From the mountains of Southern France where he currently lives and works, pop artist R. Crumb makes a grand entrance back to the publishing world with The R. Crumb Handbook
. Part biography, part comic book, and part media critique, the latest Crumb book is a feast indeed. In addition to numerous reprints of Crumb comic hits like Fritz the Cat
and Mr. Natural
, the book also features new works by Crumb, including a hilarious dialogue between the artist and his wife. (Both Crumb's wife and daughter are comic book artists.) Fans already familiar with Crumbs comic book work will rejoice at the glossy reprints of Crumb oil paintings and sculptures, complete with gallery-owner narratives about working with the artist. There are also record covers reprints that Crumb has drawn over the years, as well as a CD of songs by the artists traditional band, R. Crumb and the Cheap Suit Serenaders. But more important, the Handbook
helps provide a window into the man himself.
In fact the more you read The R. Crumb Handbook the more you start to understand Crumb is really a political cartoonist, challenging stereotypes, cultural norms, and the media. U.S. media in particular has had a powerful and profound impact on Crumb. Readers will learn what TV shows and books inspired Crumb, the state of comics in the 1960s versus today, the medias effect on day-to-day life, and what other comics served as models for Crumb in his own work. Artists like Jack Davis, John Stanley, Carl Barks, and the late Will Eisner made powerful impressions on Crumb about what comics could achieve. Crumb offers up some interesting insight into comics during the Great Depression (e.g., Dick Tracy and Superman) and explains how many of these comics mirrored the era and encouraged readers to "fight on" even during tough times. The R. Crumb Handbook is a solid piece of work, not only giving us a glimpse into the artist, but serving as a great read for old and new fans alike. --Pat Kearney
Listen to an exclusive track from R. Crumb and the Cheap Suit Serenaders Read an interview with R. Crumb
Exclusive Images from the R.Crumb Handbook
Spoiler Alert: View at Your Own Risk!
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Crumb in Other Universes
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From Publishers Weekly
Starred Review. Since the mid-'60s, cartoonist Crumb's artwork has been among the most recognizable in the annals of pop culture; his catalogue of characters like Mr. Natural and Fritz the Cat are as indelibly tied to their era as LSD and the Vietnam conflict. Crumb's true story is every bit as compelling a chronicle of his times as the provocative illustrations that emerged from his prolific pen. Many books have detailed his career, but this handsome volume is a must for the interested reader. It's a riveting autobiography that illuminates the artist's lifetime of foibles, sexual neuroses, cynicism regarding the spotlight of fame and his perceived status in the world of comics art, flavored with observations by several artists, writers and social theorists. The 400-plus pages fly by as the reader is dragged into the head of a troubled creative genius for an odyssey through a landscape of scabrous, politically incorrect caricatures of modern society that cast the bespectacled misfit in the reluctant role of a millennial Hogarth or Brueghel. Packed with photographs and some of Crumb's best known comics—including much explicit and inflammatory material—this is perhaps the most accessible and just plain fun of the multitude of Crumb histories. The book includes a CD of music by Crumb's bands, including the Cheap Suit Serenaders. (May)
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