Beloved Japanese fetish artist Namio Harukawa passed away last week. Harukawa’s gorgeously-rendered thick women were perpetually cast in positions of casual dominance, going about their day riding the subway or reading a book, la-dee-dah. Meanwhile, a helpless man was being smothered by their voluptuous buttocks or choking on a high heel. Whereas fellow big butt aficionado R. Crumb always positions himself at the center of his erotic narrative, the men in Harukawa's illustrations are inconsequential, their faces commonly obscured by ample butt cheeks.
If there is a heaven, I have a pretty good idea of what Namio Harukawa’s looks like.
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Cartoonists Ed Piskor and Jim Rugg take a look at the booklets that come with Criterion Collection's Crumb and Ghost World DVDs and Blu-rays, both directed by Terry Zwigoff. I've seen both films multiple times and already have the Crumb DVD, but I wasn't aware that Criterion did one for Ghost World. Sigh *pulls out wallet* Read the rest
Heritage Auctions is selling one of the most recognizable pages in the history of underground comics:
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The original art for an instantly recognizable image by legendary underground comics artist Robert Crumb is coming to auction for the first time ever in Heritage Auctions’ Comics & Comic Art Auction Nov. 21-24 in Dallas, Texas.
Robert Crumb's “Stoned Agin!” Your Hytone Comix Inside Back Cover Original Art (Apex Novelties, 1971) is considered a “Holy Grail” among serious collectors of artwork by the iconic Crumb, and is being offered for the first time ever, in part because of the artist’s love of music.
For years, the whereabouts of the artwork (estimate: $250,000+) were unknown and the subject of considerable speculation.
“The consignor received the artwork directly from Robert Crumb,” Heritage Auctions Senior Vice President Todd Hignite said. “After moving to Northern California in 1970 and getting to know Crumb through friendships with other underground cartoonists, a trade was arranged with the artist, swapping some rare old blues 78 records for the artwork. The original has remained in our consignor’s personal collection ever since, buried away and securely stored for more than four decades, which has only added to the appeal and demand among collectors. This art is not only the great “lost” Crumb, but an incredibly key image for 1960s and 1970s counter-cultural history. Such powerful images that have been seared into the imaginations of so many very infrequently come up at auction.”
The art is in ink on Bristol board, with an image size of approximately 12 by 8 inches on paper measuring 13-7/8 by 10-7/8 inches.
Graham Nash, the singer-songwriter who is known for being a member of the rock group Crosby, Stills, and Nash, is currently auctioning off a variety of original pieces by countercultural cartoonist Robert Crumb on the website Heritage Auctions.
Robert Crumb played a key role in the underground comix movement of the 1960s. He founded Zap Comix, which was the first successful underground comix publication. Crumb is known for his provocative content, iconic characters such as Fritz the Cat and Mr. Natural, and crosshatched drawing style.
The top prize among the Nash’s offering of art by master Robert Crumb likely will be a dramatic Robert Crumb Zap Comix #1 Cover Original Art (1967), which carries a pre-auction estimate of $100,000 and up. The image is a perfect example of Crumb’s refusal to hold anything back, with the word “Zap” being written across the top in electrified lettering over the image of a nude man being jolted through a cord attached to an electrical outlet. The image was intended by Robert Crumb to be on the cover of Zap No. 1.
You can also find Crumb's original paintings, comic strips, and sketches in the auction lot. I believe that Crumb is one of the best artists of all time, and owning some of his original pieces would be the coolest thing ever. If you can afford it, place a bid while you can!
Image: Crumb's original art for Fritz the Cat sold for $717,000 in a Heritage Auction in 2017 Read the rest
The original art for the cover of R. Crumb's Fritz the Cat 1969 paperback sold at Heritage Auctions for $717,000:
Robert Crumb R. Crumb's Fritz the Cat Cover Original Art (Ballantine, 1969). Fritz gets cozy with girlfriend Charlene in this famous cover image, taken from the oversized collection of stories first published by Ballantine in October, 1969. This book was so popular, it rated a second printing a month later! The image would go on to inspire a popular statue by Randy Bowen and Neil Surges in 2003 that quickly sold out. Fritz himself would go on to star in two feature-length animated movies, Fritz the Cat (1972), and The Nine Lives of Fritz the Cat (1974). Although later abandoned by the artist, Fritz remains one of R. Crumb's most popular characters, one that dates back to the homemade comics Robert was producing as a teenager in the early sixties. This is perhaps one of the most famous and important single pieces of art by Crumb, one that has been stashed away in a private collection for many years. It's sure to be the centerpiece of any collection of Underground Comix art. It's in ink on Bristol board, with an approximate image area of 11" x 12.5", and matted to an overall size of 16" x 20". There is minor outer border handling and edge wear, but the image remains in Excellent condition.
Crumb hated the Ralph Bakshi movie adaptations so much that he drew a story in which Fritz was stabbed to death by his ex-girlfriend. Read the rest
Sup Doc is a great idea for a podcast series - interviews with interesting people about their favorite documentaries. The latest episode is with Wayne Fedeman, who discusses Terry Zwigoff’s documentary about cartoonist Robert Crumb. If I had to pick a favorite documentary, it would be Crumb.
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Paco and George were thrilled to have the comedy legend Wayne Federman over to talk about his favorite documentary CRUMB. Crumb is Terry Zwigoff’s (Ghost World) first film about his longtime friend and bandmate, godfather of underground comics Robert Crumb. This doc soon expands its scope to the Crumb Brothers (Maxon and Charles) and ends up going many unexpected directions.
Wayne Federman is an American comedian, actor, author, comedy writer, and musician. He is noted for numerous stand-up comedy appearances in clubs, theaters, and on television; a biography of “Pistol” Pete Maravich; and supporting comedic acting roles in The X-Files, The Larry Sanders Show, Curb Your Enthusiasm, Community, Legally Blonde, 50 First Dates, The 40-Year-Old Virgin, and Step Brothers. He was the head monologue writer for NBC’s Late Night with Jimmy Fallon in its first season.
Crumb is a 1994 documentary film about the noted underground cartoonist Robert Crumb (R. Crumb) and his family. Directed by Terry Zwigoff and produced by Lynn O’Donnell, it won widespread acclaim. It was released in the USA on April 28, 1995, having been screened at film festivals the previous year. Jeffery M. Anderson (later critic for the San Francisco Examiner) placed the film on his list of the ten greatest films of all time, labeling it “the greatest documentary ever made.”
It's always interesting to hear what Robert Crumb has to say about notable people, alive and dead. In the latest installment of "Crumb on Others," Alexander Wood asks Crumb about Castro, Lenin, and Trump.
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Crumb: Yeah, but I would watch him and find him so offensive, so obnoxious and hateful. How could anybody just looking at him and watching his behavior think for one second that he’s anything but a sociopath!? I just couldn’t imagine how anyone could think he’s a viable candidate for the presidency. On the other hand, Bernie Sanders who was out actually speaking some truth – I thought he was great. You see that’s what happens when you get a politician who actually tells the truth— nope, can’t have him. The Democrats made sure he didn’t get nominated. They reaped what they sowed, the Democratic Party operatives, when they fixed it so Bernie would lose the primary votes in New York and California.
Alex: Also, a lot of people are just biologically wired to be really taken in by authoritarian people.
Crumb: That’s true, you’re right. You’re right. They just want a big, strong chief who will take care of everything, lead them into battle and provide the big feast afterward and parcel out the spoils. Yep.
Alex: And the weird thing is, it doesn’t have that much to do with education. You can be a very educated person but a very pro-authoritarian person and you’re really going to be sympathetic to Trump.
Crumb: “We’re going to take care of this.”
Heritage Auction is selling collector Eric Sack's massive collection of underground comic book art. The auction is called "Never Trust The Man: Largest Collection of Original Underground Comix Art." There are some great pieces in here, by Robert Crumb, S. Clay Wilson, Vaughan Bodé, Spain Rodriguez, Gilbert Shelton, Art Spiegelman, and Robert Williams.
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Jacques Hyzagi of The New York Observer has a long interview with cartoonist Robert Crumb. It's called "Robert Crumb Hates You." He's as cranky and fascinating as ever. The cover image was illustrated by the incredible Drew Friedman.
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"I’m fascinated by the birth of the industrial revolution, the Victorian era too and this period when the Nazis occupied France. The documentary The Sorrow and the Pity by Marcel Ophuls is one of the best documentaries ever made, just people talking for hours, it’s fascinating, everybody should watch it. The Nazis could have never survived without the help of big banks and corporations, many of them American. If the Weather Underground was bombing banks I’m all for it as long as they weren’t killing too many people,” Mr. Crumb said.
“That was their creed at first, to bomb empty buildings,” I said.
“We should still bomb motherfucking banks,” he said.
“What did you make of Occupy Wall Street?” I asked him.
“I thought it was a worthy effort,” he said.
“I walked through Zuccotti Park and these fools were calling for ‘good’ banks, the church and Thomas Jefferson’s ideals.”
“That’s sad. 2008 was the biggest robbery in history and who goes to jail? Some poor black kid who stole some sneakers at a fucking Wal-Mart if he gets lucky enough to not get shot in the back on his way there,” Mr Crumb said, “A black kid recently in New York ended up at Rikers Island for stealing a backpack.
Autobiographical cartoonist Jonathan Baylis recalls a story involving the legendary R. Crumb. Excerpted from So Buttons: Man of, Like, a Dozen Faces. Illustrated by Joseph Remnant.
Argue with me until you’re hopping mad. You won’t change my mind that Robert Crumb is the greatest living American artist. And this anthology of his comic book stories from Weirdo, the magazine that he founded in 1981 (only 13 years after creating Zap the title that launched the underground comic book revolution), contains some of Crumb’s finest work. Not only does Crumb plumb deeper than ever into the depths of his neurotic soul, he also lays bare the behavior of modern society with a keen eye and a bittersweet sense of humor. Most interesting to me are Crumb’s comic book versions of old books, such as Psychopathis Sexualis, and science fiction author Philip K Dick’s bizarre religious experience (which Dick described as a “vision of the apocalypse.”)
Crumb’s output seems to have slowed to a trickle in recent years, which is alarming to a fan like me. Fortunately, Crumb’s work is usually so rich and dimensional that it can stand up to repeated readings, which I have done over the years.
R. Crumb: The Weirdo Years includes not only every comic book story that he wrote and drew for Weirdo, it also includes all 28 covers he illustrated. If you already are familiar with’s Crumb’s comics, this is a convenient way to reread all of his Weirdo stories. If you don’t know Crumb, this is probably the best introduction to his work.
See sample interior pages at Wink Read the rest
Weirdo was one of my favorite magazines of the 1980s. Started by Robert Crumb in 1981, it's where I learned about The Church of the SubGenius, Stanislav Szukalski, and lots of amazing artists. Over at the Last Gasp blog, Janelle has written a "Where are they now" post about the artists of Weirdo.
She writes, "There were about 85 contributors over the course of Weirdo’s 28-issue run. Some of these artists went on to have life-long comics careers (Dan Clowes, Gary Panter, Peter Bagge, etc) while others have faded into the shadows, their work in Weirdo being all the more precious as a result. Although I may prove not to have the fortitude (read: masochism) to track down all 85 Weirdo contributors, I’d like to start by checking in to see what some of my favorite Weirdo artists are doing now…" Read the rest
Fantagraphics posted a bunch of photos from the pages of the new printing of The Complete Crumb Comics Vol. 17: Cave Wimp. Above, the first page to Crumb's 1989 love letter to MAD creator Harvey Kurtzman. Read the rest
I loved Robert Crumb's back cover from Weirdo #3 (Fall 1981). I don't think it makes any sense, but I spent hours trying to figure it out over 30 years ago. (Via Magic Transistor) Read the rest
The early 1980s were an exciting time for alternative comics. Shortly out of high school I discovered RAW, which was launched by the husband-and-wife team of Art Spiegelman and Françoise Mouly, and Weirdo, launched by the husband-and-wife team of Robert Crumb and Aline Kominsky-Crumb. It was in the pages of Weirdo that I discovered The Church of the SubGenius, Stanislav Szukalski, and a bunch of great cartoonists.
Crumb wrote and drew at least one story in each issue of Weirdo (which was published by Last Gasp from 1981 to 1993) and drew every cover. The covers are reminiscent of Humbug, a late-1950s humor magazine created by Crumb's mentor, Harvey Kurtzman (also the creator of MAD):
Some of Crumb's best work came out during his Weirdo period. In Weirdo #17, Crumb illustrated an 8-page story called "The Religious Experience of Philip K. Dick," based on a 1978 undelivered speech Dick wrote called "How to Build a Universe That Doesn't Fall Apart Two Days Later" and from passages in an out-of-print book called Philip K. Dick: The Last Testament.
Crumb's story focuses on Dick's bizarre hallucinatory experience of March 1974, in which Dick went back in time to the era of the apostolic Christians. Dick spent the rest of his life trying to figure out what these visions meant. Here's the first page: Read the rest
It's interesting to learn what Robert Crumb thinks about notable people. "Crumb on Others, Part Five," compiled by Alex Wood, was just published on Robert Crumb's website. (The black-on-red text is awful; thank goodness for Instapaper.)
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Robert: Peter Max [laughs]... he's a totally fucking jive character. I read an article about him about ten years ago and he was doing these really bad, sloppy paintings, knocking 'em out as quickly as possible and trying to sell them based on his name. But you know, in the psychedelic era, his stuff was all over the place. He was way better known than I was, back in like '68, '69, '70 period. Yeah, Peter Max capitalized on the whole psychedelic art scene in that period; completely jive character. I wonder if he's still alive.
Robert: Seeger… he's a saint. Pete Seeger's a fucking saint, but I never found his music very interesting. You know, musically he can play the banjo, but he's so political, so deeply, vehemently political — and I agree with his politics completely — but it made his music political; the message was more important than the quality of the music to him. He's a literary musician, you know? But he dedicated himself to getting out there an playing these left-wing, rousing songs to labor unions and strikers, it's amazing they never put him in jail. Well, actually, I think he was in trouble for a while but he never went to jail. Is he still alive?