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freak brothers 7 1st
solid writing
exceptional art
historical bonus 4
total score 9
The Fabulous Furry Freak Brothers #7
1st Printing / 1982 / 52 pages / Rip Off Press
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Freak Brothers #7 features a couple stories that are quite good and one that is strikingly unusual. One of the good ones leads off the issue; "Burned Again," in which Fat Freddy finds a cannister of plutonium on the street next to a wrecked truck and brings it home. Phineas and Franklin recognize the danger of the situation and attempt to hand the cannister back to the proper authorities, but of course complications ensue.

After a couple of one-pagers, Phineas stars in "Phineas Gets an Abortion," a funny story (that originally appeared in Rip Off Comix #8) about Phineas' girlfriend's fetus getting transplanted into Phineas' body by a mad scientist/doctor/buddy who invented an artificial womb. The dopeheads kind of lose track of time and before you know it, Phineas has been "with child" for 14 months. Little wonder what pops out of his womb after that much time!

A couple more one-pagers follow before Shelton gives us "The Fabulous Furry Freak Brothers Come Down," perhaps the most unusual Freak Brothers story ever. On a lark, the boys decide to stop smoking pot for a day and straighten out. The lack of weed brings on a metamorphosis that changes the Freak Brothers from cartoon characters into real-life men. Their gradual mutations are depicted through a combination of illustration and photography; and then Fred Todd, Don Baumgart and Peter Weber portray the Freak Brothers as real people in heavy make up (or deft photo retouching, or perhaps both). The concept is great and the execution is fascinating; only the end is predictable (but I mean that in a good way).

Shelton takes the boys into the future with the next story, "The Fabulous Furry Freak Brothers in the 21st Century." The premise is good, but the story is a bit thin. This story was also published in Rip Off Comix #10, but I'm not sure which comic book it appeared in first as they were both published in 1982.

Fat Freddy's Cat is featured in an average three-pager before the Freak Brothers start up a punk rock band in "Knock 'em Dead." The story is a bit mundane but it's kind of fun to watch the boys prepare for their first show. The title page of the story is pretty cool and we get to see Shelton mix in punk rockers with the Freak Brothers again.

Freak Brothers #7 also marks the last time that Dave Sheridan collaborated with Shelton on the comics. Sheridan, a sorely missed talent, passed away in 1982 from a brain hemorrhage. From this point forward, Paul Mavrides was Shelton's primary collaborator on the Freak Brothers, with Sheridan's older work only appearing in reprinted material.

The seventh issue may not be as consistently entertaining as the sixth, but the best stories hit loftier peaks. Both the sixth and seventh issues of the Freak Brothers serial took half a step down from the first five issues, but Shelton has a colorful trick up his sleeve for the next three issues.
There are six printings of this comic book, all by Rip Off Press. It is currently unknown how many copies were produced during any of the printings. The print editions are easy to tell apart, since each one has a distinct cover price, which are identified below:

1st printing: $2.00 cover price.
2nd printing: $2.50 cover price.
3rd printing: $2.95 cover price.
4th printing: $3.25 cover price.
5th printing: $3.95 cover price.
6th printing: $4.95 cover price.


Gilbert Shelton - 1 (collaboration), 2, 3-14 (collaboration), 15-24 (collaboration), 25, 26 (collaboration), 27-37 (collaboration), 38-40, 41-49 (collaboration), 50-52
Dave Sheridan - 15-24 (collaboration), 27-37 (collaboration), 41-49 (collaboration)
Paul Mavrides - 3-14 (collaboration), 15-24 (collaboration), 26 (collaboration), 27-37 (collaboration), 41-49 (collaboration)
Don Baumgart - 15 (story)