This is an original drawing by Gilbert Shelton of musical great Ray Charles, created in 1986. Gilbert was featured in a special exhibit at the South Austin Popular Culture Center in Austin, Texas in 2010 in which many of his original drawings and comic book panels were on display and offered for sale. SouthPop was able to acquire this drawing and other additional original artwork created by Mr. Shelton.
Born in 1940 in Houston, Shelton attended more than one university…completing his bachelor degree in the social sciences in 1961. Gilbert was part of the amazing group of student writers and artists that worked on the University of Texas’ humor magazine The Texas Ranger. He worked along side other budding artists and partners in crime like Tony Bell.
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.
Around 1967 Shelton became involved with the Vulcan Gas Company, the premier psychedelic club in Austin. He created many of the clubs early posters created to advertise. In 1968 Gilbert moved to San Francisco as co-founder of Rip Off Press, along with his Austin friends Jack Jaxon and Dave Moriaty. Although he did create some music posters while in San Francisco, it was during this time period that his comic book art really took off. Rip Off Comix featured much of his comic book art. A prolific artist, he produced a huge body of work that became wildly popular. In 1991 Shelton moved to Paris, France, where he still resides.
His most recent work, in collaboration with French cartoonist Pic, is Not Quite Dead, which appeared in Rip Off Comix #25 and in five Not Quite Dead comic books. In addition to a new Wonder Wart-Hog story in Zap Comix #15 (2005), his Fabulous Furry Freak Brothers has been made into an animated film, soon to be released.