Vans with R. Crumb artwork

 Wp-Content Uploads 2009 10 Robert-Crumb-Vans-Sk8-Hi-Slip-On-1
I've been wearing Vans slip-ons since I was a teenager. In recent years, Vans has made shoes featuring designs from pioneering underground artists I really dig like Robt. Williams and Rick Griffin. I was thrilled to find out that they recently added a series of shoes featuring the art of comix pioneer R. Crumb! Seen above are slip-ons emblazoned with Crumb's Fritz the Cat. They're $50. (Mr. Natural appears on a pair of high-tops.)

R. Crumb Slip-On Vans (Amazon)


  1. I have always loved that piece of his.. its the closest I’ve ever seen of a cartoon fuzzy animal representation of me and my wife from when we first started dating in 1990

    aaaah good times.

    made a nice poster too.

  2. I have a feeling that these are not Crumb authorised… I don’t know if that’s true for sure, but maybe he lost control of some of the rights to Fritz when the animated feature was made… He’s been pretty careful not to do stuff like this before – what’s the lo-down Boing Boing?

    1. The trademarked “R. Crumb” logo is on the back of the heel, so unless he lost control of that too, I’d surmise that he’s in on it.

    2. @Anonymous, He’s been careful about not doing stuff like *what* before? Crumb has been putting his art on all kinds of fun merchandise for years! In fact, there’s a great selection of t-shirts and other collectibles for sale on the Official R. Crumb Website. There’s even a t-shirt of Mr. Natural available there, and Mr. Natural is on on of the Vans designs. That suggests to me that Crumb maintains control over that character.

    3. I’ve seen R Crumb candy bars for sale at a movie. Can’t remember the details, but I bought some of the chocolate.

      1. The Devil Girl chocolate bars? I believe those come with R’s blessing. Would rather have her on a pair to tell the truth… or a Devil Girl from Coop.

  3. From the title, I was expecting a bunch of vans (Dodge, Ford, Chevy) with “Keep on Truckin'” artwork on the side. Of course, you don’t mean vans, you mean Vans! Very cool.

  4. Having followed crumb for quite a few years and as well as seen “Crumb” the documentary over a dozen times. I would be very surprised if this is actually authorized by the artist himself. Since it goes against everything he stands for, not to mention his contempt for the commercialization of culture and vice versa.

  5. @DemiGuru, do you think t-shirts, statues, postcards, and figurines go “against everything he stands for”? And if so, have you checked out Crumb’s personal, authorized, official, Web site?

  6. Yes, I have seen it. Oddly enough I do see your point however playing the devil’s advocate, I would venture to say that one can see a certain distinction between items defined as “collector’s items” or even shirts sold by the artist himself and licensed merchandise sold by others.

  7. jfrancis, I date to the time when Frazetta was more mainstream than Crumb, but aside from both being artists/illustrators, I think they would occupy totally different spheres in a pop-culture mindmap at this juncture.

  8. He was asked about them at the Q & A he did last month for his Genesis tour. He said that he was not aware of them until someone showed him a picture and he has yet to see a dime from Vans.

  9. The Vans shoes ARE authorized by Crumb. You don’t lose any control of your copyrighted material, especially your created cartoon properties just because you let them be made them into a movie. If you hadn’t noticed, Fritz the cat was made in the 1970’s, Vans are a relative newcomer to the tennis shoe market and even newer to the artist made and designed tennis shoe market. Crumb authorized these because he is getting paid for them, just like he gets paid for anything that is legit that has anything to do with his creations. And Vans are not going to risk creating a whole line shoes only to have to turn every cent they make over to Robert Crumb, they are in business to make money and have done so for a while now, they aren’t idiots. They also have right’s to make a Mr. Natural designed shoe and a few others. Crumb is a hero to many of us and there are plenty of people who would email him if they saw any of his images being used illegally for some freeloaders profit.

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