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solid writing
skilled art
historical bonus 3
total score 7
The Further Fattening Adventures of
Pudge, Girl Blimp #1
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AVERAGE SCORE 9
1st Printing / 1973-74 / 36 pages / Last Gasp Eco-Funnies
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After co-founding the Wimmen's Comix collective in 1972 and establishing her feminist legitimacy (not to mention her underground street cred), Lee Marrs produced The Further Fattening Adventures of Pudge, Girl Blimp, the first comic book to feature an ugly, fat teenager as a sympathetic protagonist. This was no small accomplishment, since virtually every other obese female character in comic book history was little more than a foil for jokes, and even then they rarely appeared anywhere.

Our squat, face-stuffing heroine Pudge is introduced with her hitchhiked arrival in San Francisco from Normal, Illinois as a fat 17-year-old runaway. She's also a virgin and she really wants to get laid, but that won't happen in the first issue (or the second). Pudge's backstory is further complicated by the fact that she is, in reality, a Martian, and the government of Mars has sent two guardian Martians to Earth in order to keep an eye on her.

Pudge quickly acclimates to the Bay Area counterculture and joins a hippie commune, even though she doesn't take drugs and is naive to virtually every radical movement of the era. For that matter, Pudge is naive to most of adult life, which is not surprising since she's a teenager. The fact that she's seventeen years old informs her intelligence, but she still manages to fit in socially with the much-older-but-mostly-still-young adults in the commune.

Pudge is obsessed with two things after arriving in the Bay Area: eating lots of junk food and losing her virginity (even if it means subjecting herself to rape). Unfortunately, her obesity does not make her an object of desire for either the hippie dudes or the radical criminals she encounters. By the end of the issue, Pudge does meet a homely undercover cop named Jethro that she might be able to hook up with, but Marrs only leaves us hanging with her cliffhanger
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Like the other two issues of Pudge, Girl Blimp, there's also an entirely different universe offered in this book with "Mei-Lin Luftwaffe, Aerial Infant," which features a six-month-old Chinese baby superhero who is a champion of feminist causes. In this first installment, the Aerial Infant destroys the market for addictive feminine hygiene deodorants, freeing women around the world from fretting about how their pussy smells. Marrs makes it clear that the market for vaginal hygeine is perpetrated by male-dominated corporate marketing. To be honest, I don't care if women don't shave their armpits and don't spray fragance into their pussies, but I do plead guilty to a preference for a good cleansing shower before engaging in oral sex (and that shower should include both the girl and the guy).

And like the other two issues, the first issue is heavy with exposition and dialogue presented without the convention of word balloons. Almost all the text is squeezed into the comic panels in various open spaces and it's often not easily attributed to a specific character. This can lead to confusion about who is saying what and makes the story difficult to read without slowing down the accustomed pace of comic book reading. In other words, if you're not patient, you'll find yourself skipping through some panels that appear too confusing to navigate. It's further complicated because Marrs sometimes includes tertiary dialogue of background characters that have nothing to do with the primary plot.

But I recommend that you do try to slow down. There are some delightful gems delivered in the busy text that help illuminate the broad panorama of the counterculture of the era. I tend to believe that when Lee Marrs sat down at the drawing board for this semi-autobiographical saga of her life in the late '60s, she tried to convey the rush of a million influences that shaped every aspect of that story. I can't blame her for getting swamped by the sea of details, which would've been lost if she hadn't recorded them in the dense pages of this book.
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keyline
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HISTORICAL FOOTNOTES:
There are three printings of this comic book. The 1st printing (10,000 copies) is by Last Gasp, has a 50-cent cover price, and is standard comic book size. The 2nd printing (4,200 copies) is also by Last Gasp and is comic book size, but it has a 75-cent cover price. The 3rd printing (unknown copies) is by Star*Reach Productions, has a $1.50 cover price, and is magazine size.
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The publication date of the first issue is somewhat clouded, as the indicia states 1973 and the Kennedy Price Guide states October, 1974. Marrs own website indicates it was 1973, preceding her contributions to Manhunt #1 and #2. I don't generally doubt Kennedy unless the creator has absolute recall on when they did something, so for the time being I'm just going with 1973-74.

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COMIC CREATOR:
Lee Marrs - 1-36
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Pudge Girl Blimp 1 2nd

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Pudge Girl Blimp 1 3rd
2nd Printing
Last Gasp, 75-cent cover.
3rd Printing
Star*Reach, magazine size, $1.50 cover.