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solid writing
skilled art
historical bonus 3
total score 7
Rip Off Comix #16
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18 Introduction
Table of Contents
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Back Cover
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Only Printing / September 1987 / 52 pages / Rip Off Press
Rip Off Comix #16 whets the appetite with its front-cover proclamation "The Battle of the Sexes!" Though the content inside doesn't quite live up to the hype (partly because only two of the 12 contributors is a woman), at least some of the stories try to make good on the promise. Kathe Todd (wife of Rip Off Press cofounder Fred Todd) takes her first crack at editing the magazine because, as she writes in the introduction, "somebody had to edit this issue, and the choice of genders is limited."

The first two stories by Mark Bodé and Trina Robbins portray actual physical battles between the sexes but both end with cop outs, as Bodé's conflict turns out to be nothing but orchestrated fantasy and Robbins' combat is resolved when both men and women end up apologizing and retroactively blaming religion and government for their hostility. What the fuck? So where's the "battle of the sexes"?

The mediocre Freak Brothers story that follows is exempt from the theme of this magazine (I mean, come on, when have the fabulous furries ever tackled feminism or sexism?), so we have to go to page 17 before we finally get anywhere near the crux of the matter at hand. And leave it to Frank Stack to truly tackle the battle of the sexes.

The third episode of Stack's "Amazons" treads similar water as the previous two episodes, but it's especially germane to this issue's bombastic topic. Stack is one of the most beautiful, intelligent and progressive minds that ever graced the comic book industry, and in "Amazons" he is quintessentially irreverent as he pits male pride against female ego on a mock battlefield. Stack's playful dialogue between the male and female coalitions illuminates uncanny behavioral insights that seem universally applicable to every generation of men and women. Though "Amazons" doesn't quite measure up to his brilliant script for Amazon Comics in 1972, I can't think of anyone who could provide a more balanced view of the reality of gender interaction.

Stack's routine wit and sagacity makes the rest of this issue's content pale in comparison, though Matthew Finch's "I Was a Post Feminist Man" at the end of the magazine provides some keen observations about men coping in a world that's been forever changed by empowered women.

On the surface, this issue of Rip Off would appear to be one of the most exciting issues in the series, but by attempting to directly address such an important topic as gender conflict the magazine mostly offers misguided stories that deliver relatively shallow input on its assignment. That said, Rip Off #16 is still an entertaining read, despite failing to deliver a tour de force on its declared mission.
It is currently unknown how many copies of this comic book were printed. It has not been reprinted. Like other magazine-format comics with numbered pages and a table of contents, the index of comic creators below follows the page numbers defined in the magazine instead of counting the covers as additional numbered pages.


Kathe Todd - front cover (design), inside front cover (introduction), 3
Mark Bodé - front cover (spot illo), 4-7
Trina Robbins - front cover (spot illo), 8-14
Angela Bocage - 8-14 (lettering)
Gilbert Shelton - 15-18 (collaboration)
Paul Mavrides - 15-18 (collaboration)
Frank Stack - 19-24
Jorge Pacheco - 25-27
Bruce Bolinger - front cover (spot illo), 28-34
Gavin Wood - front cover (spot illo), 35-38
Tim Burgess - 39
Spain Rodriguez - 40-44
Larry Todd - front cover (spot illo), 45-47
Matthew Finch - front cover (spot illo), 48-50
Dori Seda - inside back cover
Guy Colwell - back cover