Wednesday, November 30, 2005

Animal Crackers

One of my earliest memories is of watching Groucho Marx on TV's YOU BET YOUR LIFE and waiting for the duck to come down when somebody said the secret word. It was years later before I found out that he made movies...or had brothers! The first Marx film I saw on TV in the early seventies was LOVE HAPPY, their last film, which could well have ended any interest right there and then (and if you've seen it, you know what I mean!). After that, though, I caught a theatrical re-release of A DAY AT THE RACES and GO WEST and I was hooked! I bought Richard J Anobile's book, WHY A DUCK? and then his collaboration with Groucho (supposedly Groucho didn't like it!), THE MARX BROTHERS SCRAPBOOK. Then one day in 1975, I started seeing ads that ANIMAL CRACKERS was being re-released. It was being touted as the funniest film ever! Apparently there had been some legal mixups regarding various rights to the film (Mark Evanier wrote here NOTES from me about underground showings of the film!)when Universal took over Paramount's old library and, according to Groucho's later book, THE GROUCHOPHILE (like most of his books, probably ghosted), students in Southern California gathered enough signatures to convince Universal to settle the dispute and re-release it.
This was the first time I had seen the unique chemistry of all 4 Marx Brothers. the theater was packed in the way that only martial arts movies seemed to be in those

days only this crowd was a mixture of all ages! The laughter rang out and applause filled the theater at the end just like back in the old days. In retrospect, ANIMAL CRACKERS is, of course, in spite of its highlights and classic moments, a fairly stodgy, stagey affair. The kind of magic the Marx Brothers could create was and is magnified a thousand times on the big screen so while it's great to be able to pop in your personal DVD of ANIMAL CRACKERS, you just know you'd laugh more if you had five hundred of your close personal friends over to watch it with you.

Linda Blair

In 1973, I saw a photograph of Linda Blair in TIME and instantly fell in love…in spite of the fact that the picture right next to it was of the nightmarishly possessed Regan Teresa MacNeil from the then new movie, THE EXORCIST. In fact, being under the age of seventeen, it was months before I could talk anyone into taking me to see the movie (which is odd when you consider I was buying HUSTLER regularly and not being carded) but I fawned over Linda on talk shows and in magazines. I even bought SEVENTEEN magazine for the first and only time! She was my age and her birthday was in January just like mine. She seemed to be intelligent and funny and she was certainly drop dead gorgeous…well, to me she was.
The other kids laughed at me saying she was pudgy and unattractive or nasty and evil because of that crucifix scene in her movie! Me, I was obsessed. I wrote mushy, gushy poems about her that were published in the school literary magazine. I wrote letters to her in care of William Morris (who I believe it turned out didn’t even represent her but I got the address somewhere.) and joined her "official" fan club from which I got a humongous black and white wall poster…and nothing else ( and yes, I still have it.).
When she lost the best supporting actress Oscar, I was so outraged! I vowed to stick by her as she proved herself a brilliant actress! Then all that stuff came out about how Mercedes McCambridge had actually done much of Linda’s performance. Her initial theatrical follow-ups proved disappointing. She was, for example, the little sick girl in AIRPORT 1975 that shares her scenes with singing nun, Helen Reddy. For awhile, it looked as though her niche might be on television as she starred in a series of controversial films as a troubled teen who’s sent to reform school, raped, becomes an alcoholic, gets kidnapped, etc.
In her personal life, the fan magazines started running pictures of her sneaking cigarettes or worse, this shot with two of the entertainment world’s most extreme personalities, off his rocker rocker Keith Moon and Linda Lovelace, the woman who popularized the term "deep throat" long before Bob Woodward co-opted it. The poor kid never stood a chance! Before long Linda was, although still underage, deeply involved with singer/actor Rick Springfield. Eventually, Springfield was replaced in her love life by notorious funk rocker, Rick James. Reports of drugs surfaced, then an arrest for cocaine (that she still claims was all a misunderstanding, I believe).
Linda’s film career became a joke. There were attempts at cleaning up her image with films like ROLLER BOOGIE, then attempts at dirtying it up with a partially nude spread in OUI magazine. EXORCIST II didn’t help as it was also a joke, despite a quickly re-edited re-release. Every role after that was either a parody of her horror film persona or worse, a more explicit version of her TV troubled teen roles. CHAINED HEAT offered Linda nude for the first time onscreen with gorgeous German blonde Sybil Danning lusting after short, chubby Linda in prison! Her onstage appearance in the lead of the play, WOMEN BEHIND BARS helped perpetuate this bad girl image. SAVAGE STREETS offered more exploitation fare with Linda nude again and also kickin’ ass and takin’ names as an unlikely action hero.
But then something happened. Except for the occasional film role, Linda retreated into the world of her beloved horses. She became involved deeply in animal rights and rescue and other causes and charities, using her still famous name to raise money.
Through it all, I stuck with Linda, following her through game shows and talk shows (even Alf’s!) and websites. Today, Linda Blair, even without having become a brilliant, award winning actress, is a respected member of the Hollywood community who seems to have a sense of humor and acceptance about her past, both personal and professional and to me…she’s STILL gorgeous and I’d help ghostwrite her autobiography anytime. Thanks, Linda!
Linda Blair WorldHeart Foundation

Tuesday, November 29, 2005

The Collector's Spirit by Will Eisner

I bow to no man in my love and appreciation of Will Eisner's legendary SPIRIT. In fact, one of my earliest comic collecting memories is trying to make sense out of the humorous and yet obviously more adult than normal stories in the Harvey reprint comics of 1966. Over the years (and due to the fact that Eisner amazingly but wisely retained the copyrights), the former Denny Colt has turned up in a lot of reprint venues, leading up to DC's current plans for a post-Eisner relaunch of the series. The Spirit appeared in two underground issues in the early seventies, followed by a healthy magazine reprint run from Warren Publications, a continuation from Kitchen Sink, a long series of comics that reprinted the entire post-1945 run and most recently DC's expensive, full-color archive editions (of which I managed to get the first seven before I went broke!). What I never see mentioned, however, is this 1972 attempt at a chronological reprinting. I know it says "monthly" but they weren't and I don't know how many of these sets of ten Spirit sory reprints were made but I know I have the first two. I remember seeing them available via mail-order in those mostly Comic shop-free days but I got mine both at the same time at a head shop operated in the basement of a staid old Cincinnati bookstore. Apparently published by Will Eisner himself (there's no real indication on them as to who published them, actually), each bag contained ten stories reproduced in black and white scans from the printed color versions. They were folded over but without staples (I've heard there's even a "bootleg" bag with a story accidentally left out of the run!). The real attraction, here, however, is the back page of each section which offers Eisner's obviously typed, ongoing annotations on the strip. These brief "letters" give a fascinating insight into the development of concepts and characters that I've never read in any of the other Spirit reprints. I'm surprised DC didn't use these for their "definitive" version.

Monday, November 28, 2005

Buster Crabbe

Former Olympian Buster Crabbe was the original king of the movie serials, appearing in the 1930's as Tarzan, Buck Rogers and, most memorably, Flash Gordon three times. In the fifties, he appeared on TV and in comics as Captain Gallant--datajunkie has an issue of the comic book tie-in up. He also had a self titled comic book of mostly westerns. Buster continued to appear in low budget westerns long past the point where anyone paid to see them, then faded finally into the business world, returning only occasionally as in a late seventies guest shot on Gil Gerard's TV version of BUCK ROGERS. How I came to have a press kit on Buster from that period, I have no earthly recollection but since I do, I thought I'd share.

It's a Mad, Mad, Mad, Mad World

Got an extremely nice plug from everybody's favorite, Mark Evanier last night so here's one for Mark. I have no doubt that being the uberfan of this film that he is that he has the souvenir booklet but here's the truly mad Jack Davis cover and a fascinating collection of brief biographical pieces of the film's stars...written by the film's other stars! (Wish I could have scanned the triple page Davis foldout but my resources are limited.)

I first saw the film in an early seventies theatrical re-release and even then was playing spot the stars. As I learned more about the movies, I appreciated this film even more when I saw it a few years later on a special network TV airing. Spencer Tracy had to be the bravest actor in the world for agreeing to play opposite all of these marvelous, scene-stealing hams.

The picture spawned a tradition of all-star comedies that continues to this day albeit with diminishing returns. This, though, is the original, the template, the model. IT'S A MAD, MAD, MAD,MAD WORLD is comedy gold. If you haven't seen it, check it out at your local library today. For more info, check the archives over at Mr. Evanier's place. Thanks again, Mark!

Sunday, November 27, 2005

Superman at the Mall-1988

July of 1988 marked Superman's big 50th anniversary celebration and the Mall where I managed a bookstore at that time was in on it. Our annual Summer sidewalk sale had been designated as a Superman Sidewalk Sale. Seeing as how my store was one of only two in the mall (the other being the toy store) to actually sell Superman products, I decided to go all out. I wrote DC about my ideas for decorating and promotions and included a copy of a flyer I had made up and wanted to hand out. In due course, I received a letter back from DC's Matt Ragone encouraging my efforts but insisting on my putting the requisite little "tm" mark all over my flyer. He also included some buttons and a couple gold plated Superman shield tie clasps. Cool! With the mMall providing balloons and posters (and capes) we were ready to go!
The weekend of the sale, the center court at the Mall hosted a travelling Mall Superman show. The announcer introduced the Man of Steel but no one came out on stage. After another try, we finally heard someone calling, "Lois?" "Uh...excuse me. Lois? LOIS... Hello?" and murmuring to himself. Ultimately, the spotlight focused on a blue-suited man in the crowd with glasses and a hat. Clark Kent. He continued looking for Lois for a few before wandering behind the curtain and emerging, much to the kids' delight, as Superman! He did four shows that day and after the second I noticed that afterwards when he was called away to stop a falling meteor or something, he ducked through the abandoned storefront next to our bookstore. Thus it was that, after the third show, I was waiting for Superman in the back hallway where I snapped a picture. He graciously agreed to step in my store and pose for pictures with my staff. Turns out he was a gawky, Jeff Goldblum-ish New York stage actor with a really bad wig but he made those kids believe that day. In fact, the woman pictured here told me that her kids loved her copy f this shot for years until they finally began to question who the guy really was!
By the way, I know that Jonathan Frakes once appeared as Captain America for Marvel. Did this "Superman" go on to do anything? Anyone out there recognize him?

Saturday, November 26, 2005

Robin Invents Video Games

"Holy joystick, Batman! I can't wait until they make these video games more user-friendly!"

Lorenzo and Henrietta Music

No one seems to recall much about this short-lived syndicated series from 1976, including me, but I liked it enough to clip this ad. The late Mr. Music, for those not in the know, was a comedy writer who worked for the Smothers Brothers and created THE BOB NEWHART SHOW. He later voiced Carlton, the unseen doorman on RHODA and then on an Emmy award winning animated TV special. Eventually, though, he became known as the voice of GARFIELD in lots of TV specials and later the truly nifty TV series that featured Mark Evanier as writer and voice director.

This series, featuring Lorenzo and his wife, was hard to categorize even at the time as I recall. The fact that the word "music" was in the title was played up for comedy but I think it still confused folks who tuned in expecting mostly music. It was a daily talk/variety show with celebrity guests that ranged from Mary Tyler Moore to obscure comedians and singers. The series never pickd up steam and lasted only about a month.


If you had told me ten years ago that storied rock casualty Brian Wilson would complete his legendary SMILE project (abandoned in 1967!) and that it would become my favorite CD, I would have said you were as crazy as Brian Wilson himself.( If you had told me twenty years ago, I would have said, "What's a 'CD?'" )Yet here I am, more than a year after purchasing said music and I find myself enjoying it more than ever. Turns out that Brian may not have been so much a casualty as a late bloomer!
Brian Wilson's legendary mental problems make it hard to imagine sometimes that he's still with us at all. Certainly ahead of his time back in the day, I'm not even sure that SMILE would have gone over all that well if it actually had been completed at the time. Originally described by Wilson as a "teenage symphony to God," this music, in spite of its pop roots, is one man's vision, not Beach Boys music. Mike Love knew that even then and that's why he rebelled against it. Brian, to put it simply, went sadly nuts and despite various comebacks was never really Brian Wilson again. One listen to even his best solo albums of recent years, reveals a man who's a shadow of his former self. Lurking under the surface, though, there was always something else and that something was and is SMILE.
Imagine being in the best Beach Boys cover band of all time and then convincing Brian Wilson himself, all but abandoned by the music industry, to be your lead singer. That's essentially what Darian Sahanaja of the group, the Wondermints, did. And then, little by little, he convinced Brian to tour with PET SOUNDS LIVE, then finally to reconnect with his long lost SMILE. Van Dyke Parks returned to polish lyrics and the whole piece came together much more professionally than it ever could have if the Beach Boys had been involved. The Wondermints are amazing.
The music is soaring. It's nostalgic and yet timeless; it's pop and yet classically influenced. By nobody's definition is it surf music. Some listeners complained that the originals were better. Well, guess what? For all intents and purposes, since many of the originals were never officially released--and certainly not in their intended final form--these now ARE the originals...and after my umpteenth listening last evening, they really make me want to smile!

Friday, November 25, 2005

Fireball XL5

It's funny how all things really are interconnected. For example, yesterday, I ran a brief reminder to check out today's Oddball Comics feature down the street at Comic Book Resources - Comic Book News, Reviews and Commentary - Updated Daily!. This, in turn reminded me of one of my favorite recent choices by Scott which was Gold Key's STEVE ZODIAC comic (check the Oddball Archives for this past June for that one). That reminded me that I still had the instructions from my 1965 Christmas present--the amazingly cool toy version of the spaceship FIREBALL XL5 from Gerry Anderson's British sci-fi puppet TV show of the same name. Finding those fairly easily in the vast Library archives jogged my memory that we also had an imported(nudge, nudge! wink, wink!) Japanese video! That's where these images are from. Unfortunately, all of this reminded me of the time about ten years back when I passed up the chance (don't ask!) to buy the wondrous and splendiferous FIREBALL XL5 lunch box and thermos painted by none other than Wally Wood!!! AARRGGHH!! Sniff! Anyway, after that painful, bitter memory I didn't feel like writing about the show anymore or even linking to an online picture of said lunchbox that I found. Ahhh, regrets....

Oh, one more thing in the "everything connects" department: that one and only issue of STEVE ZODIAC that Scott Shaw featured back in June was drawn by artist Mel Crawford, better known for his children's books and referenced previously here at the Library back in September's Flintstones post.

Thursday, November 24, 2005

What Hath Gardner Fox Wrought?

I used to love Earth 2. Seriously. It was my very favorite Earth...until it retroactively never existed. Like anything else good, it was done to death until it became a cliche and then worse, a liability. Now I understand that DC is bringing it backin some half dozen or so mega-crossovers. I have this information third hand from the blogs as I no longer have any desire to keep up with these over-muscled characters named after my old friends that populate comics these days. You can't purposely recapture something special! It's like last year when my twenty-one year old friend Brittany asked me if I would help her dye her hair purple. As a fortysomething married male, it seemed unlikely that I would get this request very often so even my wife agreed that I should take her up on it. I did and we had a bizarre, surreal and marvelous time. This past summer, she asked me if I would help her again but I begged off this time. It just wouldn't have been the same. DC, listen to me! I think this Denis Fujitake cartoon clipped from CBG way back in the seventies covers it all pretty well. It's all a gimmick to sell more comics so they can get more superhero properties licensed for the big screen. I miss Earth 2 but it really is too late to bring it back and have it be a good thing. Sigh. I can't read DC any more. I'm glad I'm finally old enough to really appreciate Disney comics!

Oddball Comics

Well, tomorrow's Friday (Happy Thanksgiving, by the way) and if any of you fine folks reading this blog don't know what that means to the avearge comics fan, then let me enlighten you. It means that cartoonist, racounteur and bon vivant Scott Shaw! will present another installment of his ODDBALL COMICS column over at Comic Book Resources - Comic Book News, Reviews and Commentary - Updated Daily!. This weekly love fest celebrates the wackiest of a wacky field, presenting indepth summaries and trivia of the biggest comic book turkeys (you knew I'd get that in, didn't you?) of all time.
I was priviliged to see Mr. Shaw! present his slideshow/talk on Oddball Comics at a convention once and later enjoyed his trading card set of same. Then, he took on the daunting task of coming up with NEW oddballs every day on this site! Well, eventually, he came to his senses and now it's every Friday so if you're off work tomorrow (or even if you aren't) check out the new listing...then check out his fun discussion board at Comic Book Resources Forums - Oddball Comics.


As you may have heard, I have just been accepted as a contributing member of Bubblegumfink, the nifty as all get out blog run by the Fink, himself. I join sort of e-pal Chris (from JART IN MY HEAD), the legendary Skinny Robbie, Klaus Kinski , Jr. and who knows who else on the team. My first post, featuring former teen idol Bobby Sherman is just up. Don't think for a sec that I'm abandoning the Library, however. I'm just trying to fill up that free thirty or forty seconds that I found myself to have every other day or so with something creative and constructive. I'll be back here...and probably there...tomorrow. More of me and my poppy goodness to enjoy (he said modestly)!

Wednesday, November 23, 2005

Best Television Humor

So it's TV "Sweeps" month again. You know, this is where they trot out all of their best stuff and "special episodes." Well, I'm sorry but I can no longer keep up with 489.6 channels and, for all intents and purposes, no more TV GUIDE. Thus, I had to hear about such once in a lifetime TV moments as Lindsay Lohan attempting to channel Stevie Nicks on the American Music Awards second hand. Damn! I missed that! Awww, MAAAN!

It was different back in the day (as the young folk say). This book, from 1956, was designed with the sole purpose of keeping people from watching reading the scripts of the same shows right in their own living room! Amazing! And what choices! There's our boy, Jack, from yesterday's post. I tell you youngsters, he was the Jim Beliushi of his day! Perry Como smiles at the top( I saw him put on a most energetic show with Bob Hope in Cincinnati in the mid seventies!) and Martha Raye looks like an overly made up zombie beneath him. What's that all about?? Finally, Garry Moore and Milton (Mister Television...already past his prime)Berle are at the bottom. My real question is, what did William Bendix do to get his name truncated to just "WM." Adding the additional letters would clearly have made the name no longer than "Ozzie and Harriet" so I just don't get it.
Each entry features a brief history of the selected show followed by a fairly good biographical piece on its star by Irving Settel. Settel would go on to write, in 1967, A PICTORIAL HISTORY OF RADIO, one of the first books on that medium written after the last real network dramas aired and it was quickly being remembered as the Golden Age of radio.

Tuesday, November 22, 2005

39 Forever

Did you realize that when Jack Benny died in 1974, a number of reporters, carrying on the decades old running gag, reported his age as 39?

Well, life is running late today so there's just time to remind you to sign the Jack Benny 39 Cent Stamp petition over at the International Jack Benny Fan Club. If your mail is as depressing as mine, it can use the laughs.

Monday, November 21, 2005

Radio, Radio!

I found this fascinating. There are hundreds of mail order catalogs and websites where you can find individual 1940's radio episodes of this, that or BABY SNOOKS but it's hard to piece together in your head just how all of these individual programs fit together to form THE entertainment and news source of the period. Well, here we see. For all of you OTR buffs out there, may I present the local Cincinnati radio schedule from an unspecified date during WWII.

Hmmm...How would you like to wake up to HAPPY VALLEY GIRLS at 5:30 AM? "Fer shur! Like, that would be SO totally awesome!" (and that was like, so totally too far to go for that joke!)

Omaha the Cat Dancer

Omaha the Cat Dancer was and is a very controversial comic book about an exotic dancer and her circle of friends and acquaintences. Omaha, as if the title left some doubt, is also a cat. In the best Carl Barks tradition, the people who inhabit our heroine's world are all animals. Like Spiegelman's MAUS, however, this is NOT a comic book about animals but about real people who fight and love and get scared and hold each other and just try to get through life. The masks aren't as obvious here but they're there.

I wrote yesterday of Gilbert Shelton's bridging the gap between underground and overground. With the creation of Omaha, Reed Waller blurred that gap considerably. Originally appearing in the eighties in Denis Kitchen's BIZARRE SEX underground at a time when "funny animals" were all the rage in the more mainstream, independent black and whites, Omaha got rave reviews in the fanzines and soon was given her own comic. Waller's partner Kate Worley soon joined as co-writer and the pair took us on a journey where no comics had gone before. OMAHA was, in fact, a hardcore soap opera...with a feminist slant after Worley's inclusion! There were gangsters, rich people, handicapped people, gay people and page after page of discussions and arguments among the characters...all of which were rendered in a readable, watchable manner by Reed's clean art and storytelling style.

The series founded a cottage industry with Omaha and friends turning up in trading cards, a record album picture disc, tribute comics and other merchandise. All was not well, however, as the strip's realistic depiction of sex continued to cause issues. From Wikipedia: The series drew considerable controversy with numerous obscenity charges for its sexual content. The Toronto Police department, in one raid of a comic book store, charged that it depicted bestiality, an accusation fans dismissed as ludicrous. By contrast, the New Zealand government committee charged with examining books for their suitability for admission into the country ruled that the series was suitable for all ages because of its mature depiction of relationships and sexuality.

I introduced my future wife, Rene, to the series in 1989 and we headed off to Chicago Con where we met Reed and Kate. While they weren't the couple my wife was most interested in meeting, we strangely hit it off with them --particularly Kate--and spent several hours over the course of the convention hanging out with them. Finally, Kate asked if she would see us later at the (DC?) party and we replied that we hadn't been invited. She said they'd get us in but we felt a bit out of our league and begged off. (ah, regrets...)

Not long after that, Kate was injured, then Reed got very ill. Omaha switched publishers, slowed and eventually stopped. Then came news that Reed and Kate had broken up. There were nasty rumorsabout what had happened, some of which turned out to be at least partially true. It looked like OMAHA was never going to reach a conclusion.
Cut to 2004 when Reed and Kate (now married to comics creator James Vance) had finally mended their fences and were working eagerly on OMAHA again. As if in the soap opera storyline, itself, Kate then became ill and unexpectedly died. When I heard about this, I remembered how nice they had both been to us in Chicago and went searching for a website for Reed. I found his blog RWaller's Hermit City Blog and left a message of thanks and condolences. The blog hasn't been updated since July but there's probably a good reason for that.

You see, now comes the long awaited news that NBM is reprinting the classic Waller/Worley tales in a series of new graphic novels that will end with the planned conclusion, by Waller and James Vance (from his wife's notes). The only thing that I think might truly compare to OMAHA today is Terry Moore's brilliant and only slightly less explicit, STRANGERS IN PARADISE (More on that in a later post!) If you are an open-minded adult, this stuff is gold. Some of the best comics done over the past twenty years. Make sure your local comic shop gets the new OMAHA books!

Aside: In fact, looking around Reed Waller's blog that day is what gave me the idea to attempt my own. By the next day I had created the late, unlamented BARNABY POP, sort of a trial run fot the Library here. Thanks again, Reed!

Sunday, November 20, 2005

Gilbert Shelton

One of my favorite cartoonists is Gilbert Shelton. Shelton, like Robert Crumb, has seemingly transcended the bounds of art labeling. He started in the late fifties/early sixties in college newspapers, turned up in Kurtzman’s HELP, went on to various car comics magazines (that, believe it or not, were EVERYWHERE at the time! You had trouble finding CRACKED or CASTLE OF FRANKENSTEIN on the stands but those frickin’ hot rod comics mags were omnipresent!!!), got his OWN mag in early 1967, spearheaded the growing underground comics movement, moved into newspaper syndication and eventually moved to Paris, France where you’ll find him today!
Shelton’s WONDER WARTHOG would seem to be the missing evolutionary link between the mainstream and the underground. The fact that he ran for two issues in his own newsstand mag in ’67 and, I think, a paperback book just a couple of years before a very, very controversial, boundary-shredding ZAP appearance clearly ties the Hog of Steel to both worlds. Rip-Off Press has reprinted Wonder’s adventures a number of times in various formats over the years so check your local comic shop for inexpensive, hilarious stuff!
Meanwhile, Shelton went on to create the Fabulous Furry Freak Brothers—Fat Freddy, Phineas and Freewheelin’ Franklin. This series became one of the most popular in the undergrounds in the early seventies and its drug taking three stooges became icons to a whole generation that was, itself, rapidly changing into something else. I’ve heard people say that they can’t read Freak Brothers stories because they don’t take drugs and therefore can’t relate. Hmmm…Guess that means only river folk "get" Mark Twain and if I’m not English, I can’t possibly understand Dickens. Give yourselves some credit, people! It’s well-written, often simply drawn—but sometimes amazingly intricate—and it’s also HILARIOUS!!! Myself, I smoked pot approximately six times in 1981with nothing stronger than my blood pressure medicine in years BUT I STILL GET IT, OK!!??
In fact, the strip reprinted here is one of the funniest pieces I have ever seen! I laugh out loud every time I even think of this page. This page was from the Freak Brothers spin-off, FAT FREDDY’S COMICS AND STORIES which also featured quite a bit of FAT FREDDY’S CAT, a funny strip that might be described as GARFIELD with balls…hairballs!
Over the years, Shelton teamed up with various other creators on the Freaks, most notably the late Dave Sheridan and the mysterious Paul Mavrides.
Perhaps the culmination of the Shelton/Mavrides team is the full color graphic novel, THE IDIOTS ABROAD, first published in 1987 and featuring work serialized in various comics since 1982. The color, credited to Mavrides and fellow underground cartoonist Guy Colwell, is some of the absolute best I have ever seen and the storyline sends the gang around the world in separate politically and socially satirical adventures. I believe this is still in print. Certainly still available is the most recent version of THE COMPLETE FREAK BROTHERS. Check your local comic shop for some politically incorrect laughs!
Here’s a link to a fascinating older interview with Shelton from The Comics Journal: Interviews and
HERE’s a link to a more recent piece on his life in France: Paris Kiosque - The Freak Brothers in Paris - Dec 2001/Jan 2002