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freak brothers 3 1st
brilliant writing
masterpiece art
historical bonus 4
total score 9
The Fabulous Furry Freak Brothers #3
1st Printing / 1973 / 36 pages / Rip Off Press
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After giving us the equivalent of nearly three 36-page comic books in the first two issues of Freak Brothers (104 pages), Gilbert Shelton only had enough existing Freak Brothers strips to populate a 36-page book for issue #3. But off to press they went, publishing the only 36-page issue of the first seven books (the others were 52 pages). It was more than a decade later that they permanently shifted to 36-page books for the rest of the serial, beginning with The Idiots Abroad trilogy that launched in issue #8.

Also unlike the first seven issues, the longest story in Freak Brothers #3 is only four pages, and many are just one-pagers, mostly culled from the end of Shelton's run in the L.A. Free Press, though "Winter of '59" came from Playboy magazine. There are many gems to be found, including "Winter of '59," "Fat Freddy Gets A Job," and "Cockroaches."

Despite certain misgivings, Shelton's front cover art earns a Top Twenty Underground Cover award for its modern recreation of Manet's 1863 painting "Dejeuner sur l'herbe" (Luncheon on the Grass). The comic is a winner as well, providing a typical collection of funny stories. I especially like the seven-page tale featuring Fat Freddy's Cat, "I Led Nine Lives!" But I must say that Bow Wow Wow did a better job of honoring the classic painting by Manet.
There are 13 printings of this comic book, all by Rip Off Press. It is currently unknown how many copies were produced during any of the printings, but I would guess Rip Off was printing at least 20,000 copies every time, and potentially as many as 50,000 copies or more for the early printings, given how fast the books were selling out in the 1970s. The print editions are easy to tell apart, since each one has a distinct cover price, which are identified below:
1st printing: 50-cent cover price.
2nd printing: 60-cent cover price.
3rd printing: 75-cent cover price, with the old 60-cent price crossed out in red ink.
4th printing: 75-cent cover price.
5th printing: $1.00 cover price.
6th printing: $1.25 cover price.
7th printing: $1.50 cover price.
8th printing: $2.00 cover price.
9th printing: $2.50 cover price.
10th printing: $2.95 cover price.
11th printing: $3.25 cover price.
12th printing: $3.95 cover price.
13th printing: $4.95 cover price.

Gilbert Shelton - 1-36

_ freakbrothers3-4th _ freakbrothers3-5th _ freakbrothers3-7th
4th Printing
75-cent cover.
5th Printing
$1.00 cover.
7th Printing
$1.50 cover.