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solid writing
skilled art
historical bonus 3
total score 7
Rip Off Comix #17
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18 Introduction
Table of Contents
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Back Cover
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Only Printing / December 1987 / 52 pages / Rip Off Press
Rip Off Comix continues its recent obsession with a thematic format as issue #17 offers stories about getting arrested by the cops (Busted!). Since returning from its four-year hiatus earlier in the year, Rip Off has built each issue centered around a specific theme, much like some classic underground comic anthologies in the golden age (1968-73) and many minicomics from Clay Geerdes' Comix World in the early '80s. This trend would continue throughout the remaining run of Rip Off Comix.

The "Busted" issue of Rip Off would seem to have a lot of potential, but it's never quite realized. The lead story is by Joshua Quagmire (creator of Cutey Bunny), who relates the legend of how his great great granduncle was hung by Confederate soldiers, twice! Dan O'Neill follows with a brief story about how he drew a portrait of a woman whose husband was doing life in prison...meh.

Frank Stack delivers episode four (and the second-to-last one) of "Amazons," which doesn't relate to this issue's theme but builds suspense for the final chapter, especially now that the Olympic god Zeus is involved! As he's done throughout the story, Frank delights in mixing casual humor and modern slang into his whimsical script.

The Pizz follows with a two-pager that relays a rat-a-tat-tat summary of his legal woes back in '81, when he was a nonstop partying, gun-toting fool (but had a lotta fun getting in trouble). The editor of this ish, R.L. Crabb, gives himself five pages to recall the case of a rock band falsely accused of armed robbery (rather ho-hum).

After Steve Lafler does a two-pager that goes nowhere and has nothing to do with getting busted, Dennis Worden delivers an amusing "Stickboy" story that also has nothing to do with the law, but at least it's entertaining (and will "be continued" in the next issue). It's followed by perhaps the last story Dori Seda completed before she died just two months after this issue was published. Seda's "How Cops Pick Up Girls" is just an average plot, but she had a knack for turning the mundane into something potent, and it's fascinating just because she's fascinating.

After a couple more pedestrian tales, Krystine Kryttre contributes a visually striking but wordless adventure of a prisoner who escapes through a mucky swamp; gross but fun. After that, Larry Welz relates the events of "The Summer of '87" during which he was briefly a suspect in the murder of a young female friend of his. Welz was soon released, but as of the publication date the murder was still unsolved. Mary Fleener closes the mag with a two-pager about her run-in with the harbor police and customs agents in Long Beach, California.

Rip Off #17 may not live up to the potential of the theme, but it provides some decent stories about brushes with the law.
It is currently unknown how many copies of this comic book were printed. It has not been reprinted. The inside back cover of this issue begins advertising 1987's back issues, which I take as a sign that the magazine is unable to sell out its single print run. That's not a critical issue at the beginning of 1988, but Rip Off Comix will only run another 3 1/2 years before Rip Off Press will cease publishing the mag.
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.


R.L. Crabb - editor, front cover (collaboration), inside front cover (introduction), 18-24
Dan O'Neill - front cover (collaboration), 5-8
Guy Colwell - front cover (color)
Joshua Quagmire - 2-4 (art, script)
F. Tubbins - 2-4 (inks)
Frank Stack - 9-13
The Pizz - 14-15
Steve Lafler - 23-24
D. Worden - 25-28
Dori Seda - 29-31
Larry Marder - 32-35 (script)
Donald Simpson - 32-35 (art)
J.R. Williams - 36-37
Krystine Kryttre - 38-40
Larry Welz - 41-46
Mary Fleener - 47-48
Gilbert Shelton - back cover (collaboration)
Paul Mavrides - back cover (collaboration)