I just finished reading Underground Classics: The Transformation of Comics to Comix 1963-1990, which was released in connection with an exhibition at Chazen Museum of Art in Madison, Wisconsin a year ago. See http://www.chazen.wisc.edu/Exhibitions/PressRelease.asp?PID=141&date=May%202%20to%20July%2012,%202009&loc=Brittingham%20Galleries%20VI%20&%20VII. The Underground Comix did not spring fully formed from the mind of R. Crumb in Zap Comix in 1967. As this exhibition makes clear there is a comics and art tradition upon which underground comix artists drew from and rebelled against.
Underground Classics mentions Mad, Dada, God's Nose, The Realist, Goya, Tijuana Bibles, pulp men's mags and books, E.C. and DC Comics, Disney, Pop Art, Abstract Expressionism. The list of influences and precursors is endless.
But what about the little magazines of the Mimeograph Revoultion. There is mention of the underground newspaper but little if anything about the little magazine. Underground Classics states that Charles Plymell printed the first issue of Zap, but there is nothing that links Plymell to his other publishing efforts like Now, The Last Times, Coldspring Journal, or Cherry Valley Editions in general.
In Numbers: Serial Publications by Artists, for its entry on C Comics, suggests that New York School of artists and poets working in mimeo were at the ground floor for the underground comix movement. Let me throw Jeff Nuttall into the pot as well. My Own Mag featured a comix in every issue, entitled Perfume Jack, as well as numerous other comix by Nuttall. The cover of the British Issue of My Own Mag above would fit right in with the work on display at the University of Wisconsin - Madison. Interestingly, the first organized exhibition of underground comix happened at Peace Eye Bookstore in 1968, the Avenue A location. Spain Rodriguez of Trashman fame designed the storefront.
I am surprised that the curators at Wisconsin did not make this link more apparent (maybe mimeo mags like C Comics, Fuck You, My Own Mag were at the exhibition); the Madison library has extensive holdings in little magazines and mimeo, in fact the little magazine collection is one of the library's strengths with over 7000 titles: see http://memorial.library.wisc.edu/collections/littlemags.html. When I went to the University of Buffalo last year, which also has a little magazine collection as its core, there was a Spain Rodriguez exhibit in the Special Collections room. The connection is there and should be made. The little mags and underground comix were twin soldiers in the literary and artistic revolutions of the post -WWII era.