Gilbert Shelton (born
May 31, 1940, Houston, Texas) is an American cartoonist and underground comix artist.
He is the
creator of The Fabulous Furry Freak
, Fat Freddy's
, Not Quite
, and the cover art to The Grateful Dead's 1978 album
He graduated from Lamar High School in Houston. He attended Washington and
Lee University, Texas A&M University, and the University of Texas at Austin, where he received his bachelor's degree in the
social sciences in 1961.
His early cartoons were published
in the University of Texas' humor magazine The Texas
after graduation, Shelton moved to New York City and got a job editing automotive magazines, where
he would sneak his drawings into print.
The idea for the
character of Wonder Wart-Hog
, a porcine parody of Superman
, came to him in 1961. The following year,
Shelton moved back to Texas to enroll in
graduate school and get a student deferment from the draft.
The first two Wonder
stories appeared in Bacchanal
, a short-lived
college humor magazine, in the spring of 1962. He then became
editor of The Texas Ranger
and published more Wonder
After switching from graduate school to art school (where he
befriended singer Janis Joplin
) for two
years, he was finally drafted, but Army doctors declared him
medically unfit after he admitted to taking psychedelic
drugs. After this, in 1964
and 1965, he spent some time in Cleveland, where his girlfriend at the time was going to the
Cleveland Art Institute.
He applied for a job at the
Cleveland-based American Greeting Card Company
fellow underground comic
had worked) but was turned
this time Shelton became art director for the Vulcan Gas Company, a rock music venue in Austin, Texas, where he worked with Jim Franklin.
He created a
number of posters in the style of contemporary California poster
artists such as Victor Moscoso
. After a year of this,
he moved to San
Francisco in the
summer of 1968, hopeful that being closer to the action would
enable him to do more poster work; as it turned out, he finally got
his break in the alternative comix business.
That same year, Millar Publishing Company, who had been publishing
regular Wonder Wart-Hog stories since 1966, published two issues of
Wonder Wart-Hog Quarterly
. 140,000 copies of each were
printed, but distributors did not pick up the magazine, and only
40,000 of each were sold.
After a strip named Feds 'n' Heads
(published by Print
), Gilbert created his most famous strip, The Fabulous
Furry Freak Brothers
in 1968, and a spin-off strip, Fat
in 1969, when he also co-founded Rip Off Press
currently lives in Paris, France.
most recent work, in collaboration with French cartoonist
, is Not Quite Dead
, which appeared in Rip
#25 and in five Not Quite Dead
In addition to a new Wonder Wart-Hog story in Zap Comix
#15 (2005), his Fabulous Furry
are currently being turned into a stop-motion
- "Gilbert Shelton Interviewed by Frank Stack". The
Comics Journal. Retrieved Sep. 23, 2004.