Robert Crumb

From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia

Jump to: navigation, search
Robert Crumb
Born Robert Dennis Crumb
August 30, 1943 (1943-08-30) (age 65)
Philadelphia, Pennsylvania
Nationality American
Area(s) Artist, Writer
Notable works Zap Comix
"Keep on Truckin'"
Fritz the Cat
Official website

Robert Dennis Crumb (born August 30, 1943), often credited simply as R. Crumb, is an American artist and illustrator recognized for the distinctive style of his drawings and his critical, satirical, subversive view of the American mainstream. He currently lives in Southern France with his wife Aline Kominsky-Crumb.

Crumb was a founder of the underground comix movement and is regarded as its most prominent figure. Though one of the most celebrated of comic book artists, Crumb's entire career has unfolded outside the mainstream comic book publishing industry. One of his most recognized works is the "Keep on Truckin'" comic, which became a widely distributed fixture of pop culture in the 1970s. Others are the characters Devil Girl, Fritz the Cat, and Mr. Natural. He also illustrated the album covers for Cheap Thrills by Big Brother and the Holding Company and the compilation album The Music Never Stopped: Roots of the Grateful Dead.


[edit] Life and career

Robert Crumb was born on August 30, 1943 in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania.[1] In the mid 1960's, Crumb lived in Cleveland, Ohio, where he designed greeting cards for the American Greetings corporation, and met a group of young bohemians including Buzzy Linhart, Liz Johnston, and others. Liz introduced him to the woman who would become his first wife, Dana Morgan. Encouraged by the reaction to some drawings he had published in underground newspapers, including Philadelphia's Yarrowstalks, Crumb moved in 1967 to San Francisco, California, the center of the counterculture movement. Crumb published the first issue of his Zap Comix in early 1968.

At the end of Terry Zwigoff's 1994 documentary Crumb, Crumb complains about just having been called once again about the movie adaption rights to Mr. Natural.

[edit] Influences and critical response

A peer in the underground comics field, Victor Moscoso, commented about his first impression of Crumb's work, in the mid-1960s, before meeting Crumb in person: "I couldn't tell if it was an old man drawing young, or a young man drawing old."[2]

Crumb has also cited his extensive LSD use as the factor that led him to develop his unique style. [3][4]

Crumb's comic artwork has elicited sharply divided commentary from readers and critics.

Crumb remains a prominent figure, as both artist and influence, within the alternative comics milieu, hailed as a genius by such talents as Jaime Hernandez, Daniel Clowes, and Chris Ware. In 2008, the Institute of Contemporary Art in Philadelphia hosted a major exhibition of his work from September until December 7, which was favorably reviewed in the New York Times[4] and in the Philadelphia Inquirer[5].

Among his less sexuality- and satire-oriented, comparably highbrow works since the 1990s, especially Crumb's collaboration with David Zane Mairowitz, the illustrated, part-comic biography and bibliography Introducing Kafka, aka Kafka for beginners, is well-known and favorably received, which, due to its popularity, was republished as R. Crumb's Kafka.

[edit] Musical tastes

Crumb has frequently drawn comics about his musical interests, and they also heavily influenced the soundtrack choices for his band mate Zwigoff's 1994 Crumb documentary.

[edit] Additional information

At least three TV or theatrical documentaries are dedicated to Crumb, not counting numerous reports running 10 minutes and below:

  • Prior to the 1972 release of Fritz the Cat, Austrian journalist Georg Stefan Troller (see German Wikipedia) interviewed Crumb for a 30-min documentary entitled Comics und Katerideen (roughly, "A Cool Cat's Calamity Comix") on Crumb's life and art, as an episode of Troller's Personenbeschreibung ("Personality account") documentary format broadcast on German ZDF. The documentary also included a making-of of the upcoming Fritz movie with production background interviews of Ralph Bakshi. In this documentary, Troller called Crumb's work "the epitome of contemporary white North America's popular art". As part of Troller's Personenbeschreibung series, it can still be seen on rotation on ZDF-owned digital specialty channel ZDFdokukanal dedicated to highclass documentaries.
  • The Confessions of Robert Crumb (1987)
  • Crumb (1994) by Terry Zwigoff

In 2006, Crumb brought legal action against after the website used a version of his widely recognizable "Keep On Truckin'" character. The case is expected to be settled out of court.

Also in 2006, Sirius Radio host Howard Stern revealed that Crumb had contacted his show, offering to swap some of his art prints in exchange for a subscription to Sirius that he could listen in France. However, it was not Robert Crumb who contacted the Howard Stern Show. Crumb is not a listener to the show and claims that he has never even heard it. The actual caller was his brother-in-law Alex, who moved to France from New York and deals in R. Crumb prints.

An ongoing work which Crumb intends to publish as Robert Crumb's Book of Genesis is an adaptation of the Bible's first chapter.[6][7] R. Crumb's Sex Obsessions, a collection of his most personally revealing sexually-oriented drawings and comic strips, was released from TASCHEN publishing in November 2007.

In 2008 Crumb did a new LP/CD cover for Eden and John's East River String Band, a New York based duo that play country blues from the 1920's & '30's, titled "Some Cold Rainy Day."

[edit] "Devil Girl Choco-Bars"

In 1994, Kitchen Sink Konfections, a branch of comic book publisher Kitchen Sink Enterprises, used his character Devil Girl to promote chocolate candy bars named "Devil Girl Choco-Bar." Promotion for the candy bar was most unusual, and exhibited a rare form of candor in advertising.

  • The candy bar's slogan was "It's BAD For You!".
  • The wrapper's artwork was printed onto a promotional lapel button: Devil Girl giving a knowing wink and a voluptuous smile to the reader while saying "Eat me!".
  • The back of the wrapper read "7 Evils in One! 1-Delicious Taste; 2-Quick, cheap buzz; 3-Bad for your health; 4-Leads to hard drugs; 5-Waste of money; 6-Made by sleazy businessmen; 7-Exploits women".
  • The bottom of the display box featured the following text written by Crumb himself:
A word to wholesalers and retailers of the Devil Girl Choco-Bar. It may seem to you the depths of marketing ignorance to state in bold letters on the package 'IT'S BAD FOR YOU', but think about it... this is a brilliant strategy in consideration of kids today; a stupid, know-nothing generation of brain-dead morons who want nothing more than to be 'BAD'. We're certain this morally bankrupt horde of 'slackers' will eat up this low-grade product as fast as you can place it on your candy counter. The sharp, up-to-date business operator will not fail to perceive the beauty - and reap the profits - in the hook 'IT'S BAD FOR YOU!'[8]

Kitchen Sink folded in 1998 and the candy bars, of which nearly a half-million were reportedly sold, are no longer in production, but the wrappers, display boxes and advertising signs are now sought-after collectibles. A second product, "Devil Girl Hot Kisses," a hot cinnamon flavored candy, was also produced. It is back in production by Cheesy Products. [9][10][11]

[edit] Awards and honors

Crumb has received several accolades for his work, including a nomination for the Harvey Special Award for Humor in 1990.

[edit] References

  1. ^ "Art from the underground"
  2. ^ The Comics Journal #246
  3. ^ The R. Crumb Coffee Table Art Book at p. 67
  4. ^ a b Mr. Natural Goes to the Museum, September 5, 2008, New York Times
  5. ^ Out from underground, August 31, 2008, Philadelphia Inquirer
  6. ^ The Official R. Crumb Website
  7. ^ Robert Crumb Interview from The Guardian Newspaper (UK).
  8. ^ Devil Bottom JPG
  9. ^ [1]
  10. ^ Gender Politics of Candy
  11. ^ [2]

[edit] Further reading

  • Crumb Family Comics. Trade Paperback Collection of stories by each member of the R Crumb family
  • The R. Crumb Coffee Table Art Book. (ISBN 0-316-16306-6, 1997).
  • The R. Crumb Handbook, Published by MQ Publications, London, 2005, ISBN 1-84072-716-0
  • The Captain Is Out to Lunch and the Sailors Have Taken Over the Ship (1998) written by Charles Bukowski and illustrated by Robert Crumb.
  • Busted! Drug War Survival Skills (2005) written by [M. Chris Fabricant] and illustrated by Robert Crumb.
  • Robert Crumb, written by [D. K. Holm], published by Pocket Essentials, 2003 (revised edition 2005), 13 digit ISBN 978-1-904048-51-0.
  • R. Crumb: Conversations, edited by [D. K. Holm], published by the University Press of Mississippi, Jackson, MS, 2004, ISBN 1-57806-637-9.
  • R. Crumb and Mineshaft. A brief history, with letters and art, of Robert Crumb's ongoing collaboration with Mineshaft magazine.

[edit] External links

Personal tools