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spotty writing
mediocre art
historical bonus 3
total score 5
The Pipkin Papers
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REVIEW SCORE 6
Only Printing / 1969 / Self-published
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Not many (if any) underground comics were produced by Oscar-winning filmmakers, but The Pipkin Papers was one of them. It was also one of the first (if not the first) underground comics produced in Canada.

The Pipkin Papers was the brainchild of John Weldon, a native Canadian living in Montreal when he self-published the comic in 1969. The book features some pretty average comics that meander through a visit to an alien planet and a scientist who become a superhero, along with a few one pagers. While Weldon demonstrates his innate intelligence through the book, his simplistic pencil drawings are weakly composed and executed, and his writing somewhat disjointed and uninteresting. There are a few passages that strike upon some genuine wit, but several side stories and/or background vignettes (given nearly equal weight as the primary plots) prove to be distracting without being funny.

Comic books may not have been Weldon's natural domain, but he found his considerable strengths in a closely related medium: animated film. In 1970, the 25-year-old Weldon joined the National Film Board of Canada, where he made animated films for 33 years. He wrote, directed and animated more than twenty short films and was involved in over fifty.

In 1978, Weldon co-directed (with Eunice Macaulay) the film Special Delivery (Livraison Spéciale), which won an Academy Award for Best Animated Short in 1979. After his involvement with many critically acclaimed animated films, Wheldon retired from the National Film Board in 2004, but his retirement is clearly unofficial. He's kept busy with songwriting and even began producing new comic-book characters and stories, which have elements of his old style but are more sophisticated overall.

Weldon's diverse website offers complete videos of many of his animated films, including Special Delivery, as well as high-resolution postings of the entire Pipkin Papers comic book (which Weldon admits is "a bit primitive"). The website provides ample evidence of Weldon's sharp sense of humor and deep well of creativity that are only hinted at in his lone underground comic book.
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keyline
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HISTORICAL FOOTNOTES:
Wolf Krakowski, editor of The Pipkin Papers, reported in the Comixjoint Forum that there were 600 copies printed of this comic book (with a few over-runs). Krakowski convinced Weldon to finance the printing and they sold copies in Montreal bookstores and in head shops on consignment. Tip o' the hat to Wolf for the insider knowledge!
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COMIC CREATORS:
Wolf Krakowski - editor
John Felix Weldon - 1, 3-40 (script, art), 44
Michelle - credit for book title
Rhad Gmal - credit for plotlines...hmm, really?