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excellent writing
art exceptional
historical bonus 2
total score 8
captain guts 1 _ captain guts 2 _ captain guts 3
Captain Guts #1
Captain Guts #2
Captain Guts #3
Captain Guts
1969-1971 / The Print Mint


This is Larry Welz's first one-man comic book (at the age of 21), and it is a marvelously entertaining serial. The three issues feature Fillmore Grinchbottom, who is little more than a pudgy everyman until he drinks his magic potion (beer), which transforms him into Captain Guts, the "raging avenger of the establishment." The serial progresses from Captain Guts taking on hippie revolutionaries to a fierce battle with a sexually charged black woman and finally to a cosmic battle with Wyatt Winghead and his dope smugglers.

Welz has yet to fully develop his rapidly developing illustration style, but his storytelling talents are already in full bloom in these popular books, which all enjoyed several printings that sold 50,000 to 70,000 copies of each issue.

Captain Guts was one of those titles that I would have enjoyed seeing much more of, and someday I just might (see below). Welz went on to produce some fine comics for American Flyer Funnies and then created the enormously successful cartoon slut, Cherry Poptart. Along with Robert Crumb, Kim Deitch, Art Spiegelman, Gilbert Shelton and a handful of others, Welz was one of those underground comic book creators who went on to measurable comic-book success after the golden era ended in 1973.

But that success did not come immediately. Throughout the mid to late '70s, Welz was pretty much out of the comic book biz, opening a sign shop and painting carnival rides to support his short-lived marriage. Then in 1982 Last Gasp published Cherry Poptart #1 and Welz caught lightning in a bottle. For almost two decades Cherry (and all her merchandising) was a nice source of income for Welz, though it dwindled near the end of the run. In 1996 Welz moved to Roswell, New Mexico, where he lived for about a decade with his new lady love, Sharon, operating a sign business and a gift shop while building his commercial illustration and design clientele.

Today, Larry and Sharon live in an apartment in Albuquerque and Welz has returned to painting carnival rides. He would like to revive the Captain Guts series and also launch a new title starring Ellie Dee, Cherry's best friend, who would use her magical internet powers to help out her friends and change the future.
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