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Robert Crumb

The doodles of a dirty old man

Robert Crumb

Sometimes citing psychedelics as the reason behind his hallucinatory style, American cartoonist Robert Crumb is loved and lauded for his work, which blends traditionalist cartoon illustration with a trippy sensibility and untethered libido. Crumb became a prolific cartoonist in the late 1960s and early 1970s, particularly for his Keep on Truckin' strip and popular characters such as the bohemian Fritz the Cat and spiritual guru Mr. Natural. Crumb’s comics deal with atypical cartoon topics, like his personal sex life and drug use. Such content made him an easy match to publish with the Underground Comix label, known for printing challenging and experimental work.

Crumb found major fame with Zap comics in 1968. Subsequent comics include Snatch, Big Ass, Despair, Weirdo and Hup. He starred in the Oscar nominated 1994 documentary film Crumb, and has produced many books, including the TASCHEN publication Sex Obsessions. Also available in the TASCHEN collection are Crumb’s sketchbooks in two volumes, 1964-1982 and 1982-2011, each containing cartoons handpicked by the artist. Muscular yet vivacious cavewoman, gymnasts, and yetis are reoccurring motifs in his drawings, as are his sexual fantasies of being overpowered by strong women and his depiction of ‘little guys’ crushed and infantilized by their own desires. Another of Crumb’s fixations is the adult entertainer Vanessa del Rio. Crumb has contributed a unique signed watercolor lithograph of Del Rio to accompany the publication on the star, released by TASCHEN.

Crumb is married to the cartoonist Aline Kominsky-Crumb, who is praised for her contribution to the feminist movement within cartoon illustration. Sometimes at odds with her partner’s portrayal of women, and his sexually rampant self-portraiture, Aline and Robert have nevertheless collaborated on numerous projects. Strange, hilarious and often obscene, Robert Crumb comics continue to revolve around the artists’s obsessions, mostly his compulsion for big and strong women. In Crumb’s world, it is men who are at the mercy of these powerful female physiques and sexual appetites.