Thursday, March 24, 2011

Robert Crumb

This scene of Haight-Ashbury where Robert and Dana famously sold comix (ZAP) out of a
baby carriage is going to be re-printed in T.A.P. #1.

When he turned eighteen, Crumb left home and moved to Cleveland, where he shared an apartment in Cleveland with Marty Phals. He got a job at American Greeting cards and married his first real girlfriend. Crumb was soon feeling trapped in both his job and his marriage. He began taking LSD "as a sort of substitute for committing suicide." It did not bring Crumb freedom, but it might have contributed to his fame. Crumb had a "fuzzy" acid experience in November of 1965 and the aftereffects left him not only "crazy and helpless for six months," but also obsessively productive. By early 1966 he filled sketchbooks with drawings of what would become his most famous characters - Mr. Natural, Devil Girl, Angelfood McSpade, Eggs Ackley, and even the keep on truckin' guys.
January 1967, with just the clothes on his back and not even leaving a note for wife Dana, Crumb "set out for the new mecca" of San Francisco with a couple of acquaintances. Crumb was drawn to the sense of total freedom that emanated from Haight-Ashbury, and he was fascinated by the hippie subculture, but he never felt comfortable around the flower children. In his long sleeve dress shirts and occasional jacket and hat, he was self conscious about how different he looked and even imagined they suspected him of being a narc, but he was not willing to "embrace that scene." Even though he would sometimes refer to the Haight-Ashbury crowd as "my people," he was painfully aware of being an outsider. Crumb describes himself as a painfully shy weirdo during that period. He seldom spoke around people he had not known for a while. Second wife, Aline, says "the only voice he had was his pen."

"Robert began his book publishing career with a wonderfully romantic full-color illustrated novel entitled the ‘
Yum Yum Book’."

Before much time had passed Robert’s libido was freed to such an extent that he immersed himself further into his sexual fantasies, which had been tremendously influenced (and corrupted) by his early years of oppressive Catholic upbringing. Much of his later comix work clearly could be considered anti-female in the extreme. Yet there is no doubt that he is a gifted artist and immensely productive to this day.”

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