Debuting in 1982, Cherry Poptart was the creation of artist and writer Larry Welz and originally published by San Francisco underground comic publishing giant, Last Gasp Books, who, I’m pleased to state, are still in operation today.
Last Gasp editor-in-chief, Ron Turner, tells me the character Cherry Poptart actually got her beginnings in Bakersfield Kountry Komics. According to Ron, it was after catching her there, that he got Welz and his colleague, artist Larry Sutherland, who were both originally from Bakersfield, where Bakersfield Kountry Komics was published, to “commemorate that lovely San Joaquin Valley shithole.”
The title character, described as “blonde, cute, sexy, fun, friendly, and smart,” (in addition to always braless, very openly bisexual, and eternally 18) was ranked #82 in the Comic Buyer’s Guide’s 100 Sexiest Women in Comics.
Shortly after the second issue hit the stands in January of 1985, the Kellog company (the makers of Pop-Tarts® toaster pastries) got wind of the buxom blonde comic cutie, and threatened legal action against Welz and Turner if they continued to use their trademarked name. Because of that, the title of the book was shortened to just Cherry by the third issue and the character’s surname changed from “Poptart” to “Popstar.” Above is the cover of issue #1. I’ve seen prices on this one ranging from a few bucks for one in fair condition to well over a grand for one in mint condition.
Cherry’s family consisted of her younger sister Cinnamon, who only appeared in one issue (#2) in a non-sexual role, due to her age, and her mom Pepper, who was a MILF long before the term was coined. Pepper was unsure of who Cherry’s father was, but she did get the list of suspects narrowed down to the several famous names she had group sex with nine months before Cherry’s birth.
Cherry was more than just an adult comic book full of gratuitous and explicit kinky sex that included bondage, incest, and bestiality (well, implied bestiality, anyway). It also contained satire, political humor, and social commentary. Last Gasp published the book until issue #13, then Kitchen Sink Press took over for the next two issues. Welz’ own Cherry Comics published the rest of the series, that ended with issue #22, which hit the comic book stores’ adult sections on April 1, 2000.
Vampironica, who appeared only in issue #1, was created by Larry Todd, as a parody who was sort of a cross between Vampirella and Veronica from the Archie comics. She would have been a recurring character, but of course, Archie Comics threatened a lawsuit due to similarities between Vampironica and other characters surrounding her and their characters, so Welz and Turner decided to pull the plug on further stories with Vampironica.
friend Ellie Dee in issue #5. Ellie loved her gadgets.
Ellie Dee on the cover of issue #8. This was the first time someone
other than Cherry was featured in the foreground on a cover.
Cherry #11 was the one and only 3D issue. Ron Turner tells me 3D glasses were included with this one, but I don’t think they were quite like the ones Miss Poptart is wearing here. Even so, I’m sure a mint condition issue with the original glasses would fetch a fairly good price on the collectors market.
Issue #20 (March 1999) was the only to feature Cherry’s mom, Pepper on the cover. Cherry and Pepper shared a very “close” relationship, which was first revealed in the story “Cherry’s Mom Scores Again” in issue #6.
Issue #20 also marked the last appearance of another of Cherry’s close friends, the 4’9″ sex dynamo, Patty Melt. Above is the opening to the final story Patty appeared in, entitled “Smells Like Team Spirit.” Of course, Patty went out with a real bang. (Pun intended.)
Cover of the first issue of Cherry’s Jubilee, which was a 1992-1994 four-issue spin-off that also featured the artwork of several other artists besides Welz. This cover features Cherry with (clockwise from top right) Pepper, Ellie Dee, Patty Melt, and Lola Palooza, another of Cherry’s friends, who had expensive tastes, an attitude, and was into bondage and domination.
Cherry Deluxe was a 1998 special issue
1994 limited edition art print of Cherry paying homage to the classic Marilyn Monroe nude
censorship and this piece ran in a few issues.
In some issues, Larry Welz included drawings he did of some ladies in the Northern California adult entertainment scene at the time, such as this one of dancer Kitty Starr, featured in issue #7. Kitty was one of the featured performers at the now-long-gone Santa Rosa topless club, Everybody’s Talking.
Ad for official Cherry T-shirts that ran in several issues. Of course, they’re no longer available today and anyone who has one today has quite a valuable collector’s item. (I wonder if any Kellog employees bought any of these and I’m surprised Cherry wasn’t “smuggling raisins” when she modeled for this ad.) There was also a Cherry beach towel (circa 1992) that was marketed and one of those today would fetch a pretty hefty price. To see what Cherry merchandise is available today, check out Larry Welz’ site.
About the author
Originally from the San Francisco Bay Area, Chris flirted with the music business there and in Nashville before joining the U.S. Army and serving in South Korea. He remained in Asia for several years afterwards, teaching English, traveling, and covering the regional entertainment scenes. Currently in a mindset between Seoul and San Francisco, besides Idol Features, you can also catch his writings in the print edition of the monthly magazine, Effective.
I remember seeing these back in the day but never got any. I guess I wish I did now seeing how valuable some are now.
Right now there's a Cherry Poptart beach towel on ebay for $1,400 !!
Yeah, and the seller wants five bucks shipping on top of that. Jeez.
I see it’s now marked down to a mere $980.00.
I have the first three issues but sadly they are not nearly in mint condition. Thanks for bringing back an old memory.