What are the practices and techniques that different communities use to create value from the comic books that they produce, circulate and consume? More specifically, what happens when a comic book crosses the fuzzy interzone that divides one community from another? What sense of value, if any, travels along with it? And what is ignored or overlooked because, for whatever reason, it hasn't made it through the membrane? This article uses these questions in order to think about the work of Martin Vaughn-James, especially The Cage, published by Coach House in 1975. It arguies that that The Cage isn’t as singular as it might appear to a comics critic unfamiliar with 60s and 70s small-press output, and that the barrier between the comics world and the neo-avant-gardes is more porous than it first appears.
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