By SIERRA RUSSELL
Aztec Press comics and illustrators have sparked imaginations, added humor and flair, created controversy and helped to reflect the times over the years.
Contributors were rarely granted much recognition. Typically, the most a reader saw of an illustrator’s identity were tiny initials scrawled in a corner.
However, the virtually anonymous artists captured details such as fashion and slang that escaped black-and-white text.
Many comic strips in the ‘70s contained terms like “far out,” “heavy” and “groovy,” often spoken by characters wearing feathered hair, v-necks and bell-bottoms.
Comics reflected the changing roles of women, too.
A 1973 comic strip depicted a scantily clad woman standing near a classroom, offering a young man “non-credit sexual education classes” — paid in advance, of course.
A year later, a comic showed a young woman standing with a sign reading, “Equal rights for women.” A man tells her, “No, I don’t think a woman’s place is just in the kitchen. I think they should clean up the rest of the house too.”
Comics also captured changing views on cigarettes.
Smoking was a controversial topic in the ‘70s. At the time, state law prohibited smoking in classrooms yet it was commonly practiced by both students and instructors.
A 1975 article reported, “Although the security department is charged with maintaining order, it is obviously impossible for their personnel to patrol every classroom to enforce the ban.”
It comes as no surprise that campus security was a popular target. One 1970s comic strip features an enormous figure dressed as a Western sheriff sitting atop a building.
A comic from 1974 shows a rabbit expressing his views on “streaking.” The illustration ran alongside an article discussing how students felt about shedding their clothes and racing through public areas.
At the time, PCC had been challenged by University of Arizona students who were streaking naked down halls and across courtyards. Streakers also raced through Tucson high schools, including Sahuaro and Canyon del Oro.
“Streaking is nothing new,” reporter Lynn Rogalsky wrote. “This exhilarating practice has been around ever since man appeared on the planet.”
Rogalsky said 60 percent of students polled said they would never streak. Some cited religious reasons and others said they were too modest.
A student who chose to remain anonymous said he would streak, but “only in warm weather. Also to protest the ridiculous uptightness of a society that seems to be against anything free or unlimited. I’d streak in front of the White House; what would be more symbolic?”
Janos Molnar said he declined the idea of streaking because, “All streakers are not created equal.”
On a similar note, Jeff Boltman said, “I’d only streak in my house, from the bathroom to my bedroom, with the curtains drawn.”
And Mike McQuade said, “I don’t think the pressure of the world has driven me to that extreme … yet.”