Gilbert Shelton

was a product of the San Francisco underground scene of the early 1970s for sure, but he was originally a product of Texas. An amiable, likable fellow who drew funny and entertaining comic strips sums his work up as such:

"I'm just an ol' 'artist' sittin' around and 'doin' man thing." as quoted in my History of Underground Comics from 1974. According to fellow comic artist Harvey Kurtzman he was 'the professional of the group.' His creations include a spoof of the Super-Hero genre with 'Wonder Wart Hog: the Hog of Steel' who seems to brutally murder each villain of the story in a clumsy ill-planned fashion, thwarting his efforts to bring anyone to justice.

BUT, what he is really well-known for is the creation of three Haight-Ashbury hippies, brothers in name but with very different personalities. They were known as The Freak Brothers:


The Fat one, always on the move to grab, consume, and generally start the conflict rolling in his bumbling ham-fisted way of dealing with things.


The hard-nosed cynic of the group. Known for his famous quote 'dope and no money will get you better through times than money and no dope.'


The intellectual of the group. A master at chemistry and science who always is trying to get his hands on the latest pharmaceuticals.

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Grass Roots.

My favorite story of theirs "Grass Roots" is when they happen upon a vast cache of cocaine which they keep to get high and sell of a portion to buy good things in life. They get a custom truck with a camper top, move up to a fabulous cabin framed in the woods by a mountain stream. They meet three fabulously attractive women hitch hikers along the way. A hippie's dream, right?

Less than halfway through the strip one of them opens up the bag of cocaine and yells out 'We sniffed up a whole year's supply of coke in TWO DAYS?'

Fade fade fade...

One by one everything in the story goes 'twinkle' 'rumble' and 'fade fade fade' as we see what they REALLY bought into. The truck is a rusty old heap. The cabin is a dark scary leaky cold shack.

Shelton goes to great pains in the story to continue their adventures as the Freak Brothers learn to deal with life up in the woods. There's lots more to this story.

Fat Freddy's Cat

... and at the end of each page Gilbert would include a small strip about Fat Freddy's Cat (that's his name):

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