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solid writing
exceptional art
historical bonus 4
total score 9
Slow Death Funnies #1
Back Cover
Back Cover
(click for larger image)

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2nd/4th Printing / early 1970s / 36 pages / Last Gasp
First Printing April 1970
Last Gasp's first comic book ever was intended to be a benefit book for the ecology center that Ron Turner volunteered for, but the center rejected the book after it was published, leaving Turner to sell the 20,000 copies on his own. All's well that ends well: Turner ended up turning Last Gasp into the longest-lasting underground comics publisher in history.

Slow Death Funnies #1 is packed with one-pagers and short stories that skewer the auto industry, corporate polluters, overpopulation, litterbugs and even (presciently) the soft drink industry. Alas, the world didn't listen, and now our icecaps are melting. Oh well.

Some of the writing is a little dated in this book, but the spirit of the messages still comes through strong. Slow Death #1 presents a nice variety of early underground art by some of its finest practitioners, with highly detailed drawings. This is one of those (many) underground comics that could have benefitted from having a larger printing format.
There are four known printings of this comic book, all by Last Gasp and all with 50-cent cover prices. The 1st printing (20,000 copies) is easily distinguished by the red border on the front cover. The 2nd printing (10,000 copies), 3rd printing (10,000 copies) and 4th printing (5,000 copies), which all have a white border on the front cover, are considered indistinguishable from one another.
Greg Irons - 1, 14-16
Willie Mendes - 2
Gary Grimshaw - 3-4, 17
Dave Sheridan - 5-7, 19
Jim Osborne - 8
Jim Evans - 9-13, 36
Randy Tuten - 18, 35 (lettering)
Gilbert Shelton - 20, 34
Fred Schrier - 21-26, 35
Rory Hayes - 27 (collaboration)
Jeffery Hayes - 27 (collaboration)
Ron Cobb - 27 (shared)
Jack Jackson - 28-29
Kim Deitch - 30-31
Robert Crumb - 32-33
Tony Auth - 35 (shared)
Slow Death 1 1st
1st Printing
Red border on
front cover.