The evolution of underground comix into a popular art form will be the focus of the latest Lawrence University visiting artists series lecture.

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James Danky, who teaches in the University of Wisconsin School of Journalism and Mass Communication, presents “Underground Classics: The Transformation of Comics into Comix” Thursday, March 4 at 4:30 p.m. in the Wriston Art Center auditorium. The event is free and open to the public.

The presentation is based on Danky’s 2009 book of the same name. The book, co-written with Denis Kitchen, explores the work of generations of cartoonists, the impact of American underground comix on the economics of mainstream comic book publishing and their influence on modern culture.

Underground comix — small press or self-published, socially relevant or satirical comic books — gained popularity in the late 1960s and early ’70s in the United States and Great Britain. They often include content forbidden by the Comics Code Authority. Danky’s new book is the first serious survey of this often overlooked art form.

Danky is the founder and director of the Center for the History of Print Culture in Modern America at UW-Madison. He spent 35 years as newspapers and periodicals librarian for the Wisconsin Historical Society, developing a nationally recognized collection in the field of American History, before retiring in 2007. He has written or edited dozens of books on topics ranging from African American newspapers to women’s publications to the Native American press.

His appearance is supported by the department of art and art history.