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average writing
skilled art
historical bonus 3
total score 6
Rip Off Comix #22
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Table of Contents
Table of Contents
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Back Cover
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comix book
Comix Book
Only Printing / Spring 1989 / 52 pages / Rip Off Press
Like the 18th issue, Rip Off Comix #22 doesn't have a specific theme, so once again we just revert back to the old subtitle, "The International Review of Comics." In this case, though, almost all of the content is from American creators. Chief among them is Gilbert Shelton, who provides the terrific front cover art.

Mary Fleener gets the issue off to a strong start with "The Long Way Home," which is based on a true story. It's after midnight in San Pedro, California, and Mary is stranded outside a sleazy rock club because her "slut girlfriend" has taken off with some creep to get laid. Mary bums a ride home from a former boyfriend (who played in a band at the club) and they end up picking up a hitchhiker on the Harbor Freeway. The hitchhiker, who is black and mute but uses written notes to communicate, leads Mary and her ex up into a bad part of L.A., where two black guys jump into their van at a stop light.

The situation is getting pretty hairy and Mary is freaking out, but it turns out that their hitchhiker has everything under much more control than she or her ex-boyfriend would ever have guessed. Fleener, who quit art school and became a rock singer, has appeared in many women's comics anthologies and Rip Off Press published her one-woman autobiographical series Slutburger in the early '90s. No matter how bizarre her stories may get, Fleener has a knack for portraying them as "everywoman" tales that often make us think of similar situations we were in ourselves. A lot of that is accomplished by not being judgemental about living one's life the way one sees fit. Fleener recently revived her comic career with The Coast News in Encinitas, California, and has her own website.

Unfortunately, the rest of this issue struggles to keep up with Fleener's solid start. Paul Ollswang contributes another extended "Dreams of a Dog" story, as he did in issue #20. Ollswang, who passed away at the age of 51 in 1996, was a well-regarded (and well-educated) cartoonist from Oregon, but for me his six-pager here about a dog's dream is interminable, confusing and boring.

German cartoonist Charles Kaufman delivers a nice one-pager about two men vacationing in eastern Europe and French cartoonist Pierre Ouin gives us a pretty good story featuring his fiendish junkie Bloodi (as he did in issue #15). Wayne Honath follows with a funny one-pager starring Howie "The Hat" Patterson, but then we get an eight-page Douglas Michael tale, "My Life in Art," that limps along on a thin premise and ends with a weak plot twist.

The rest of the issue is fairly mediocre, and even Frank Stack can't save it with a Dr. Feelgood story (primarily because it features Dorman's Doggie, the neurotic and unpleasant Ping). Apparently bereft of new material, Fred and Kathe Todd reprint a vintage Wonder Wart-Hog story ("Wonder Wart-Hog and the Merciless, Menacing, Masked Meanie!") to close the magazine. Issue #22 is not one of the stronger issues in the series, though Shelton's front cover art is essential for Freak Brothers fanatics.
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, 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 - editor, inside front cover (introduction)
Gilbert Shelton - front cover (art), 44-47 (art)
Guy Colwell - front cover (color), inside back cover (ad), back cover
Mary Fleener - 2-5
Bruce Bolinger - 6
Paul Andrew Ollswang - 7-12
Charles Kaufman - 13
Pierre Ouin - 14-19
Wayne Honath (aka Wayno) - 20, 36, 43-43
Douglas Michael - 21-28
Scott Nickel - 29
Frank Stack (aka Foolbert Sturgeon) - 30-35
Chris Harmon - 37-41
Tony Bell - 44-47 (script)
Hunt Emerson - 50