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hawgfat funnies
solid writing
competent art
historical bonus 3
total score 7
Hawgfat Funnies
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sludge comix
Sludge Comix
Only Printing / November, 1972 / 32 pages / Osborne Enterprises
This is a completely politically incorrect yet fairly funny comic book from Sheldon Adams Bickford. Hawgfat Funnies features comics starring Clem Hutchins, a redneck sheriff in Cletchville, Georgia. After a one-pager on the inside front cover that provides a quick preview of Hutchins' personality, Bickford gives us a couple multi-page stories that illuminate the ways of life in Cletchville, from the farm and the back alleys to the jailhouse. This sets the stage for the 15-page epic, "The Night of the Slanty-Eyed Trash," in which sheriff Hutchins battles to keep "the yellow chinkies" from "using oriental drugs to turn our youth into mindless commie puppets!" His hard-fought success earns him an award from the governor.

Though the drawing is rather poor (I was charitable when I scored it as "competent"), Bickford shows no fear when it comes to satirizing life in the South in the early '70s. He exposes sheriff Hutchins as a violent racist but also makes him an anti-hero by portraying every character in the most negative and stereotypical manner possible. The fact that the 22-year-old Bickford captured these stereotypes from his small burg in northern Vermont makes Hawgfat Funnies a bit more ironic.

I am quite certain that Sheldon Adams Bickford is the same guy as S. Marvin Bickford, who is credited on the cover of another interesting offbeat underground, Sludge Comix. Sludge was published at the end of 1971 by Osborne Enterprises out of Vermont and Hawgfat came from the same publisher almost a year later. According to Kennedy, both are believed to have print runs of about 500 copies. The signatures of S. Adams Bickford and S. Marvin Bickford appear in both books and Bickford appears to credit his own work under several pseudonyms.

The inside front cover comic in Hawgfat Funnies features a small logo for "Troll Press," a printing company in St. Johnsbury, Vermont that closed its doors in 2006. It appears that this was the printing company for Osborne Enterprises, though the logo does not appear in Sludge (which has no indicia at all).

It's difficult to track down much info for either Hawgfat or Sludge on the Internet, but a couple years ago I discovered a Web page (now a 401 error) that indicated that Sheldon Adams Bickford passed away in 1978, at the tender age of 28. If true, it's a shame, because the young man had a sharp sense of humor.
Osborne Enterprises printed approximately 500 copies of this comic book. It has not been reprinted.

Sheldon Adams Bickford - 1-32