Crumb, Robert

Robert Crumb - or Robert Dennis Crumb (born August 20, 9143) - is without a doubt one of the greatest weirdos and mavericks the comics medium has ever seen. An American artist with his own idiosyncratic style, who spearheaded the American underground comics movement of the '60s and '70s with his sexist, provocative comics that question the norms of society. Robert Crumb is considered the founder of the "underground comix" movement - and he is certainly its greatest personality. To this day, where the still active Crumb resides in France, he has followed his own muse - and never allowed himself to sell out to the commercial comics industry. His original drawings and lithographs are in great demand - as are the original underground comics - and highly valued among collectors. Crumb has got his own great fan following. Among the countless Crumb titles and characters one finds "Keep on Truckin", "Devil Girl", "Fritz the Cat", and "Mr. Natural". Robert Crumb was born in Philadelphia. He was raised in a dysfunctional family, surrounded by artistically gifted siblings, and he himself began drawing at an early age. In the early 1960's Crumb moved to Cleveland, Ohio, where his professional career as an illustrator really took off. He also met a group of young, rebellious bohemains, among others Liz Johnston and Harvey Pekar. Crumb also became friends with his great idol, Mad creator Harvey Kurtzman, and the first strips with "Fritz the Cat" saw the light of day in Kurtzman's satirical magazine "Help!".Crumb began creating short stories for underground magazines - and in 1967 he moved to San Francisco, which was the epicenter of all the new trends in society back then. Crumb self-published the first issue of "Zap Comix" in the beginning of 1968, and the comic's success made Crumb the biggest name in underground comics. Crumb's style is unique. If you look closely, you'll see a strong influence from the newspaper strips from the beginning of the 20th century. But the content was violent, racist, and sexist - a slap in the face of the industry's self-imposed board of censors - Comics Code Authority. Crumb was at the forefront and other names like Spain Rodriguez, Rick Griffin, S. Clay Wilson, Victor Moscoso, Robert Williams, and Gilbert Shelton, would follow. Crumb himself has admitted that his use of LSD played an important part in his creative proces. Crumb soon became so popular that he, much to his dismay, became a mainstream phenomenon. His friend Janis Joplin asked him to design the cover for her album "Cheap Thrills". The animator Ralph Bakshi made an animated feature film adaptation of Crumb's "Fritz the Cat", which received an X rating because of its semi-pornographic content. Crumb hated the film - and retaliated by having his main character Fritz the Cat be brutally killed in the comic! Crumb would later fade from the spotlight somewhat, but was rediscovered in 1994 in a very entertaining documentary profile that really took a close look at Crumb as a person. In recent years Crumb has taken part in various art projects and published some very exclusive lithographs as limited editions - from his base in France. Here it is clear that his biggest source of inspiration is jazz music. Critics today recognize Robert Crumb as one of the greatest American artists of the century. He is compared with literary satirists like Rabelais, Jonathan Swift, and Mark Twain. The art critic Robert Hughes has compared Crumb with Albert Dürer, Brueghel, and Goya, Other critics - particularly women - have called Crumb's work socially degrading, calloused, misanthropic pornography. Crumb himself admits to being afraid of women.