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excellent writing
exceptional art
historical bonus 3
total score 8
Rip Off Comix #23
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Table of Contents
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Table of Contents
Back Cover
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comix book
Comix Book
Only Printing / Summer 1989 / 52 pages / Rip Off Press
Rip Off Comix #23 is the "Rip-Snorting Science Fiction Issue!" and we get a beauty of a sci-fi cover from H.S. Robins. As shown by California Comics, great cover concepts and art can elevate a review score all by themselves (they can prove to be half the score of a mini-comic), and Robins' concept, layout and execution here are frame-worthy. Click on the cover above for a supersize view of Robins' art.

The issue kicks off with Joe Lee's eight-page "Lectures of the Space Academy," in which a veteran captain of a future space-based military force instructs a space academy class about planning for victory in the field. He recalls a recent mission to rescue a kidnapped princess from the ruler of a foreign planet (ironically, Earth!). The story is entertaining enough, enhanced by Lee's quasi-John Thompson illustrative detail, and ends with a nice reference to the class curriculum.

After a one-page Fat Freddy's Cat strip, Trina Robbins contributes four pages about the similarity of low-budget sci-fi movie plots from the '50s. This is old news to sci-fi and B-movie connoiseurs, but maybe it's a revelation to some normal people out there. Either way, fairly mundane stuff from Robbins.

Chris Harmon provides a clever spoof of the 1984 movie Iceman, in which a frozen crew of Vikings is suddenly reawakened from their icy demise by a young boy digging in his back yard. The boy, excited by this miracle, pretends to be a young Viking himself and invites the Vikings into his home to wreak playful havoc. It gets serious when the real Vikings get set for some serious raping and pillaging of the boy's mother, but the father brings everyone back to reality in the nick of time.

"Bar Maids on Mars" from Lyndal Ferguson shows what it might be like for Earthling bar maids to work in Star Wars-like cocktail lounges. Though there are a lot of characters to follow in the back-and-forth action, "Bar Maids" is fairly stylish and entertaining. Larry Todd follows with "Rock & Roll Aliens Trash a Hotel," which has even more characters and planets to keep track of, but it's fun to hear the sci-fi trope "obey our command or be destroyed!" lampooned again and again.

Joshua Quagmire went missing last issue, but he's back with "Uncle Joe Presents: Commies in Space," though it runs just one amusing page before Quagmire devotes his remaining page count to the five-page "Martian Duet." This poetic tribute to classic science-fiction stories that featured the planet Mars invokes, as Kathe Todd put it, "a mood of nostalgic desolation." Beautifully done and yet another solid contribution from Quagmire, though entirely different from his "Uncle Joe" strips.

Oh, how disappointed I was to see another "Dream of a Dog" story from Paul Ollswang follow Quagmire's piece. But surprise, this is one I truly liked! The plot is streamlined and easier to follow, the concept (wondering why dogs follow the orders of their masters) is interesting and the execution is, for Ollswang, funny and effective. Look, I want to like Ollswang's work, but it's been a challenge up to this point. Here he gives me reason to tackle that challenge with greater commitment.

After a decent two-pager by Lindsay Arnold that features aliens rescuing a spherical slave from a soccer game, Mary Fleener is back with "Madame X from Planet Sex in 'X-Pose'." It portrays an alien ship loaded with pleasure toys being intercepted by a morality space ship determined to stop Madame X from infiltrating Earth with "vice and perversion." Ah, but the morality inspector is not immune from his own iniquities!

Despite a mediocre five-pager by English cartoonist John A. Short that closes this issue, Rip Off bounces back from a sub-par issue with the type of strong effort we hope to see every time out.
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.


H.S. Robins - front cover
Kathe Todd - editor, inside front and back covers (introduction)
unknown - 1 (table of contents illustration - possibly by H.S. Robins)
Joe Lee - 2-9
Gilbert Shelton - 10
Trina Robbins - 11-13
Chris Harmon - 14-19
Lyndal Ferguson - 20-23
Larry Todd - 24-28
Joshua Quagmire - 28-33 (art, script)
Dick Glass - 28-33 (inks collaboration
F. Tubbins - 28-33 (inks collaboration)
Paul Ollswang - 34-38 (collaboration)
Bill Taft - 34-38 (collaroration)
Lindsay Arnold - 39-41
Mary Fleener - 42-43
John A. Short - 44-48
Guy Colwell - back cover