Fat Freddy's Cat, by Gilbert Shelton
'Fat Freddy's Cat'.

Gilbert Shelton is one of the most famous underground comix artists, famous for his series 'The Fabulous Furry Freak Brothers'. He was strongly influenced by Harvey Kurtzman and Willy Murphy. His talents surfaced early with his silly superhero spoof 'Wonder Warthog', published in a campus magazine in 1959 (Ranger). In May 1968 he introduced 'The Fabulous Furry Freak Brothers' in the newspaper Rag, starring Phineas, Freewheelin' Franklin and Fat Freddy. He was later joined on this comic by Dave Sheridan, and after Sheridan's death Paul Mavrides worked on it as well.

In 1969 Shelton, Fred Todd and Dave Moriaty co-founded the publishing house Rip-Off Press. 

The Freak Brothers, by Gilbert Shelton
'Fabulous Furry Freak Brothers'. 

Through the years, Shelton created several comic books, filled with riotous slapstick, full-speed action and extremely funny characters, all pleasantly mingled in his extraordinary limber drawing style. He earned his big money by selling the film rights to his characters, although this movie has never been made. Together with Pic, he worked on the Rock & Roll comic 'Not Quite Dead', about the world's most famous band that never made a CD.

The Fabulous Furry Freak Brothers, by Gilbert SheltonThe Fabulous Furry Freak Brothers, by Gilbert SheltonThe Fabulous Furry Freak Brothers, by Gilbert Shelton

In the 1960s, Gilbert Shelton designed posters for the psychedelic rock band Mother Earth, until passing the pencil to Jim Franklin. He was one of several artists to make a graphic contribution to 'Pepperland’ (1980), a collective comic book tribute to the store Pepperland, to celebrate its 10th anniversary at the time. He also contributed to  'Les Aventures du Latex - La Bande Dessinée Européenne s'Empare du Préservatif' (1991), a Swiss educational comic which promotes condom use.

Together with 20 other comic artists (Zep, Ptiluc, Frank Margerin, Yslaire, Cosey, Philippe Vuillemin, Milo Manara, Loustal, Max Cabanes, Dupuy & Berberian, François Boucq, Gérald Poussin, Thomas Ott, Frank Pé, Frank Le Gall, Riff Reb's, Eric Buche, Enrico Marini and Valott) he illustrated a record single for the project '20 Vraies Fausses Pochettes De Disque Par 20 Vrais Dessinateurs de BD' (1995). Shelton chose for a song by Clarence "Gatemouth" Brown.

In 2014 Shelton wrote the foreword to a reprint of Harvey Kurtzman's 'Jungle Book' (Dark Horse Comics, 2014). 

'The Fabulous Furry Freak Brothers' were spoofed by Jay Lynch as 'The Geek Brothers' in Bijou Funnies issue #8. The New Zealand band Fat Freddy's Drop (of which Dallas Tamaira is a member) named themselves after Fat Freddy's Cat. In the United States alone, Gilbert Shelton was an influence on Ralph BakshiKrystine KryttreFrank Stack and Arthur Suydam. He also found followers in Belgium (Willy Linthout), France (Garf, Pixel Vengeur), Germany (Gerhard Seyfried), The Netherlands (Jos Beekman, Flip FerminFrank HollanderYiri T. Kohl, Oscar De Wit) and the United Kingdom (Alan Moore, Stewart Kenneth Moore). 

Not Quite Dead, by Gilbert Shelton
'Not Quite Dead'. 

Gilbert Shelton interview

Series and books by Gilbert Shelton you can order today:

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