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amazing dope tales
 
skilled art
competent art
historical 5
score 9
Amazing Dope Tales
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1st Printing-2nd Version / early 1967 / 24 Pages / Greg Shaw
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REVIEW SCORE 9
This very early underground is a magazine-size comic published by Greg Shaw out of San Francisco in 1967. This prescient comic was written and illustrated by Geoff Evans, a university science student and amateur film maker (who was never heard from in comic books again). Amazing Dope Tales conveys the psychedelic story of Walter Echo, a goateed hippie straight out of Haight-Ashbury. Echo is subjected to a series of drug experiments, including 20 grams of DMT (dimethyltryptamine), which is about 30 times more than an average recommended dose. Mind you, this is in 1967, so the DMT at that time would have been culled from Amazonian plants (it is made synthetically today). DMT wasn't even made illegal in the U.S. until 1970. In any case, ingesting 20 grams of DMT is a recipe for disaster. But not for Walter Echo. Echo experiences a variety of humorous psychedelic trips throughout the book, including guest appearances by Charlie Brown and Dagwood Bumstead.

Amazing Dope Tales is not a particularly great comic nor especially funny, though it does have amusing passages in its quick-reading 24 pages. But it is definitely important because it pre-dates Plymell's Zap Comix #1 by about a year and is almost certainly the first comic book in history that overtly celebrates the use of hallucinogenic drugs. It's also one of the very first commerical underground comic books; a book clearly published for retail sale, not just distribution to a group of friends or on a college campus, but for the entire San Francisco area and beyond (as evidenced by the cover prices). I believe it even pre-dates the Summer of Love in '67, which would indicate that Shaw and Evans (who was actually not a bad cartoonist) were no Johnny-come-latelys to the San Francisco hippie scene. For those reasons, this comic book is probably still undervalued.
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keyline
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HISTORICAL FOOTNOTES:
It is currently believed that there is one printing of this comic book with two versions. The 1st version is bound with the pages out of order, with one sheet (that includes the panel "Good Old Clinical Days") bound upside down, and the books were untrimmed. In the 2nd version of the 1st printing, the page order and orientation was corrected and subsequently bound and trimmed. Both versions of Amazing Dope Tales are printed on matt white paper and bound without staples.
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My copy of the 2nd version is bound with adhesive. My copy also appears to be trimmed by hand, as there is a clipped corner on the upper right (which I have seen on other copies of the book) and the interior pages extend outside the covers on the right side.
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COMIC CREATORS:
Geoff Evans - 1-22 (art), 24 (art)
Simon Galubara - 23 (reprint of EVO article about LSD)