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solid writing
skilled art
historical bonus 3
total score 7
pudge girl blimp _ Pudge Girl Blimp 2 _ Pudge Girl Blimp 3
Pudge, Girl Blimp #1
Pudge, Girl Blimp #2 Pudge, Girl Blimp #3
The Further Fattening Adventures of
Pudge, Girl Blimp


1973-1978 / Last Gasp Eco-Funnies - Star*Reach Productions
Lee Marrs was hardly a neophyte when she barreled her way into the underground comix scene in the early 1970s. Born in 1945, Marrs had been working in mainstream comics since the late '60s for DC Comics, contributing to Hi & Lois and Little Orphan Annie, a pair of ultra-conventional comics that laid the functional groundwork for her foray into the underground. After discovering the comix revolution, she helped establish the Alternative Features Service in Berkeley in 1971, which distributed news, features and comics to underground newspapers. It wasn't long before she began creating the type of comics that might feed that syndicate.

Marrs co-founded the Wimmen's Comix collective in 1972 and contributed to the first two issues of Wimmen's Comix, including editing the second issue. She also contributed to El Perfecto Comics in '73 before Last Gasp provided Marrs with her own title, The Further Fattening Adventures of Pudge, Girl Blimp. The Pudge, Girl Blimp serial is groundbreaking because it's probably the first comic book to feature a very unattractive, overweight woman as a sympathetic protagonist.

Pudge is introduced in the first issue with her arrival in San Francisco from Normal, Illinois as a fat 17-year-old runaway. She's also a virgin and she really wants to get laid, but every attempt she makes to "make it" fails cataclysmically, which becomes an underlying theme throughout the three issues (she finally gets laid in the third issue).

Pudge's backstory is further complicated by the fact that she is, in reality, a Martian, as are millions of other fat, lonely people on Earth. However, none of these Martians realize they actually came from Mars, so the government of Mars assigns guardian Martians to keep an eye on the welfare of the Earthbound Martians. Two such guardians are assigned to Pudge and get sent to Earth to keep a close eye on her. To evade detection, the two guardians use human disguises: one looks like Woody Allen and the other like Captain Kangaroo.

The human-but-actually-Martian aspect of the story has the potential to be interesting metaphorically, but Marrs does almost nothing with it beyond the two guardians following Pudge around and occasionally interacting with their government or other humans. In fact, if the Martian aspect of the story was removed entirely, absolutely nothing else in the story would need to change, so it's best just to ignore it.

Pudge quickly acclimates to the Bay Area counterculture and joins a hippie commune, even though she doesn't take drugs and is naive to virtually every radical movement of the era. For that matter, Pudge is naive to most of adult life, which is not surprising since she's a teenager. The fact that she's seventeen years old informs her intelligence, but she still manages to fit in socially with the much-older-but-mostly-still-young adults in the commune.

One of the things Pudge does on a consistent basis is stuff her face with food. Throughout the serial, she is repeatedly eating junk food, ordering pizza or settling in at Burger Bippie to chow down on half a dozen hamburgers. The only thing she wants as much as her next meal is to lose her virginity. Her first sexual experience takes place in the third issue, but it's with another woman, which Pudge enjoys and it makes her wonder if she is actually a lesbian (or "thesbian" as Pudge puts it). When she finally pops her cherry with a man later on, it's not the greatest experience, but after a few more rolls in the hay she's practically a nymphomaniac.

Marrs produced the three issues of Pudge, Girl Blimp as a trilogy with an absolute ending to the story; the third issue sees Pudge through her 18th birthday and the realization that she has only begun her young life and can accomplish anything she truly wants to... that is, right after she gets her next snack.

In the years that followed Pudge, Lee Marrs established a distinguished career in comic books, both mainstream and alternative, as well as being an editorial cartoonist, art director, animation producer and general multimedia guru. She wrote an extraordinary, extensive article on web comics in 2005 that still has great relevance today. Marrs received the San Diego Comic-Con Inkpot Award in 1982 and served as an Eisner Award judge in 2002. Marrs briefly brought Pudge back to life in an upbeat tale set in the wake of Hurricane Katrina, "Pudge, Girl Blimp returns in Hurricane Eye for the Straight Grrl," published in Sexy Chix, Anthology of Women Cartoonists.

Compared to the great things she accomplished later, Pudge, Girl Blimp was a relatively minor accomplishment by Marrs. But it is the one she most remembered for by underground comics fans. It's also an important milestone in comics (having a short, fat, ugly, horny heroine) that doubtlessly inspired and/or influenced many short, fat and ugly women (no offense intended; I love you all) to convey their own personal hells through their art or prose.