first discovered that comics could be a little dirty?

Robin Bougie: I was raised by a single mom who was a hippie. Like all hippies, she had a pot dealer, and in the early ’80s when I was nine or ten, we’d walk to this guy’s house. The adults would have a good ol’ time upstairs in the kitchen, smoking up, laughing and yapping, and I would be tremendously bored, sitting there watching TV. The dealer and his wife didn’t have kids, so there were no toys to play with. At some point it was revealed that I loved reading comic books, so dude was like, “Aha! I know just the thing!” I was ushered downstairs into the basement where there were a few boxes of comics and left on my own to rummage through them at my leisure. A box of G-rated things I was familiar with, like Marvel’s Contest of Champions and DC’s Ghost Stories, and Barry Windsor-Smith’s Conan comics, but also a box of very unfamiliar sequential art which I would later realize were underground comics from the 1970s. Comics filled with sex, drugs, violence and weird shit. 

How did they make you feel when you first saw them? Like you’d stumbled upon something forbidden?

Absolutely. I figured someone must have made a grave mistake. Like, “Oh, they think I’m only looking at these comics for kids. They don’t realize they’ve let me look at this outlandish insanity, too!” They just wanted to smoke their doobies in peace, and I honestly don’t think they gave it another thought. It was the 1980s; parents didn’t stress about that kinda shit. 

“Those sex aliens stuck with me like flypaper on testicle skin! I was never the same.” 

Were they exceptionally filthy, or simply a little smutty?

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