Joyeux anniversaire, Gilbert Shelton!

« … and now for some of that fun we promised you! Trained chihuahas! Car races! A couple of inspirational documentaries! And a quiz show! Hallelujahgobble! Hallelujahgobble! »

For my money, there’s no funnier man in comics, at least on such a consistent, sustained level, as the extraordinary Gilbert Shelton (born May 31st, 1940, in Houston, TX, which makes him 78 today). Sure, he’s slowed down some since 1959 (the year he foisted upon the world the Wonder Warthog), but the quality of his output has not decreased one iota (quite the contrary, in fact!) It may well be that the secret of his longevity lies in his choice of collaborators, but as far as I’m concerned, that’s just another facet of his talent. I’ll (mostly) let the man’s work speak for itself. Brace yourselves for the ride, here we go!
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Yeah, that old hippie shit’s totally dated; this has nothing to do with American’s current socio-political situation. Well, it would be nice if Amtrak’s trains ran a bit closer to schedule. This ran as the back cover of « Wonder Wart-Hog and the Nurds of November: Gilbert Shelton’s Exciting Cartoon Novel of Election-Year Politics, International Nuclear Terror, Professional Football, Science Fiction, Motorcycle and Auto Racing, Pestilence, Famine, Economic Collapse and Romantic Love. » (1980, Rip Off Press)
The Brothers’ none-too-effective nemesis Norbert the Nark in the spotlight. From The Fabulous Furry Freak Brothers no. 12 (1992, Rip Off Press).
Fat Freddy’s such a good little Suzie Homemaker. Another piece from The Fabulous Furry Freak Brothers no. 12 (1992, Rip Off Press). FatFreddyCatCameoAFatFreddyScat1A
The toilet-training method reportedly works, but it helps to have more than one toilet available. From Fat Freddy’s Cat no. 7 (1993, Rip Off Press)
Shelton’s most recent major creation, circa 1988-89, is Not Quite Dead, “the world’s oldest and least successful Rock ‘n’ Roll band”. So far, we’ve been treated to six issues, and the latest, “Last Gig in Shnagrlig” (2009), is quite the epic! A fruitful collaboration with French bédéiste Denis Lelièvre, alias Pic. These vignettes hail from Not Quite Dead no. 5 (2005, Knockabout)
Aw, ain’t he adorable, and don’t you just wanna slip the birthday boy a big ol’ sloppy smooch? Photo by Christophe Prébois.
Speaking of collaborators, though it’s none of their birthdays, let’s give a salty salute to Shelton compadres-in-crime Tony Bell, Joe E. Brown Jr., Dave Sheridan, Paul Mavrides and Pic. Did I forget anyone? -RG

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