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excellent writing
exceptional art
historical bonus 3
total score 9
Rip Off Comix #9
Back Cover
Back Cover
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Only Printing / Fall 1981 / 52 pages / Rip Off Press
Rip Off Comix #9 is introduced with a letter from the new managing editor, who uses the pseudonym Frappington Wildebeest VII. Not sure if that's actually Fred Todd, Gilbert Shelton or perhaps even Kathe Todd (who would later edit some issues of the magazine version), but the letter mentions that the previous managing editor, Jay Kinney, resigned after the previous issue. The letter also pokes fun at Gilbert Shelton, who was still "vacationing" in Europe after two years. Shelton was actually living in Spain and spent quite a bit of time traveling all over Western Europe, especially France, where he would eventually permanently settle.

And France is the country of origin for this issue's outstanding European cartoonist section, which takes up the latter half of the book. Shelton, who selected the artists, provides a diverse variety of comic styles from a dozen creators. As you may have heard (or directly experienced), the French sense of humor is distinct from the American, but several of the comic stories here would be funny anywhere. The humor is sometimes understated, sometimes melodramatic, and occasionally slapstick. In every case, one senses that each of these creators would likely be the wittiest personality at your average dinner party. The entire section is a joy to read, including the hilariously snobby introduction by Yves Fremion.

Like the previous issue, the Americans more than hold their own in the first half of the book. Shelton, Dave Sheridan and Paul Mavrides all lend a hand to the first story, "The Fabulous Furry Freak Brothers, 'Knock 'Em Dead.'" After seeing a live performance by a punk rock band, the Freak Brothers decide they can do better and form a punk band themselves. After cobbling together some instruments and selecting their wardrobe, the Freaks are ready to open up a show at the local club without a lick of practice. But when the headline band doesn't show up and the sound engineer also goes missing, the Freaks inherit the other band's equipment for the night. Unfortunately, they also inherit a volunteer sound man that doesn't have a clue what he's doing.

As the Freaks are jamming on stage, the sound man inadvertently directs electric power through a set of bedsprings the Freaks planned to use as a musical instrument, which projects microwaves into the audience and kills everyone that isn't on stage. The Freaks think the dead audience is a negative reaction to their musical prowess and leave the stage feeling humbled and defeated. But of course, this is punk rock, so when recording executives hear about the show that "knocked the audience dead" they desperately try to track down the band. But the Freaks have already disappeared back into their old life. The story is flamboyantly illustrated with great detail, meeting the high standards Shelton had set for his signature franchise.

Sheridan follows up the Freaks story with "Goose," about a noxious blowhard he'd introduced in Mother's Oats Comix #3 back in 1977. In this six-page ode to oafishness, Goose pays a surprise visit to an old buddy and immediately swindles a bartender out of a sweet Camaro. Before long he's throwing a huge, disastrous party at his friend's apartment and careening around town in the Camaro before crashing it into a pit of mudwater at a construction site. His friend finally loses his temper with Goose, but the damage is already done. "Goose" portrays a hard-partying fool with no conscience, the kind of schmuck who would inspire the phrase "with friends like him, who needs enemies?"

Before the section of French comics begins, the opening half of the book concludes with the second chapter of Shelton's "Wonder Wart-Hog in the Battle of the Titans," an epic adventure that would continue to unfold over the next three issues. In this chapter, Wonder Wart-Hog survives death and gets thrown into a time warp!

Rip Off #9 proves to be another solid entry in the "new and improved" series and hits some true high notes with a classic Freak Brothers story and an outstanding (and diverse) selection of comic work from top-flight French cartoonists.
It is currently unknown how many copies of this comic book were printed. It has not been reprinted.


Gilbert Shelton - 1 (shared), 2, 3-9 (collaboration), 16-25 (collaboration), 26, 52
Dave Sheridan - 1 (shared), 3-9 (collaboration), 10-15
Paul Mavrides - 3-9 (collaboration)
Tony Bell - 16-25 (collaboration)
Yves Fremion (aka Theophraste Epistoller) - 27 (text)
Philippe Petit-Roulet - 28
Martin Veyron - 29-31
Jean-Marc Reiser - 32-33
Francois-Volney Dupey - 34
Bernhard Willem Holtrop (aka Willem) - 35-37
Phillippe Vuillemin - 38-39
Daniel Goosens - 40
Frank Margerin - 41-43
Florence Cestak - 44-45
Charlie Schlingo - 46
Gerard Mathieu - 47-49
Cecile Anguera - 50
Hal Robins - 51 (spot illo for letters page)
Jay Kinney - 51 (spot illo for ad)