The first issue of the Real Free Press was of November 1968 - the business died around 1980. The height of the Underground Press. Hippie time. Run by Olaf Stoop and Martin Beumer, it grew out of the Provo scene and was the only publishing house I know of that ran on dope money. Their shop was affectionately known as boek en dopie among the clientèle. In the start, it was weed, but later this changed to cocaine, which took away all the fun: They never produced much after the Blue Lady really took over. The end really came when Olaf got busted in 1978, just about when we left Holland. After a series of solid quarrels, Martin went to live on Mallorca. Neither lived to see the New Millennium.
The RFP published The Real Free Press magazine, ÉHÉ-CATL, Witzend, original strips and reprints from some of the greatest strips, books, produced recordings, my movie Cosmic Comics, and imported comics, magazines, books, recordings; all definitely not only "underground".
As many artists, especially musicians, had exclusive contracts for Europe with other publishers, at Olaf Stoop's request I established the Real Free Press International Foundation in Curaçao, Netherlands Antilles to publish and distribute those guys.
RFP 1978 list
The Real Free Press magazine was printed in tabloid size. #1 had 5 sheets, # 6 had 6 (20-24 pages). No color. Almost all issues were entirely hand-lettered by Olaf. As far as contents are concerned, it's a strange hodge-podge. Olaf himself was a guy with great sophistication, and at the same time incredibly naïve. The RFP carries articles pushing scientology, something Olaf would have been dead against, had he but known. He was a True Believer in Arthur Conan Doyle's notorious tales of Fairies and fell completely for the infamous Alternative 3 and Illuminati hoaxes. On the other hand, that's where I first found Sprague de Camp's wonderfully skeptical books on mysteries.
Martin, an ex-sports instructor, was more together. Both were very nice people to get along with, while it lasted.
strips, strips, strips
A lot of the magazine was taken up by strips, the most obvious names being Robert Crumb and Gilbert Shelton. So, gradually, as Milt Gross would say, a sideline developed. Strips were reprinted, first in tabloid magazine format, Witzend (4 issues), which was followed by EHÉ-CATL #1, another tabloid dedicated mainly to Mutt & Jeff but containing many other classic strips. After that, most publications were in color, with a lot of color separation work done by Joost Swarte.
1973, The Incredible Upside-Downs of Gustave Verbeek
tobacco rolling papers
designed by Joost Swarte and Ramon de Sousa
records Jerry Samuels, once taken away
movies Cosmic Comics produced by Olaf Stoop director Harrie Verstappen based on the strip by Victor Moscoso
The book is not bad at all, but Olaf and Martin (who translated) were shocked and incredulous when I figured it to be a hoax. More on it here. Enjoyable enough, don't get me wrong. Joost Swarte did the artwork, which alone would be worth the price. Nice Work, If You Can Get It.
Well, you can now, after a fashion - I have produced this copy on CD.