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The R. Crumb Coffee Table Art Book (Kitchen Sink Press Book for Back Bay Books) Paperback – October 15, 1998


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The R. Crumb Coffee Table Art Book (Kitchen Sink Press Book for Back Bay Books) + The Book of Mr. Natural + The Book of Genesis Illustrated by R. Crumb
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Product Details

  • Series: Kitchen Sink Press Book for Back Bay Books
  • Paperback: 256 pages
  • Publisher: Back Bay Books; 1st Back Bay Pbk. Ed edition (October 15, 1998)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0316163333
  • ISBN-13: 978-0316163330
  • Product Dimensions: 13 x 11 x 0.7 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 3.6 pounds (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 4.8 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (37 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #530,965 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Editorial Reviews

Amazon.com Review

Robert Crumb, world-famous illustrator and definite pervert, got his start in the underground comics scene of the late 1960s and early 1970s. The R. Crumb Coffee Table Art Book is a collection of his best work from the last 50 years (it's got kids stuff, too, which is pretty fascinating). The volume is a welcome reminder that, screwed up as Crumb may be, he's also a tremendously talented, utterly original artist. He artistically embodies a certain segment of the '60s, and as that fades even further into history, Crumb's material becomes more important. Is The R. Crumb Coffee Table Art Book funny? Yes, certainly, in a coarse, Rabelaisian way; you'll either find it a hoot, or horribly racist and sexist. And it's not for the kiddies, obviously. But R. Crumb is so well known by now, that you probably know which group you fall into, the lovers or the haters. The lovers will find this book a wonderful treat. --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.

From Booklist

Since Crumb is still widely considered an "underground" comix artist and best known for his hippie-era work, this lavish mounting of his art may seem inappropriate or ironic. But few other figures in the comics field really merit such treatment, nor would their work profit as much from this volume's oversize pages and high-quality reproduction. The collection samples the full range of Crumb's diverse production, from juvenilia and psychedelia to lovingly rendered sketchbook pages and recent autobiographical, confessional stories. Almost as rewarding are Crumb's hand-lettered commentaries, scattered throughout, that reveal the idiosyncrasies and obsessions behind the comics, which viewers of the acclaimed documentary film Crumb (1994) will recognize. Although, unfortunately, it covers up Crumb's distinctive crosshatched line work, the addition of color to much of the originally black-and-white art may enhance its appeal for some, and although 40 bucks may seem steep for a "comic book," this is a thoroughly worthwhile purchase for libraries that don't want to commit to Fantagraphics' ongoing complete Crumb project. Gordon Flagg --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.

More About the Author

Born in Philadelphia, R. Crumb is the author of numerous comic works and one of the pioneers of underground comics. His books include Kafka, The Complete Crumb Comics (17 volumes), The R. Crumb Sketchbook (10 volumes), R. Crumb Draws the Blues, The Book of Mr. Natural, The Book of Genesis Illustrated by R. Crumb, and many more. He lives in the south of France with his wife, the artist Aline Kominsky-Crumb.

Customer Reviews

4.8 out of 5 stars
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This is a superb publication to grace your coffee table, but beware!
Jack
I realize all I've spent all this space talking about Crumb without ever really discussing what I like about his work.
Art Turner
His artwork (yes lets say it, "art" work) has always been worth seeing.
meeah

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

28 of 29 people found the following review helpful By Art Turner on September 12, 2002
Format: Paperback
There's an illustration on the back cover of The R. Crumb Coffee Table Art Book that perfectly encapsulates the artist's work - it depicts the top of Robert's head exploding, with several of his creations, famous, infamous, and otherwise, leaping out.
That, to me, sums up Crumb's work - this incredibly inventive artist with, to paraphrase Bob Dylan, a head full of ideas that are drivin' him insane.
There are frequent complaints about Crumb's work being too dark, racist, sexist, and/or misogynistic. While I can see where these criticisms come from, I really don't think Crumb is any darker, more racist, sexist, or misogynistic than any of us - he simply is unafraid to - COMPELLED to, almost - lay his cards on the table. Some people find this offensive. Would it be absurd of me to suggest that some of those who are offended by his work have their own issues with sexism, racism, and/or misogyny that they are unwilling to confront?
What I'm trying to get at here, I guess, is that this IS NOT a book for little kids. There's a sticker on the front of my copy of the book that says "FOR ADULT INTELLECTUALS ONLY!", and while I'm not so sure about the "intellectuals" part, this is probably not a book you want your grade-school age child to get ahold of, unless you're okay with said child seeing depictions of graphic (and I do mean GRAPHIC) sex, hard-core drug use, and extreme (albiet cartoonish) violence.
I realize all I've spent all this space talking about Crumb without ever really discussing what I like about his work. I think there's two main things: (1) his unflinching honesty (as I touched upon earlier), and (2) the incredible beauty of his draftsmanship. I think my favotite chapter in the whole book is the one that features his pen-and-ink still-lifes and landscapes.
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11 of 11 people found the following review helpful By shelleymz@hotmail.com on March 19, 1998
Format: Hardcover
Having followed and collected R. Crumb's work since the sixites, I was delighted when I received this book as a Christmas gift. Much of the work included will be familiar to fans, although some of the early pieces included help illustrate the progression of his career. What I found most wonderful, though, were his essays on his own work and life, the things that influenced him. While the documentary, Crumb, gives us a rather lurid and skewed look at his family and past, it's intriguing to read what he has to say about his own evolution as an artist. And make no mistake, comic books are art. I was especially fascinated to see how his work changed with the advent of psychedelics into his life. The small commentary drawings throughout the book make reading it an adventure. There is always more to see just when you think you've found it all. The hardboiled spirituality of Mr. Natural juxtaposed with the foolishness and naivete of Flakey Foont just has to make you laugh and appreciate the fact that this odd genius of pen and ink still retains a basically sincere interior despite the crusty coveringand cynical pose. This is an excellent addition to a comic collector's library and a rare look at a protrait of the artist by himself.
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15 of 17 people found the following review helpful By Mike Stone on November 12, 2001
Format: Paperback
There's a line that R. Crumb uses twice, in two separate comics, that epitomizes the major themes of his art: "Nobody understands [me]... and of course, how could they??" Periodically his work will stumble into a pit of naval gazing and self-indulgence when it comes to the subjects for his comics. But ultimately, everything he does boils down to this one line. The level of self-awareness he manages to achieve with this line, and throughout the remainder of his work, is both staggering and fascinating, enough to justify the grandiosity of this book.
I tried to read this as an autobiography, from cover to cover, taking time to carefully understand how the context of Crumb's life affected his work. Not an effective strategy. If the book wasn't so cumbersome to hold, it might have worked. But since that first reading, I've gotten much more enjoyment just laying the book open flat on a large surface, and staring at the audacious art contained herein.
The large-scale (13"x11") format has various levels of effectiveness when presenting Crumb's work. The sketchbook pages, when blown up to this size, lose their intimacy. You can see the fudges and mistakes that Crumb's made. These imperfections are beautiful in the smaller format, but become grotesque and distracting at this size. On the other hand, too often his comic book covers should have been enlarged but weren't. The details in the margins, brought out gloriously when they are blown up, can't be seen when the covers are presented as thumbnails.
Each chapter begins with a page-long, hand-written introduction by the man himself. Robert is self-effacing to a fault; you can tell that he's embarrassed by the treatment his works have been given here.
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6 of 6 people found the following review helpful By "donnie@dreamscape.com" on October 23, 1998
Format: Hardcover
Ever since I saw the movie "CRUMB" I've been hooked on his artwork. I agree with his idea: no matter how sick or disturbing and idea you have, you should get it out into the open anyway. Be free to express yourself. I'm not endorsing pornography and drug use, which are both evident in his work, but I still say he's one of the great artists who just never got the attention he deserved.
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