The Fabulous Furry Freak Brothers

The Fabulous Furry Freak Brothers are a trio of underground comic strip characters created by the U.S. artist Gilbert Shelton. Their first comic book appearance was in Feds ‘n’ Heads, published by Berkeley’s Print Mint in 1968. In 1969 Shelton and three friends from Texas founded Rip Off Press in San Francisco, which took over publication of all subsequent Freak Brothers comix. The first compilation of their adventures, The Collected Adventures of the Fabulous Furry Freak Brothers, had its first printing in 1971 and has been continually in print ever since. In addition to underground and college weekly newspapers, new adventures appeared in magazines such as PlayboyHigh Times, and Rip Off Comix; these too were collected in comic book form. Shelton continued to write the series until 1992, in collaboration with Dave Sheridan (1974–1982) and Paul Mavrides (since 1978). The work enjoys a sizable cult following, and the magazines are widely available in comic stores.

While most underground comix are humorous, the Freak Brothers live a slapstick existence reminiscent of the best silent comedies. Their entire lives rotate around the procurement and enjoyment of recreational drugs, particularly marijuana. None of them have the slightest concern about gainful employment, and the only use for money is to procure some food and lots of drugs without getting “burned” by unscrupulous dealers or busted by the police. Other storylines include “Fat Freddy’s Cat” and a military empire of cockroaches in the kitchen. The stories often satirize the establishment and right-wing politics. For a counterculture production, the standard of artwork is exceptionally high; Shelton’s striving for accuracy and attention to detail have earned him comparisons with Hergé.

The majority of the titles in the series consist of one or more multi-page stories together with a number of one-page strips. Many of the latter have a one-row skit featuring Fat Freddy’s Cat at the bottom of the page. Some of the titles also contain a small number of strips featuring completely unrelated characters.

The comic is currently being adapted into a movie using stop-motion animated rubber figurines.

MORE PHOTOS AFTER THE JUMP

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