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freak brothers 5 1st
brilliant writing
masterpiece art
historical bonus 5
total score 10
The Fabulous Furry Freak Brothers #5
Grass Roots
1st Printing / May, 1977 / 52 pages / Rip Off Press
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The fifth issue starts off with a seven-page Fat Freddy's Cat story called "Animal Camp," in which the Cat tells his three young nephews a story about his own youth, when the Freak Brothers kenneled him at a "pet resort" while taking a long vacation. The pet resort turned out to be a nightmarish prison where the Cat's life was in jeopardy, but obviously he lives to tell the tale.

A few pages later, Shelton launches his 36-page epic story, "Grass Roots." This adventure in communal living begins with a five-page preamble that leads to the Freak Brothers relocating to a small country town with their three girlfriends and setting up house. The house is actually a shack from which they are later evicted until repairs can be made, but that's okay cuz they build a really cool teepee to live in and get tantalizingly close to experiencing true communal harmony. Sure, they can't get the farm going, but when they mistakenly start a gold rush on their town, they get rich from collecting parking fees.

"Grass Roots" is a briskly plotted tale and features some of Shelton and Sheridan's finest artwork, with beautifully designed panoramas mixed in with exquisite small panels. Like all of Shelton's comic work, the writing drives the story and the writing here represents one of Shelton's inventive and comedic peaks. The story was later published in a stand-alone book of the same name, and serves as the basis for the long-unfinished stop-frame animated movie, Grass Roots.
There are 10 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 printed at 50,000 copies or more for the early printings (up to the 6th or 7th), given the track record for previous sales. The print editions are easy to tell apart, since each one has a distinct cover price, which are identified below:

1st printing: 75-cent cover price.
2nd printing: $1.00 cover price.
3rd printing: $1.25 cover price.
4th printing: $1.50 cover price.
5th printing: $2.00 cover price.
6th printing: $2.50 cover price.
7th printing: $2.95 cover price.
8th printing: $3.25 cover price.
9th printing: $3.95 cover price.
10th printing: $4.95 cover price.
Gilbert Shelton - 1-52 (all stories and art collaboration)
Dave Sheridan - 1-52 (art collaboration)

freakbrothers5-4th _ freakbrothers5-5th
4th Printing
$1.50 cover.
5th Printing
$2.00 cover.