a zen fable by underground comix genius fred schrier


Es­ti­mated reading time is 2 min­utes.

ARTIST FRED SCHRIER ranks among the most fan­tastic and psy­che­delic artists of the Un­der­ground Comix Era of the late 1960s and early ’70s. He also ranks among the most under-appreciated. His solo work and his col­lab­o­ra­tions with Dave Sheridan cap­ture the sur­real and often whim­sical as­pects of the hippie lifestyle and the psy­che­delic ex­pe­ri­ence rarely noted by other artists—and never by the anti-psychedelic crowd.

Fred Schrier is a rather mys­te­rious figure: he came into the field and made a name for him­self working with Dave Sheridan, al­ready an un­der­ground legend for his Fab­u­lous Furry Freak Brothers and Fat Fred­dy’s name­less cat.

Schri­er’s few solo strips on are fan­tastic in all five mean­ings of the word fan­tastic, at least ac­cording to the Free Dic­tio­nary.

1a.  “based on or ex­isting only in fan­tasy”
1b.  “s
trange or fan­ciful in form, con­cep­tion, or ap­pear­ance”
2a.  “u
nre­al­istic; ir­ra­tional”
2b.  “e
xceed­ingly great in size or de­gree”
3a.  “w
on­derful or su­perb; re­mark­able”

Per­haps Schri­er’s best-known strip is “A Zen Fable” from Meef Comix #2 (May 1973). Here it is in its glo­rious fullness—all four pages. Click on each image to ex­pand it to a read­able size!


Page 1 of underground comix strip "A Zen Fable" by Fred Schrier.

Page 2 of underground comix strip "A Zen Fable" by Fred Schrier.

Page 3 of underground comix strip "A Zen Fable" by Fred Schrier.

Page 4 of underground comix strip "A Zen Fable" by Fred Schrier.

About the artist

De­spite his as­so­ci­a­tion with Sheridan and ap­pearing in sev­eral well-circulated ti­tles, Schrier re­mained a fringe player and his ca­reer in comix was short-lived. Here is the bio on him in Wikipedia:

“Fred Schrier is an artist, writer, and an­i­mator, best known as partner to the un­der­ground comic book artist Dave Sheridan. To­gether, using the name Over­land Veg­etable Stage­coach, they worked on Meef Comix, three is­sues of Moth­er’s Oats Fun­nies, Skull Comics #1, and The Bal­loon Vendor, which were all pub­lished by un­der­ground comics pi­o­neers San Fran­cisco Comic Book Com­pany and Rip Off Press.

Fred Schri­er’s comic strips are among the most fan­tastic and psy­che­delic of the en­tire output of the all the far-out artists of the Un­der­ground Comix Era.

He and Sheridan were also fea­tured in Slow Death Fun­nies #1, pub­lished by Last Gasp, and Yellow Dog #19, pub­lished by The Print Mint. Sheridan died of cancer at the age of 38 in 1982. An obit­uary by Schrier was pub­lished in the ACE pe­ri­od­ical Changeling Times, dec­o­rated with their artwork.

Schrier has also been an il­lus­trator of chil­dren’s books, no­tably, Let’s Jump! by Donna Lugg Pape, and Amazing Sci­ence Tricks for Boys’ Life Mag­a­zine. He has been the an­i­mator for the Cleve­land In­dians Sta­dium score­board, win­ning him a “thanks” credit in the 1994 mo­tion pic­ture Major League II.”

Fi­nally, this ar­ticle orig­i­nally ap­peared as “ping-ting tung-tzu comes for fire” on Neal Umphred Dot Com on Au­gust 16, 2013. It was ex­panded and mod­i­fied and moved to Rather Rare Records on Feb­ruary 23, 2105. It is re­posted here as it fits the theme of this site!


SchrierFred ZenFable 1200

FEA­TURED IMAGE: The photo at the top of this page is of a Zen sand and rock garden. I found this photo on the in­ternet years ago and, un­for­tu­nately, lost the link to the source years ago.



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