Joyce recalls that the law-abiding Wilsons were "the absolutely perfect defendants for an obscenity case."

After a lot of saber-rattling and feather-fluffing, the D.A.'s office backed down from the prosecution, mainly because the representative from the D.A.'s office who bought the offending mag happened to purchase the last copy in stock and the ACLU had become involved. That left only San Francisco-based publishers, like Don Donahue (the printer/publisher of Zap Comix #1 and other Crumb comics), retailers like Gary Arlington, founder of San Francisco Comic Book Company, and cartoonists like Crumb and his cohorts to pursue, and the D.A.'s office knew that was a tough row to hoe.

In keeping with the spirit of the times, Joyce and Lyn kept on truckin', sporadically publishing nine issues of T&C between 1972 and 1987. After dealing with the threat of prosecution for obscenity, they put out two T&C comics with different titles, Pandora's Box and Abortion Eve, mainly to assuage consumers — and cops. Joyce would get to meet and mix with a number of important underground cartoonists who contributed to Zap Comix at the first comics convention, mounted by Clay Geerdes (later to become famous for his photos of The Cockettes and star of John Waters films Divine) in Berkeley in April 1973.

A young Joyce Farmer plays on the
irrigation pipe that supplied water to her
grandparents' Goodyear cotton ranch in
the 1940s.
Courtesy of Joyce Farmer
A young Joyce Farmer plays on the irrigation pipe that supplied water to her grandparents' Goodyear cotton ranch in the 1940s.
A wall of memorabilia in Farmer's Laguna Beach studio.
Kathleen Vanesian
A wall of memorabilia in Farmer's Laguna Beach studio.

Location Info


Changing Hands Bookstore

6428 S. McClintock Drive
Tempe, AZ 85283

Category: Retail

Region: Tempe


Joyce Farmer will appear at 7 p.m. Tuesday, February 22, at Changing Hands Bookstore in Tempe to sign her book and participate in a Q&A led by local artist Jon Haddock, co-founder of the Comic Book Creators Support Group. Visit

They included Robert Crumb (Mr. Natural, Devil Girl, Fritz the Cat), with whom Joyce has corresponded for a number of years; S. Clay Wilson (The Checkered Demon); Gilbert Shelton (The Fabulous Furry Freak Brothers); Rick Griffin (born-again Christian surfer artist responsible for The Man from Utopia); and New York's Art Spiegelman of Pulitzer Prize-winning Maus fame, and the man who gave the world Garbage Can-dy.

Farmer and Wilson became good friends. Joyce also met pioneering female cartoonists outside of the no-chicks-allowed comics club, like Trina Robbins (It Ain't Me Babe and Wimmin's Comix) and Lee Marrs (Pudge, Girl Blimp). She even remembers meeting Leonardo DiCaprio — he was about 2 — when she visited with George DiCaprio, comics publisher and creator of Cocaine Comix, in L.A. during the '70s.

Though the early '70s were a party-hearty time of sex, drugs, and rock 'n' roll, Joyce and Lyn "were not the kind of people who they offered drugs to — I had my bail bonds license to worry about and we had to drive home."

By 1986, Joyce stopped working for Ronald Kaufman and started her very own bail bonds agency, which, she recalls, took off with a vengeance. Within that 15-year time frame, I had practiced law as a personal injury defense attorney, hated the grind, left truth for beauty, and bought into a contemporary art gallery in Tustin, eventually leaving that behind as well.

Joyce and Leonard Kaplan were no longer a couple after an outwardly acrimonious split on April Fools Day 1982, though in truth they loved one another dearly. She couldn't take the lack of privacy that came with living with Leonard, who continually held court in the living room/studio in back of his shop, hosting a mélange of celebrities, artists, actors, pickers, collectors, and sundry ne'er-do-wells. (I remember being introduced to a Russian Orthodox archbishop one time and that, at one point, Lenny let a toothless, homeless guy live in a tent in his backyard for weeks.)

For his part, Lenny wasn't happy with the fact that Joyce would retreat to her beloved Greece for two months at a time, her way of escaping Leonard's artistic three-ring circus. Unbeknowst to me, since Lenny never mentioned it to me even in passing, Joyce and Lenny remained good friends until Lenny's death, with Joyce taking him to doctors' appointments as he battled lung cancer.

Leonard, an inveterate gossip and master at manipulating people, had a way of making you feel disloyal if you consorted with "the enemy" — or so I was led to believe. After Joyce and Leonard officially split in 1982, I rarely saw Joyce, though she wanted to keep our friendship going. Before responding to her Christmas card, the last time I had seen and spoken with her was at Leonard Kaplan's standing-room-only memorial at Laguna Art Museum in 2008. It took Leonard's death to free us from the invisible ropes with which he had psychologically hog-tied us — mostly me, if truth be told.

Almost 28 years later, we've re-entered each other's lives. I had completely forgotten about Joyce's close ties to Phoenix, the place I would move to in 1992 and where my career as an art critic really began. Had I stayed in Southern California, I never would have had the opportunity to write for New Times on and off for 17 years or for other art publications, both national and international, to which I've been privileged to contribute.

But Joyce's artistic career really didn't begin until after she left Arizona for good.

Joyce Farmer's connections to Phoenix run wide and deep. And when you know her history, you aren't surprised that she embraced feminism with a passion in its formative days. Three marriages ending in divorce (though she's been married to fourth husband Palma Goulet for almost 20 years), a rape, a stalker, and a whole lot of instances of someone telling her she couldn't do something because she was a "girl" made her a prime candidate for female liberation.

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It is such a pleasure to come to the New Times website and see Ms. Farmer on the home page. She has such lovely skin with an almost luminescent glow. Thank you for writing this article. I was not familiar with her work.

As for the naysayers who say that kids these days are uninterested in this genre, and are naive ignorant sad sacks when it comes to these kinds of publications, I think that you are woefully ignorant of the popularity of what are now called graphic novels which are this generation's underground comics.


can't understand why there would be an art critic in phoenix. there isn't any art here.

Crazed Country Acid Head
Crazed Country Acid Head

todays yuppies could care less about underground comix. those days are gone with the 60s and 70s hippie generation. the punks today dont even know what underground anything is. they are all ignorant naive mental sad sacks.

The Snoid
The Snoid

I have a collection of about 400 old underground comix from the 60s and 70s from all different writers and artists.

Self Help Guru
Self Help Guru

there is no culture here either or blues music culture. phoenix is just a very unsophisticated boring dusty sandy desert in the middle of nowhere looking for a city. but i love the sunshine, blue sky's and hot dry desert heat so i put up with this boring burg even though there is nothing to do here but ride motorcycles, swim and get skin cancer.

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