It is being reported that Al Goldstein, original publisher of pornographic magazine Screw, died yesterday, in hospital, aged 77.
We haven’t been able to independently confirm this news. But we do know he was sick in hospital.
UPDATE: Larry “Ratso” Sloman, best known for his work with Howard Stern contacts BC to tell us that, despite a number of reports of his death, Goldstein is very much alive and stable, though confirms he is in hospital, and that he met him with Penn Jillette last night. He did however thank BC for noting his importance to comics.
Screw was hugely important to a lot of cartoonists and illustrators. Goldstein kept a lot of old underground cartoonists and future top illustrators in work, and in pay, in difficult times. He published Robert Crumb, Milton Knight, Brad Holland, Danny Hellman, Bob Fingerman, John Holmstrom, Wally Wood, Art Spiegelman, Danny Hellman, Spain Rodriguez, Peter Bagge and many more. He didn’t have to publish comics to sell the paper, but he wanted to. A wide circle of friends, cartoonists report meeting the likes of Bill Gaines, Buck Henry and Liz Smith at his parties. Penn Jillette was one of his final vistors in hospital.
Publishing years before Hustler, his magazine went through similar battles, and Goldstein was arrested over twenty times for indecency, but his court cases ended up changing state laws. He was sued for five million dollars by Alabama Governor George Wallace (before settling for $12,500 and an apology). He was also jailed for six days after being found guilty of harassing a former employee, before his sentence was being overturned on appeal.
Al appears on this cover by Danny Hellman, sitting on Jesus’ right hand. Not literally, of course. See many more covers here…