Joyce Farmer was a pioneer in Californian underground comix as the creator and publisher of the first feminist comic book Tits & Clits, together with Lyn Chevli. She was a local artist from Los Angeles when she teamed up with Connecticut-born Chevli to create comix to counter the sexism they saw in male-produced underground comix of that time. This resulted in a new wave of very personal comic strips dealing with women's issues, with a mission to bring humor to the feminist movement. Under the imprint Nanny Goat Productions, they released the first issue of Tits & Clits in July 1972. It was the first in its genre, followed after a few weeks by Wimmen's Comix. Farmer and Chevli were also active as pregnancy counselors at Laguna's Free Clinic. This work inspired them for the creation of 'Abortion Eve' (1973), an educational comic book about the medical aspects of an abortion and the emotional stress of an unwanted pregnancy. Farmer published most of her early underground comix under her married name Joyce Sutton, but she changed her legal name back to Farmer in the mid 1970s.
The publication of Tits & Clits wasn't without controversy. The rather bold title kept it from being reviewed in mainstream magazines. The authors also faced the prospect of being arrested for publishing and distributing pornography. Their second comic book was therefore published under the title Pandoras Box Comix, although Tits & Clits returned in 1976. A total of seven issues was published until 1987, by then through Last Gasp in San Francisco. The first two issues were created solely by Chevli and Farmer. From the third issue on, other authors joined, such as Dot Bucher, Roberta Gregory, Ruth Lynn, Trina Robbins, Shelby Sampson, Chris Powers, Jennifer Malik, Michelle Jurris, Paula Gray, Miriam Flambe, Rocky Trout, Terry Richards, Beverly Hilliard and Sharon Rudahl. While Chevli dropped most of her drawing activities after three issues, Farmer continued to contribute stories, and most of the covers, until the final issue in 1987.
Joyce Farmer also contributed to issues 5 through 11 of the other all-woman comix publication, Wimmen's Comix, between 1975 and 1987. Unable to earn a living in the scene, accompanied by periods in a turbulent marriage and as a single mother, Farmer disappeared off the comics radar and went to work as a bail-bond agent in the 1980s. When her aging father and stepmother became ill, she dedicated all her free time to their care in the late 1980s and early 1990s. She started chronicling their final years and slow decline in comics format after remarrying and moving to Laguna Beach.
One of these autobiographical stories appeared in the alternative comics anthology Zero-Zero by Fantagraphics in 2000. Encouraged by Robert Crumb, she has continued to work on her new comics project during a period of 13 years. Through Crumb's mediation, the Seattle-based publishing house Fantagraphics released the 208-page illustrated memoir in 2010 under the title 'Special Exits'. Farmer's comeback to the medium was successful. The book won her the National Cartoonists Society's Graphic Novel Award in 2011, as well as a 2011 Inkpot Award.