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. “strange or fanciful in form, conception, or appearance”
2a. “unrealistic; irrational”
2b. “exceedingly great in size or degree”
3a. “wonderful 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!
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!
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.