Legendary underground cartoonist R. Crumb in a rare video interview recorded a few months back during the Louisiana Literature festival at Humlebæk, Denmark's Louisiana Museum of Modern Art. From a summary of Crumb's comments:
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“I was so alienated when I was young, that drawing was like my only connection to society. That was the only thing that I could see was going to save me from a really dismal fate of God knows what.” Crumb describes his social skills as a young man as being “completely nil.” At the same time, he was driven by his “fucked-up ego,” and he had to balance those two sides. Drawing became a way for him to deal with reality, and in the 1950s, where “being a comic-book artist was the lowest level of commercial art,” he pushed toward a more personal use of the medium: “At a certain point I decided I don’t want to be America’s best-loved hippie cartoonist. I don’t want that role. So I’ll just be honest about who I am, and the weirdness, and take my chances.” Consequently, Crumb alienated a lot of people with his often provocative content: “It was just too disturbing for most people, too weird.”
Crumb has an urge to question things and is acutely aware that he’s going to get hell for what he’s doing – even lose friends – but he is willing to take the heat for it. He feels that he plays with images, emphasixing the word “play.” Nowadays, he argues, there’s a tendency to take everything at face value – including his artwork: “The artwork I did that used those images and expressed those kinds of feelings, I stand by it… I still think that that’s something that needed to be said and needed to be done… It probably hurts some people’s feelings to see those images, but still, I had to put it out there.”
Over the years, there have been numerous proposals by the likes of MTV and HBO to bring Peter Bagge's seminal comic Hate to the screen. Here is a 1996 pilot short, directed by Steve Loter. While the art looks great, the voices are just... wrong. SO WRONG. Yeesh.
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Underground comix cartoonist Jay Lynch, perhaps best known for Bijou Funnies and his contributions to the Garbage Pail Kids trading card series, died March 5, reports the New York Times..
“Underground comix were the most important art movement of the 20th century,” he wrote, using the “comics” spelling preferred by underground cartoonists, in the introduction to “Underground Classics: The Transformation of Comics Into Comix” (2009), by Denis Kitchen and James Danky.
“Copies of many of the early books sell to collectors for many thousands of dollars,” he continued. “It’s all quite ironic: Rebellious cartoonists mocking consumer culture were inadvertently producing collectible artifacts for the same consumer culture 40 years down the road.”
And I do believe that's his art on the 30th Anniversary Box set. Alex Balk
wrote a commemorative poem and it's perfect. John Pound is still with us. Read the rest
If the Zap Comix collective hung out in Gary Larson's basement rolling numbers on psychedelic record covers while giggling about those motivational calendars where you tear off one earnest aphorism each day, and the internal awkwardness that all of us experience, the comix that emerge would likely fit into I'm Bored, the surreal and wonderful new book by illustrator Jess Rotter with a foreword by Kate and Laura Mulleavy of Rodarte. Below are a few pages for your pleasure. You likely recognize Jess's art from her inspired illustrations for vinyl and apparel projects from Rodriguez, the Grateful Dead, Yusuf/Cat Stevens, Best Coast, Light in the Attic Records, and her bimonthly "Songbird Stories" column for Lena Dunham's Lenny Letter. I'm Bored is Jess's first book and I'm already ready for the next trip.
Visit Hat & Beard Press to order the hardback of I'm Bored, a special lenticular-cover edition, or bundles including a variety of delightful patches, postcards, and apparel.
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Famed psychedelic hot rod artist and comix illustrator Robert Williams has launched another line of rad Vans sneakers! The shoes integrate detail from Williams' mind bending masterpieces “Flaming Cobras”, “Malfeasance,” and “Jalapeña.”
Vault by Vans presents limited collection by Robert Williams (Vans)
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Pay what you like for DRM-free ebooks featuring Basil Wolverton, pop surrealism, Hi-Fructose, Ron English and many more quality titles from our favorite underground press, Last Gasp. Read the rest
The Reagan era kicked off a project to dismantle social mobility and equitable justice. This trenchant, angry, gorgeous graphic zine launched in response.
Cartoonist Mr. Fish's amazing anthology WARNING! Graphic Content feels especially relevant this month. Read the rest