The Fabulous Furry Freak Brothers is a cult comic strip which first appeared in underground magazines in the late 1960s.
Created by Gilbert Shelton, the comics recount the misadventures of three hippies (and their cat) and have been translated into 14 languages.
Barcelona is featured in The Idiots Abroad which was originally published in The Fabulous Furry Freak Brothers comic book issues 8 and 9.
The story begins, as most Freak Brothers stories do, with Fat Freddy being sent out to try and buy marihuana.
When Phineas points out that weed is way cheaper in Columbia, the brothers head straight to the airport. Unfortunately, there are no direct flights available, so the trio set off in three separate flights going in totally different directions.
Fat Freddy catches a flight to Glasgow with a group of drunken football fans who turn out to be international terrorists led by André the Hyena.
From Glasgow, Freddy travels south to London, Amsterdam, Belgium and Paris and finally crosses the Spanish border before reappearing in a bar in Barcelona’s Gothic Quarter.
Pursued by terrorists, Freddy flees across the rooftops until he stumbles upon a weird looking house which he assumes was inspired by LSD.
The building, which resembles Gaudi’s famous Casa Batlló, turns out to be the home of artist-cum-inventor and philanthropist Pablo Pegaso.
The character of Pablo Pegaso is a mix between Pablo Picasso (who lived in Barcelona) and Leonardo da Vinci. The surname Pegaso presumably refers to the Spanish truck and car manufacturer Iveco Pegaso.
Aided by Pablo Pegaso, Freddy escapes northwards along the Costa Brava to the Pyrenees Mountains and France where he catches a train to Poland.
Meanwhile, André the Hyena organizes a secret rendezvous with Coronel Cornbelt in the Funfair on Mount Tibidabo, on the outskirts of Barcelona.
You can read the full story in The Fabulous Furry Freak Brothers Omnibus.
On the Trail of Fat Freddy in Barcelona
Barcelona is featured in a total of eight pages of the comic book and, from the details in his drawings, it’s obvious that Gilbert Shelton knows the city well.
Tibidabo Amusement Park
The only Barcelona location which is mentioned directly by name is the Tibidabo Amusement Park. Specifically, the Watchtower which is one of the oldest and best-known rides in the historic section of the Park.
Pablo Pegasso’s house is clearly inspired by Casa Batlló although it also includes features from other buildings designed by Antoni Gaudí.
The bar where Freddy narrowly escapes the terrorists is based on the Art Nouveau (aka Modernista) bars which were popular at the start of the last century and a few of which still remain today. Probably the best known is London Bar in the El Raval neighbourhood.
Hash Marihuana and Hemp Museum
The Hash, Marihuana and Hemp Museum wasn’t actually featured in the comic strip and first opened in 2012. The museum is housed in an Art Nouveau mansion in Barcelona’s Gothic Quarter and is dedicated to all things cannabis-related. The collection includes some Freak Brothers memorabilia and, if you are a fan of the comics, you should definitely include it on your list of things to do in Barcelona.
The Fabulous Furry Freak Brothers Barcelona Map
Image Source: The drawing of Fat Freddy in Barcelona at the start of this article is used courtesy of Gibert Shelton and Rip Off Press, all photos were taken by the author and are copyright barcelonalowdown.com