David Geiser – RIP

Artist and underground comix cartoonist David Geiser has passed away.

David Montague Geiser
June 28, 1947 – October 14, 2020


From the obituary:

A prolific artist, his work from the underground comics early in his career to recent drawings such as “Snail Ridin’ the Mouse” and “Dog Boy (a Young Cynic)” reflect his not only his wit and the eccentricity of his vision but also his remarkable draftsmanship.


Continuing from the obit:

After graduating from the University of Vermont in 1969, he drove his Volkswagen bus to San Francisco.

Once settled in the Mission District, he met Gary Arlington, founder of the San Francisco Comic Book Company, and over the next six years he produced a series of countercultural comic books and designed posters for rock concerts at the Fillmore.

He left San Francisco in 1976 and spent two years in Paris, where he studied at the Ecole des Beaux-Arts, before returning to the United States in 1979 and settling in SoHo. He moved to East Hampton in 2001.


A 2009 profile reveals more about David’s underground comix roots:

Tapping into the characters that made up San Francisco’s scene, Mr. Geiser turned his artistic talent to comic illustrations. He met San Francisco Comic Book Company founder Grey Arlington and immersed himself in illustrations.

Underground comix provided searing commentary on the drug-soaked counter culture of the ’60s and ’70s. Generally self-published or published by alternative presses, the underground comix freed the artist to explore the era of sex, drugs and rock and roll as it unfolded, without the restrictions imposed by commercial producers.

Mr. Geiser published a series of underground comix, based on characters and situations he observed on the San Francisco scene. The number of issues produced ranged from 1,000 to about 10,000. The titles included “Uncle Sham,” “Demented Pervert,” “Honky Tonky,” “DTs” and “Sloppy Seconds.” His publication, “Pain,” was picked up by Bagginer Press in Paris and distributed in Paris and the U.S.


More entertaining is Comixjoint’s mini-reviews of David’s comix books (Varning För Snusk!).

Okay, I’m a pretty big fan of Dave Geiser, but even I think this comic sucks. I suppose we can cut Geiser a bit of a break, since this is his first comic book. Geiser’s drawing skills, which aren’t atrocious even here, and his composition skills, which ARE atrocious here, steadily improve through the years and radically improve by the time he’s doing Pain, Sloppy Seconds and Edge City.

and so on

One of Dave Geiser’s typical one-man comic books, full of drinking, sex with fat women and ugly, obnoxious people.

and so forth

another of Dave Geiser’s putrid and prurient examinations of American society’s fat underbelly...Geiser’s characters come face-to-face with their worst nightmares and greatest fantasies, and sometimes those are one and the same thing.

My recollection is of David’s Uncle Sham comix which, unfortunately, hasn’t got a Comixjoint entry.


Comixjoint concludes:

In the late ’70s, Geiser recognized the festering carcass that underground comics had turned into and he stopped drawing comic books. He returned to his original passion from a decade before and went back to New York to take up painting again. His long-term success (meaning his ability to make a living) with abstract painting is indicative of his polished facility with design, color and texture. His short-term success with underground comics helped him hone his observational sensitivity and bullshit radar. Geiser was one of a kind in the underground comic era. Whether you are grateful for that or yearning for more artists with his vision says a lot more about you than it does about Mr. Geiser.

Hamptons Art Hub has some humorous illustrations by David.

And David’s own website has more artwork, illustrations, and comix.

all art © David Geiser