Freaking out in
Ole' Father Freak
Gilbert Shelton, like me, seems a bit too old to have been a "freak" himself. Still, we both did belong to that post-hippie group. Some people, like Ed McBain, resented our calling ourselves that; looking it up in the dictionary that's understandable. Meanings range from "monstrosity" via "an unconventional person" to "adopting a wildly unconventional lifestyle". I would arrange the two of us in the middle section; both of us are maybe not exactly what you'd call law-abiding or solid, but still definitely unconventional middle-classers.
Shelton is the spiritual father (gott) of the Fabulous Furry Freak Brothers, Fat Freddy's Cat and Wonder Wart Hog. The first stuff I've seen he did was in Harvey Kurtzman's Help! magazine, but later in the 1960s the Underground Press Syndicate started distributing his work. That can't have paid very well, for all I know. Even then, his strips were collected in book form and gradually got longer. Still later, he hit the big time and even got his stuff in Playboy magazine. (They paid very well, even P.G. Wodehouse sold his short stories and novels there).
Lately, I haven't been hearing much about him, but was delighted to find out how much there is in print! Good for him, too.
Many other artists have cooperated on the Freaks, with special mention of ">Dave Sheridan and Paul Mavrides.
The Freak Brothers conform to another dictionary definition: they routinely "undergo hallucinations or a strong emotional experience, esp. from use of narcotics" (emphasis added). Yes, they were heavy drug users and many jokes originated in their struggle with Norbert the Nark and many other members of the establishment. They were one model for two other weirdos, Cheech and Chong, although these certainly added quite some touches of their own.
Fat Freddy's Cat was such a hit, he got a strip of his very own.
You may have to be a cat lover (and dog hater) to really enjoy these, but that's all right with me. Join the club!
The one and only Wonder Wart Hog, "the Hog of Steel", and I hit it off right from the early 1960s start in HELP! magazine. Here was a fearless fighter S*perman couldn't touch! Also, he took a much more agreeable view of who needed fighting at. Not only gangsters and the Mob were on his black list, also generals, little old granny ladies and other members of the (here we go again) Establishment, beating his, and our, enemies by discriminatingly throwing pies.
Like me, Shelton turns out to be a 3D Stereo fan.
Alas, that work of his has disappeared from the web; used to be found at www.3dcomix.com/under3d, but the site has gone...
Up In Smoke (1978)
Cheech and Chong's first movie is already a cult classic. A spoiled rich kid and a hippie hitchhiker try to smuggle a van with a marijuana chassis across the Mexican border. Zany, high-flying comedy co-stars Stacy Keach, Tom Skerritt, Strother Martin and Edie Adams. 86 min. Widescreen (Enhanced); Soundtracks: English Dolby Digital 5.1 and mono; Subtitles: English; audio commentary by Cheech Marin; trailer.
Good news! These strips can be acquired!
(for a price)
Finally! All in One Fling
The Freak Brothers Omnibus
Or Actually, Two:
Fat Freddy's Cat Omnibus
Wonder Wart Hog and the Nurds of November
The Collected Fat Freddy's Cat
The Fabulous Furry Freak Brothers Library
The Idiots Abroad
The Complete Fabulous Funny Freak Brothers
The Underground Comix Revolution
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