The Online Encyclopedia and Dictionary






Gilbert Shelton

Gilbert Shelton (born May 31, 1940, Houston, Texas) is an American cartoonist and underground comics artist. He is the creator of The Fabulous Furry Freak Brothers, Fat Freddy's Cat, and Wonder Wart-Hog .

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 Ranger.

Directly after graduating, 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 Wart-Hog 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 Wart-Hog stories.

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 (where a fellow underground comic artist Robert Crumb had worked) but was turned down.

In 1968, 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.

Around this time Shelton became art director for The Vulcan Gas Company, a rock venue in Austin, Texas. He created a number of posters in the style of contemporary California poster artists such as Victor Moscoso and Rick Griffin. After a year of this, he moved to San Francisco in the summer of 1968.

Gilbert created his most famous strip, The Fabulous Furry Freak Brothers, in 1968 and Fat Freddy's Cat in 1969. He was last known to be living in Paris.


  • "Gilbert Shelton Interviewed by Frank Stack". The Comics Journal. Retrieved Sep. 23, 2004.
Last updated: 05-21-2005 15:09:09