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excellent writing
exceptional art
historical bonus 3
total score 8
mothers oats comix _ mother's oats comix 2 _ mother's oats comix
Mother's Oats Comix #1
Mother's Oats Comix #2 Mother's Oats Comix #3
Mother's Oats Comix

1969-1977 / Rip Off Press

After seeing early underground comics in the late '60s, native Ohioans Fred Schrier and Dave Sheridan became enamored with the revolution and determined to get into the business. In the summer of '69, they traveled from Cleveland to San Francisco in Sheridan's Austin-Healey Sprite, a miniscule but charming British sports car. After this trek they discovered a few potatoes rolling around under the seats and thusly named Sheridan's Sprite "the Overland Vegetable Stagecoach," an appellation which would also turn into the name of their partnership in comics.

Upon their arrival in San Francisco, the duo approached Rip Off Press with the nearly complete artwork to Mother's Oats Comix #1. In a 1972 interview with author Patrick Rosenkranz, Rip Off Press co-founder Jack Jackson remembered that meeting: "I took a look at Sheridan's stuff and it really knocked me out.... Then Schrier showed his stuff and it was terrible. I kind of said, 'Sheridan, we'd love to publish your stuff, but I don't know about Schrier yet.' Sheridan said, 'We only publish together.' We said OK, what the hell."

Rip Off published Mother's Oat Comix #1 in the fall of '69 and it proved to be a major seller, launching the successful comic careers of Schrier and Sheridan. Jackson's initial trepidation about Schrier proved unfounded, as he later acknowledged, "Within a year, Schrier's style had developed to where it was almost better in some respects than Sheridan's." Schrier and Sheridan soon collaborated on many underground comics (e.g., Skull Comics, Meef Comix, Slow Death) and Rip Off published two more issues of Mother's Oats.

Mother's Oats Comix comprises three remarkable undergrounds with many highlights, including the debut of Sheridan's Dealer McDope character in "The Doings of Dealer McDope," Schrier's terrific psychedelic fantasies "Ego Trips" and "Word Salad," and Sheridan's own trippy tales "The Fun House" and "Marihuana." These stories probably offer the trippiest, most hallucinogenic-inspired underground comics ever published, peppered with incidental background signs and innovative sound effects (a la Don Martin) as the characters venture ambitiously into strange worlds.

Jack Jackson and the team of Greg Irons and Tom Veitch all joined the Overland Vegetable Stagecoach for the second issue in 1971, perhaps the trippiest of the three. By the time the third issue was published in 1977, Schrier had served with the Peace Corps in Afghanistan and the drug-fueled hippie era of underground comics had waned, which is reflected in the book.

After illustrating many terrific Freak Brothers stories for Gilbert Shelton from the mid '70s to early '80s, Sheridan died of cancer at the age of 38 in 1982. Schrier published a poetic obituary for his friend in the ACE periodical Changeling Times. Schrier went on to illustrate several children's books and landed the unique job as the animator for the Cleveland Indians Stadium scoreboard. But Mother's Oats Comix remains an unique comic series that documents the creative lunacy of drug-inspired comic creators.