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excellent writing
exceptional art
historical bonus 2
total score 8
Rubber Duck Tales #2
Back Cover
Back Cover
(click for larger image)

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Only Printing / 1972 / 36 pages / The Print Mint
Rubber Duck #2 shows that the two-man team of Michael J. Becker and Robbie Landeros have improved their skill level since the first issue of the series. Landeros in particular is somewhat of a revelation in this book, and he gets the front cover and the first 20 pages of this issue.

Unlike the first issue that mostly featured short stories, Rubber Duck #2 has only three stories. The first, by Landeros, is "Hi Ho Platinum Away," a crackling 10-page parody of The Lone Ranger. Both the writing and the artwork are close to top-shelf with some excellent action scenes and
lovely compositions. The Lone Ranger character here is bigger and beefier than the Jack Davis caricature from the two Mad comic book spoofs in the early '50s, but the Tonto character (called "Tauntus" here) is quite similar.

And, in fact, the first eight pages of Landeros' parody would fit right in with a Mad comic book, as only a few of its risqué panels are too naughty for an EC comic. You can even imagine being a kid and hiding under your bedsheets with a flashlight to read this story, as so many kids once did when EC comics were all the rage in the '50s. But of course, this is a fucking underground comic, and the last two pages of this story go way beyond what Mad would ever dare to try. The sudden shift into a bawdy sex scene (with Annie Oakley and her little sister!) is part of why "Hi Ho Platinum Away" is such a joy: it's like a Mad comic book story that finally gets to go "all the way."

If Landeros' spoof of The Lone Ranger is a great send-up of a Mad story, then "Shishka-Bob the Wunda Hoss" is a great send-up of a Robert Crumb story, circa 1969. "Shishka-Bob" features a teen-age girl character named Little Annie Walker, who bears a striking resemblance to Crumb's Honeybunch Kaminski. Annie is a country girl who heads out to "Slim Pimp Stables" to ride Shishka-Bob, an old stallion with a special little hump back (thanks to cross breeding with camels). The ride literally sends Annie into a stratosphere of delight, though her joyride is suddenly derailed by an angry God.

"Shishka-Bob the Wunda Hoss" concludes in true Crumb style with a grotesque desecration of Annie, bringing great merriment to Slim Pimp and Shishka-Bob. Landeros not only simulates Crumb's misogyny and exploitation of young women, but does a fair job of replicating his style as well.

If Rubber Duck #2 had ended after the first two stories, it would've gotten a total score of 9 and been declared a lost classic. Even after Becker's contribution; the two-part, 15-page "Shit List," which is a tour de force of a different kind but only slightly weaker, Rubber Duck #2 can still be labeled a lost classic, with just a slightly lower score (kind of like I had to do with Everwuchawe).

"Shit List" is a political parody featuring a Richard Nixon caricature, in which human shit becomes a modern panacea hoarded by the government until a small group of rebels sets out to expose the bullshit. It's a pretty solid story itself with some exceptional illustration, but it doesn't quite provide the laughs of Landeros' work. Still, Rubber Duck #2 is a worthwhile entry in the pantheon of overlooked underground classics.
The Print Mint produced approximately 20,000 copies of this comic book. It has not been reprinted.


Robbie Landeros - 1-21
Michael J. Becker - 22-36