Yesterday's New York Times featured Allen Salkin's profile of the world's greatest underground cartoonist, R. Crumb, and his wife Aline. The article is pegged on Need More Love, Aline Crumb's graphic memoir that will be published next month. (Aline talks about the book in the audio slide show accompanying the article.) Writer Allen Salken visited the Crumbs in the small village west of Nîmes in the South of France where they've lived for the last 16 years. Their daughter, comix artist Sophie Crumb, lives a half-hour away. Christian Coudurès, Aline's lover, lives in the same village, while her brother, Alex Goldsmith, resides in the Crumb house.
From the NYT (photo by Allen Salkin):
(Goldsmith) earns money buying used R. Crumb comics on eBay, taking them upstairs for Mr. Crumb to sign and reselling them "for quadruple" on the Internet, Mr. Goldsmith said, smiling…
Another village newcomer is Christian Coudurès, a printmaker, who moved from Paris. When he was depressed after breaking up with a girlfriend, Ms. Crumb decided he was a project she wanted to take on.
"When I first met him, he was in bad shape, drinking a lot," she said. "I decided I needed to save this worthy person." Mr. Coudurès eventually became what Ms. Crumb calls her "second husband."
The Crumbs have long had an open marriage, that brave (and largely discarded) institution of the 1960s. Mr. Crumb travels to Oregon once a year to rekindle a relationship with an old girlfriend.
Speaking of Mr. Coudurès, Mr. Crumb said, "Between the two of us, we kind of make an ideal husband, because he can do all the masculine things I can't do." He cited Mr. Coudurès's talents for wiring, plumbing, engaging in shouting matches with the highly energetic Ms. Crumb and driving a car…
Comics have always bound the Crumbs. Aline and Robert met in 1971 after she heard about a large-rumped woman named Honeybunch Kaminski created by Mr. Crumb for his Snatch Comics series. Ms. Crumb, whose surname from her first marriage was Kominsky, bore a physical resemblance to Honeybunch, and she set out to meet the famous R. Crumb.
"She was the first woman I met whose emotions didn't scare me," Mr. Crumb said.