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solid writing
exceptional art
historical bonus 3
total score 8
Rip Off Comix #29
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Table of Contents
Table of Contents
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Back Cover
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Only Printing / Winter 1990 / 52 pages / Rip Off Press
Like a few mag-size issues in the past, Rip Off Comix #29 doesn't have a specific theme, though Kathe Todd tosses out one possibility on the table of contents: "Sex and Sorcery and Fear and Angst and Funny Animals." Mmkay, I'll buy that. It is accurate, after all.

Paul Mavrides writes another inside-front-cover introduction, and this one is almost as vituperative as his last one in ish 27, but at least here his insolence isn't directed at his fans quite so much. I went on enough of a rant on Mavrides' last introduction, so I won't go off again here. But however I might scold Mavrides, l admit that both articles are richly entertaining in their own way.

The lead story by Eric Vincent is a beaut, though it was produced in 1984. I don't know where "Retread" was first published, presuming it was, but it's well worth showing off again here for Rip Off's "massive" audience. "Retread" has a great first panel that explains its satiric essence thusly: "Tired of all those demon rape stories that humiliate women? We thought not... For all the pin-heads that make this kind of comic story so profitable... we proudly present another fantasy RETREAD." And that's exactly what the six-page story gives us.

Inside a foreboding castle lies a naked, bound woman under the absolute control of a nefarious wizard and his hunchback assistant Igor. Nearly every panel of this story is played as a parody of the typical, sinister "demon rape story," as the bound woman is revealed to have volunteered for her role in exchange for the wizard buying a case of band candy from her (wow, when's the last time you heard about band candy?).

It also turns out that the wizard is a rather amateur sorcerer, as he's only in the early stages of taking his correspondence course, so he can only conjure up minor demons. After great effort, he does manage to invoke the demon Fred, who looks like a male model. When the wizard commands Fred to rape the woman, Fred snaps back, "I don't know where you got your bed manners, but I'm into sensitivity. 'Foreplay or no-play' ...that's my motto!" The wizard has no choice but to settle in with Igor and watch Fred make passionate love with the more-than-willing woman captive (now unbound).

The rapid disintegration of the wizard's rape fantasy is made even worse when a fussy old shrew bursts into the castle demanding to know what's going on. She puts a quick end to all this sex nonsense and starts wailing on both demon Fred and the wizard, who is cowed into following her commands. As the old shrew leads the wizard and Igor off for some major morality reform, the woman captive is left utterly free and alone, but she's not happy about the wizard's broken promise!

"Retread" a terrific parody and relatively kid-friendly: there's no hard-core sex and nothing but Looney Tunes-type violence. Wherever it came from, Vincent really dialed up a minor masterpiece to open this issue. It's a tough act to follow, and "The Dream of S. Freud" by Joe Lee falters a bit with its literate exposition and silly costume punchline. It's probably pretty hard to fuck up an intelligent Freud comic story, and Lee doesn't fumble so badly that "The Dream of S. Freud" isn't enjoyable. But in comparison to "Retread"....

Lee Binswanger follows Lee with a modern, autobiographical slice-of-life story in "Mother's Day," which is about three young women dealing with a couple asshole male neighbors in a dumpy apartment complex. Leonard Boyarsky attempts to trump Stephen Hawking's A Brief History of Time (years before it was even published!) in the four lightly worded pages of "A Few Billion Years Ago." The Pizz contriubtes a rockin' S. Clay Wilson-like two-page spread in a sleazy tattoo studio with "Tit for Tat."

M. Schafer does a brut-style three-pager about the early years of AIDS that's pretty good, which is followed by R.L. Crabb's "The Tramp Sisters," which is apparently part of a larger series starring the same three female characters (?). In any case, this one is a fantastic yarn about a man with a gigantic dick and the three sisters he's gonna wish he never met. Later, Randy Vogel does an atmospheric "white punks party in the ghetto" that is quite entertaining but ends in what feels like the middle of the story.

The issue's last major story is another Uncle Joe media parody from Joshua Quagmire, this one imagining if Joe guest hosted The Tonight Show. In this fantasy, Joe's guests are Cutey Bunny and her British counterpart Cutie Bunny. The bunnies talk about their "real life" names and their brief history in comics (primarily in the Cutey Bunny comic serial).

The comic wraps up with a pair of half-pagers from Gilbert Shelton that might easily be published in a Sunday newspaper comics section (they're even in color). Overall, Rip Off #29 has a well-selected variety of illustration styles from a strong stable of comic artists. Except for a few bumps in the road, the concepts and scripting are pretty solid too (hence the rating of "solid" in the writing critique, duh). With just two issues left in the magazine's run, it seems like Rip Off Comix is going out with style.
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.


Paul Mavrides - front cover, inside front cover
Eric Vincent - 2-7
Dennis Worden - 8
Joe Lee - 9-14
Lee Binswanger - 15-18
Leonard Boyarsky - 19-22
Nina Paley - 23
The Pizz - 24-25
M. Schafer - 26-28
R.L. Crabb - 29-33
Kathryn Lemieux - 34-35
Randy Vogel - 36-39
Eddie Campbell - 40
Michael T. Gilbert - 41-42
Joshua Quagmire - 43-48
Mark Burbey - inside back cover (script)
Bili Turner - inside back cover (art)
Gilbert Shelton - back cover