Hello, my first post here. I was informed of this forum from the Bukowski forum.
I'm an Underground Comix collector that recently obtained a copy of #1 (Fall 1967) of this counter-culture/underground tabloid newspaper that features a Burroughs article.
Wanted to know if anyone owns a copy. I've heard from Plymell that he sold a copy to a Burroughs collector that I suspect is Jed. Plymell doesn't even own a copy himself.
Here's some info. regarding this item:
The Last Times vol. 1 #1 (Fall 1967) by Vortex Printers / Charles Plymell on a light gray/light blue stock paper, not news paper. Measures approx. 17.5” x 11”. This is the original underground/counter culture tabloid newspaper printed by Charles Plymell with a 25 cent price, “I ran the Times to sell on Haight and didn't care for the religious new agey drawings and stuff in Oracle, because I had a history in art, music, and literature at the time.” He printed it in approx. the second half of September of 1967 (about 5 months before he printed the 1st printing of Zap Comix #1, also with a 25 cent cover price, after about a couple weeks finished on 25 February 1968 with approx. 3,500 copies printed, and a couple months before he met R. Crumb). Plymell stated to me that he printed approx. 200 to 300 copies of each issue (he later also stated about 500 copies, more or less of both issues combined). How many of these copies could have been kept and possibly survived? It contains the "lifted" Head Comix page from Yarrowstalks #2, the first R. Crumb work printed by Plymell (bootlegged), before he met R. Crumb and Don Donahue in San Francisco at the end of 1967. Plymell states “Prior to that meeting, I had been attending parties at Don Allen's, the West Coast editor for Grove, I was trying to get both him and Ferlinghetti to publish Crumb and was also working toward getting Keep on Trucking drawing off Crumb. The literary publishers seemed uninterested at the time, even though I was later paid well ($300 plus) a piece for a couple of poems that were illustrated in Evergreen Review by artists I never knew; I tried to introduce publishers to Crumb, but they had other interests (or tastes).” Plymell’s friend Robert “Bob” Ronnie Branaman (Plymell had printed a 8 pager of his work with not more than 500 copies in 1963 that might actually be the first Underground Comix printed or if not then the 2nd after Das Kampf by Bode in May 1963) helped put together the people to print the 1st issue of Zap Comix by introducing Donahue to Plymell and it was Don who then met Robert Crumb through Marilyn “Mimi” Jones (McGrew), a friend of Robert’s wife Dana, at a party in San Francisco in October. Donahue met Branaman after wanting to print the first issue of his tabloid paper called Momma-Daddie (September? 1967) featuring Branaman’s art (a Beatnik artist who painted while on LSD before most had heard of LSD). Donahue found Branaman who was also in San Francisco, who suggested he talk to his friend Plymell who was printing a tabloid of his own, The Last Times, which Donahue did. Donahue then had the printer of the Berkeley Barb and the Oracle print 5,000 copies of the tabloid featuring Branaman’s art, but after the owner Howard Quinn saw them with partial nudity he had them destroyed. Only 6 or 7 of the 5,000 issues of Momma-Daddie survived after Donahue grabbed them as he left. So it was about a month later that Donahue met and agreed to print Zap Comix #1 for Robert Crumb, who completed drawing it the following month in November 1967 (#0 was completed in October 1967 and was supposed to be the 1st issue, but the original art was sent to Brian Zahn of Yarrowstalks, because his suggestion of Robert drawing a comic book after the success of the all R. Crumb Yarrowstalks #3, printed approx. August 1967 (for which Robert was paid with 500 copies that he peddled himself in San Francisco). After receiving the artwork for what was supposed to be the first issue of Zap Comix, Zahn then went to India for 2 years. Luckily Robert had sent a copy of the art to a friend, William “Bill” Cole in New York (who would in 1968 print R. Crumb’s Head Comix by Viking Press) and got the those copies back to print #0 towards the end of 1968. The Last Times is so rare that Dez Skinn’s book lists the “Head Comix” page coming from Yarrowstalks #1 and Patrick Rosenkranz’s book states Yarrowstalks #3, so they may have never even seen an actual copy. Plymell states that he doesn’t even own a copy and knows of only one person (Glen Todd) who does besides the copy he sold to a Burroughs collector. The first issue includes articles/poems by William (S.) Burroughs "Day The Records Went Up", Claude Pelieu "Do It Yourself & Dig It", Allen Ginsberg (that's a picture of him on the cover) edited version of "Television Baby Crawling Toward That Death Chamber" and an early "Notes of a Dirty Old Man" editorial essay by Charles Bukowski "lifted" from Open City #20 dated September 14-21, 1967, so we know that The Last Times #1 came out after it (these essays where collected and release in 1969 to become Charles Bukowski’s first big selling book titled the same), along with writings by Plymell himself. Plymell told me it also has a Navy picture portrait of beat poet and City Lights bookstore co-founder Lawrence “Sailor” Ferlinghetti as well as some items by J.J. (Jean-Jacques) Lebel and Artaud. You’ll also find a couple pieces by Jeff Nuttall and Doug Blazek.
#2 "Final Star Edition" issue printed “days…weeks? Later” so probably early Oct. 1967, (also .25 cent cover price) in similar condition (complete with the mini-poster on right) that also contains a centerfold done by the Beatnik artist on LSD, R. (Robert “Bob” Ronnie) Branaman.
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