Underground comics, what's the difference? Sure they're markedly different from the mainstream but what about the profusion of offbeat titles that have been slotted into nebulous definitions like alternative comics?
They share much with adult comics: there's profuse profanity in the Checkered Demon, there's voluminous violence in Trashman, and enormous nudity in Goodman Beaver. Perversity is a given and there's even a comic book called Bizarre Sex.
The thing that sets undergrounds apart though is their subversive text. Sex is not there entirely to titillate; it can also disgust or be shown as a tool for moralistic hypocrites. Violence is there to prove a point. Bad language is used in the service of the proletariat and blasphemy to shake organised religion from its pedestal. There is a political imperative in their parody and a cynical sagacity in their satirical stroke.
Underground comics are independent because of their anti-consumerist cant, and distributed in head shops because of their drug culture references. There are comic books depicting use of:
Unless they take a 'tut tut' line, they're grouped under the underground.
The thing that characterises the underground most is an unflinching honesty. Even the components of the subculture are open to ruthless interrogation while accepted mores are trampled into the dirt.