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freak brothers 1 1st
brilliant writing
masterpiece art
historical bonus 5
total score 10
The Fabulous Furry Freak Brothers #1
1st Printing / February, 1971 / 52 pages / Rip Off Press
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The debut of the first Fabulous Furry Freak Brothers comic book came years after Gilbert Shelton had already popularized the characters through countless appearances in underground newspapers across the country (and the world). The comic strips that appear in this issue were culled from Freak Brothers strips Shelton had produced for various publications, including the L.A. Free Press. The majority of stories here are one-pagers, but there are a few multi-page stories, including "The Freaks Pull A Heist" and "The Freak Brothers Go To College," both memorable and funny tales.

The first issue proved to be enormously popular, selling about half a million copies in its first ten printings (over about three years). Back in the day, virtually every pot-smoking comic fan had a bong-water-soaked copy of this comic book stashed somewhere in their disheveled apartment.

The scan of the copy shown here is of the highest-graded copy of the first printing in the CGC census (shown prior to it being slabbed). A larger image of the scan is available here. After getting the copy graded and slabbed, I traded the comic to a collector in Florida for the second-highest-graded copy in the CGC census and a very high-grade Motor City Comics #1. See the Historical Footnotes below for additional information about the first printing.

There are at least 21 printings of this comic book, and quite likely several more, all by Rip Off Press. There are too many variations, cover tells and other miscellaneous historical information to be notated for all the printings in this space, so that information will be provided on the pages associated with each particular printing. The cover prices and a brief description of the variations are noted in the table of linked images below.
There may be another five or six printings of Freak Brothers #1 that are not represented here, primarily early editions of the book. Validating unique print editions is very difficult because some covers were printed two-up and some only only one-up (or ganged with other comic-title covers), and there can be significant differences between two covers on the same print run. The printing identifications I'm using below are from the Kennedy Price Guide, and there is little doubt he did not capture all of the existing printings. Some day the key underground comic authorities will have a grand debate about the print editions of Freak Brothers #1, and the Kennedy list will finally be supplanted by a new list. When that list is utilized by Fogel's Price Guide, which is today's de facto authority on underground comic books, it will also be reflected here.
One note about the 1st printing that was not captured by Kennedy but is utilized here: there are two states to the 1st printing that are both currently acknowledged as 1st printings. One state has an orange-colored section of the wall on the front building, just to the left of the word "America." In the other state, the orange-colored section is brown, like the rest of the wall. All other aspects of the cover and back cover are identical. The two different states were printed simultaneously during a two-up print run of the covers, so neither state is considered to be the first or the second.

Provided below are links to almost every print edition of Freak Brothers #1, and each linked page describes the unique attributes of that particular print edition. Whether we eventually determine that the 4th printing is actually the 6th printing or not, the issues below will at least provide graphic representations for unique print editions. There is no other website that presents these variations in the same quantity and detail as Comixjoint.
I have found collecting each of the print editions to be a challenging yet enjoyable pursuit. I chose to pursue them all because there are more print editions of this comic book than any other in underground comics, and there are so many interesting differences between the early editions.


Gilbert Shelton 1-52
freakbrothers1-2nd _ freakbrothers1-3rd _ freak brothers 1 4th _ freakbrothers1-5th
2nd Printing
50-cent cover, purple price, white road and tire, yellow fire escape.
3rd Printing
50-cent cover, purple price, blue flag on back cover.
4th Printing
50-cent cover, blue price, cross hatching added to many areas.
5th Printing
50-cent cover, blue price, green fence, barrel and boot.
freakbrothers1-6th _ freakbrothers1-7th _ not available _ freakbrothers1-9th
6th Printing
50-cent cover, blue price, brown fence, barrel and boot.
7th Printing
50-cent cover, German language (includes parts of issues 1 & 2).
8th Printing
50-cent cover, Jesus ad on page 50 is for 50 cents instead of $1.25.
9th Printing
50-cent cover, pink interior paper.
freakbrothers1-10th _ freakbrothers1-11th _ freakbrothers1-12th _ freakbrothers1-13th
10th Printing
50-cent cover, no cross
hatching over billy
clubs, matt cover.
11th Printing
60-cent cover.
12th Printing
75-cent cover.
13th Printing
75-cent cover, pink interior paper, limited edition w/ letter.
freakbrothers1-14th _ not available _ freakbrothers1-16th _ freakbrothers1-17th
14th Printing
$1.00 cover.
15th Printing
$1.25 cover.
16th Printing
$1.50 cover.
17th Printing
$2.00 cover.
freakbrothers1-18th _ not scanned _ not scanned _ freak brothers 1 21st
18th Printing
$2.95 cover.
19th Printing
$3.25 cover.
20th Printing
$3.95 cover.
21st Printing
$4.95 cover.