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Posts Tagged ‘R. Crumb’

A Kind of Sleaze

January 12, 2015 | by

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The New York Observer has an excellent new interview with Robert Crumb, whose response to the Charlie Hebdo attack appeared in Libération this weekend. Crumb has lived in France for a quarter of a century—in typical fashion, he was moved to respond not by any sort of ethical imperative but because he worried what people would say about him if he stayed quiet: “Where’s Crumb? Why doesn’t he come forward? What the hell’s the matter with him?” And, as he makes clear in the interview, his aim was not to be controversial, but personal:

Libération called me and said, “Crumb, can you do a cartoon for us? About what you think about this, you know, you are a major cartoonist, and you live in France.” So I thought about it. I spent a lot of time thinking about it. I’m doing the dishes, or whatever, I was thinking, “What should I do for that cartoon … ” I had a lot of ideas. Other people come up with these, you know, clever cartoons that comment on it, like … This one guy did a cartoon showing a bloody dead body laying there, and a radical Muslim standing over him with a Kalashnikov, saying, “He drew first!” Stuff like that. That’s good, that’s clever, you know, I like that. But, me? I gotta like, you know, when I do something, it has to be more personal. I said, first: “I don’t have the courage to make an insulting cartoon of Muhammed.”

Then I thought, “OK, I’m the Cowardly Cartoonist … As a Cowardly Cartoonist, I can’t make some glib comment like that, you know? I have to, like, make fun of myself.  So instead of drawing the face of Muhammed [laughs], I drew the ass of Muhammed.  [Laughs.] But then I had myself saying, in small lettering, “Actually, this is the ass of my friend of Mohamid Bakshi, who’s a film director in Los Angeles, California.” So if they come at me, I’m gonna say, “No, look, it’s not Muhammed the Prophet, it’s this guy, Mohamid Bakshi.” So, you know.

[…] So, then Aline [Crumb’s wife] had this idea for another cartoon, which we also sent to Libération, a collaboration, that’s showing her looking at the drawing saying, “Oh, my God, they’re going to come after us! This is terrible … I want to live to see my grandchildren!” And then she has me saying, “Well, it’s not that bad. And, besides, they’ve killed enough cartoonists, maybe they’ve gotten it out of their system.”

You can read the whole interview here. (Mohamid Bakshi, by the way, is a pointed reference to Ralph Bakshi, a director and animator with whom Crumb has feuded for some forty years over the rights to Crumb’s iconic Fritz the Cat character.)

Crumb also gave the first interview in our Art of Comics series in 2010, in which he remarks on the reputation of cartoonists and comic-book artists, who in the not-so-distant past were not regarded as artists at all: Read More »

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The Eye of the Storm

January 22, 2013 | by

Alan Shenker, an artist known among the underground cartoonists of the late sixties as Yossarian, died last week, in New York, at the age of sixty-seven. Born in Levittown, he was a downtown habitué and his work was published in the East Village Other, among many other publications of the era.

A kind of ruthless patricide was implicit in Yossarian’s cover art for the February 1972 issue of the New York ACE. He was close to “the Arab,” as the East Village Other’s editor, Yaakov Kohn, was known, and now Yossarian was one of the defectors from the already tottering EVO to the new paper which I’d cofounded with Robert “Honest Bob” Singer. Read More »

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Crumb on Bukowski, Rushdie on James

October 11, 2012 | by

  • A match made … well, you decide where! R. Crumb illustrates Charles Bukowski.
  • How to survive an online pan: in this case, persuade the author to remove it.
  • A history of cricket in literature.
  • A new attempt at a Breakfast at Tiffany’s musical is headed for Broadway.
  • “I've never read anything so badly written that got published.” Salman Rushdie on Fifty Shades of Grey.
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    On the Shelf

    February 8, 2012 | by

    Zora Neale Hurston, 1938. Photographer: Carl Van Vechten.

    A cultural news roundup.

  • RIP, John Christopher.
  • Brighten your day! The world’s most beautiful bookstores.
  • Book (review) clubs.
  • The Rings of Saturn, coming to a theater near you.
  • Their Eyes Were Watching God, coming to a radio near you.
  • Amazon.com, coming to a store near you?
  • R. Crumb (among others) turns the Western canon into graphic novels.
  • David Foster Wallace’s keeper shelf.
  • Mona Lisa’s double.
  • Pirates of Lexicon Valley.
  • Bloomsbury Group antics: expensive.
  • “If you come, so what? If you don’t come, so what? Will Turkey lose prestige?” Auster v. Erdogan.
  • The museum of human gullibility.
  • “12 Globe-Shaped Foods. Top 10 Famous Buses. 40 Culturally Relevant Birds. 13 High-Tech Steampunk USB Flash Drives.” Why we like lists.
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    Lines Drawn on Paper

    March 25, 2011 | by

    “Boingy Baxter,” Motor City Comics No. 1. © 1969 R. Crumb.

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    A Week in Culture: Dan Nadel, Publisher, Part 2

    November 23, 2010 | by

    This is the second installment of Nadel’s culture diary. Click here to read part 1.

    DAY THREE

    I realize this journal is meant to be cultural, but I swear, a ton of my daily doings are more like the “business” of culture. Or like being the janitor of the business. Or something. That’s what I did for most of the day until I went to Penn Station to pick up Brian and Christopher. A couple sandwiches later, we were en route to a bookstore in Williamsburg, where the guys did a stock signing. This is when authors sign a stack of books so customers will, hopefully, buy them faster.

    Then it was dinner with Gary Panter, his wife, Helene Silverman (designer of many of my books), and their daughter, Olive. The two dudes love Gary as a spiritual north star of sorts, and Gary has, after thirty-five years, finally found artistic progeny he can be proud of. It’s a lovefest.

    We always look at stuff together. Piles of stuff. Today’s piles consisted of books and ephemera by Jack Kirby, Mike Kelley, Willy Fleckhaus, Heinz Edelmann, Irwin Hasen, Troy Brauntuch, and Moebius.

    Stray thought: The problem (or, flipped, the pleasure) of being involved with a funky little subculture like comic books is that you have to deal with a level of absurdity so high that it’s like the gods are constantly fucking with you just for kicks. In other words, ninety percent of the “serious” books on the topic have introductions by TV stars or are filled with absurd claims of greatness. Rarely are comics left alone to be a medium unto itself.

    DAY FOUR

    I really admire good publicists. This week, oddly, I’m just a pale imitation of one, but it’s hard to both hustle these books and the authors and also, y’know, think about them, too. Or, uh, think about anything else at all.

    Morning finds the guys asleep on my living-room floor. They’re both kinda tall, so they take up an absurd amount of space in the room. Over coffee and tea we have a friendly nerdfest in the morning discussing something Dan Clowes recently said to the effect of reconciling himself to the reality of comics history. Which is to say, understanding that there are few thoroughly “great” works or artists to be found, as in film or literature. There aren’t many Jim Thompsons or Philip Dicks to “rediscover” and tout as transcending their genres. Instead, we pick through the bins for a great storytelling device or wonky approach to drawing, or some freakishly good art-text combo by a hack, picking our pleasures and fascinations within a single comic book or even just an eight-page story.

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