Hydrogen Bomb (and Biochemical Warfare) Funnies 1, 1970
©Rip Off Press
Penciler: Gilbert Shelton
Hydrogen Bomb Funnies 1 is a rare example of an underground comic book on the Periodic Table of Comic Books. The underground comix movement began with small, self-published books in San Francisco in the late 1960s. Rip Off Press was founded in San Francisco in 1969 by underground cartoonists Gilbert Shelton and Jack Jackson (Jaxon), along with Fred Todd and Dave Moriaty. These four hippies from Texas found San Francisco's underground comix scene just beginning to flower. Shelton'sHydrogen Bomb Funnies was one of the publisher's first releases, along with reprints of R. Crumb's Comix & Stories from 1964 and Jaxon's God Nose Comix. The first collection of Shelton's best known creation, Fabulous Furry Freak Brothers, was published in 1971.
The cover of Hydrogen Bomb Comics features caricatures of "America's Three Most Popular Men," namely President Richard Nixon, Vice-President Spiro Agnew and Evangelist Billy Graham. The contents are a Who's Who of 1970 underground cartoonists: Gilbert Shelton, Robert Crumb, Dave Sheridan, Kim Deitch, Jaxon, Greg Irons, Robert Williams, F. Schreier, and S. Clay Wilson. Most of the stories are based around the theme of a hydrogen bomb explosion or a post-nuclear earth. Unfortunately, as the faux Comics Code X- symbol on the cover indicates, most of the stories cannot be reproduced on a G-rated website! A particularly hilarious story from Foolbert Sturgeon's New Adventures of Jesus series takes a satirical look at Jesus, returned to Earth after 2000 years, and a thinly disguised Superman attempting to reassemble Earth after it has apparently been blown to confetti by a hydrogen bomb. Sturgeon is better known today as Frank Stack, Professor of Art at University of Missouri – Columbia, who drew Harvey Pekar's and Joyce Brabner's harrowing, autobiographical Our Cancer Year.