Greg Irons, Cartoonist

BERKELEY e-PLAQUE

Greg Irons, Cartoonist
(1947–1984)


Irons Residence: 2247 Ninth Street

Underground cartoonist and poster/tattoo artist Greg Irons resided on Ninth Street in Berkeley at the end of his eventful life. A high school dropout, he came to the Bay Area from Philadelphia in 1967 for the Summer of Love. He drew posters for Bill Graham’s rock shows and cartoons for the Berkeley Tribe. He contributed to Skull and Deviant Slice and illustrated Legion of Charlies, which blended My Lai and the Manson murders into a representation of late ’60s America. After an interlude drawing album covers and children’s books, he returned to comix, savaging corporate polluters and creating the autobiographical, drug-crazed, sex-obsessed Gregor the Purpleass Baboon.

In the late 1970s, Irons took up tattooing. Customers craved his work. Professionals pondered his technique. The movement’s superstar, Ed Hardy, offered a partnership. But on a trip to Thailand, Irons stepped from the curb, forgetting busses ran opposite to the direction to which he was accustomed.

Contributed by Bob Levin, 2011


  • Greg Irons Residence (1970s), 2247 Ninth St. photo (2011) R. Kehlmann.

  • Greg Irons, Deviant Slice from A Greg Irons Retrospective, Fantagraphics Books.

  • Greg Irons, Berkeley Community Theater Concert (1967) from A Greg Irons Retrospective, Fantagraphics Books.

  • Greg Irons tatoo design for Realistic Studio (1984) from A Greg Irons Retrospective, Fantagraphics Books.

Photo credit abbreviations:
BAHA: Berkeley Architectural Heritage Assn.
BHS: Berkeley Historical Society