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"My generation comes from a world that has been molded by crass TV programs, movies, comic books, popular music, advertisements and commercials. My brain is a huge garabge dump of all this stuff and it is this, mainly, that my work comes out of, for better or for worse."
Robert Crumb

I really can not explain why I was so interested in reading "The R. Crumb Handbook." I've never been a big R. Crumb fan...but I couldn't wait to get my hands on this book: Here's what happen.

It all started last April. I was reading Rolling Stone magazine and came across a Q&A featuring R. Crumb. The headline read, "The comic legend on politics, censorship and big butts." That got my attention. Then I heard him being interviewed by National Public Radio...in both cases he was promoting his new book.

"The R. Crumb Handbook" is Crumb's candid and self-deprecating memoir. It's 437 pages filled with pictures, illustrations, cartoons and Crumb's own easy-going prose style. He takes the reader on a fascinating trip from his tormented childhood in the 1940's through the psychedelic revolution of the 1960's and, eventually, his decision to move to France in 1990.

The narrative is loosely chronological and Crumb writes frankly about his feeling of social alienation and sexual obsession - the primary subjects of his most famous satirical cartoons. The book is illustrated with hundreds of examples of Crumb's cartoons and drawings (some never before published). One of the few disappointments I have with the book is that some of the art work is very small, and therefore, hard to read.

It seems it all started in San Francisco during the summer of love. Crumb had just quit his job at American Greetings in Clevland, Ohio, and moved into a small apartment where, as a result of a bad LSD trip, he created ZAP COMIX and the cartoon icons Mr Natural, Fritz the Cat and many more...R. Crumb became an overnight hippy cartoon superstar.

Another interesting angle of the R. Crumb story is his close relationship with his older brother, Charles. Charles had an important influence of Robert's art: "I really have no idea whether I would have become so interested in comics without Charles' influence. No idea. He had a very strong, forceful personality. His vision, his imagination was so powerful that he influenced everyone in the family."

"The R. Crumb Handbook" also comes with a CD containing selections recorded by the various groups that Crumb has enjoyed playing with during his long, half-assed (his words, not mine) musical career, from 1972 to 2003.

It's published by MQP. Rating: 9 out of 10.


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Comments

The following comments are for "The R. Crumb Handbook."
by johnjohndoe

The Movie
If you haven't seen the movie, "Crumb", I know you'll enjoy it, johnjohn.

~ John

( Posted by: Flonigus [Member] On: July 10, 2005 )

R Crumb
Dirty and I love it. Thanks for sharing.

( Posted by: strangedaze [Member] On: September 13, 2005 )

R.Crumb Review
Crumb comics never missed an issue. Loved the girls with the big fat legs and tiny tops and the dirty old maharaji and the baby. Will look for R. Crumb handbook CD as a collectors item memorabilia. Wonder if it is still available?


( Posted by: wguilddragoness [Member] On: November 14, 2008 )

Very GOOD book review!
This isn't the type of book I would read, not by a longshot; however, this book review had something special embedded -- the author's enthusiasm.

When I read "professional" book reviews, I'm often turned off by their high school "book report" nature. This wasn't "high school" by any means.

I wish I had more time to describe just why I feel this is a perfect book review (I worked 12 hours last night and just finished work on a short story for my book), but in short, this piece makes me want to read this book.

If it means anything at all -- I'm very impressed with your writing here. There is so much talent on this site that it makes me crazy!

Ochani Lele.

( Posted by: OchaniLele [Member] On: November 14, 2008 )

An afterthought:
Has anyone ever given thought to starting an online "book club" on litdotorg. The motto here seems to be, "Read, write, respond." And althought it's a community for writers, the best way to learn about writing (beyond just doing it), is to read and analyze the writings of the authors in the genre in which one specializes.

It's how I learned, at least. And it's how a few of my moderately famous author-friends learned how to write as well.

Ochani Lele.

( Posted by: OchaniLele [Member] On: November 14, 2008 )

Stuart, wishing you luck
You're a racehorse of creative energy, and very positive force. I only hope that you get back in return the same enthusiastic response and creative energy you have given. What a generous soul, a real dynamo. You strike me as a very loving and caring person.

Best Wishes,
Sarah

( Posted by: wguilddragoness [Member] On: November 15, 2008 )





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