Born Weird

By posted at 2:30 pm on April 25, 2016 8

Meet the man who calls his own fans “scum,” R. Crumb. Crumb first rose to prominence after the 1968 debut of Zap Comix, the first of the majorly successful “underground comix” publications. His work with legendary poet Charles Bukowski is worth taking a look.

Share this article

More from the Millions

8 Responses to “Born Weird”

  1. beamish13
    at 4:55 pm on April 25, 2016

    Crumb also illustrated a mid-80’s edition of Edward Abbey’s The Monkey Wrench Gang.

  2. steven augustine
    at 2:31 am on April 26, 2016

    Following the first link, I was directed to an article titled “Cassandra Clare Created a Fantasy Realm and Aims to Maintain Her Rule” that doesn’t appear to concern R. Crumb at all (as hard as I looked for a connection).

    Crumb’s drawings of old timey blues performers are profoundly well done, but I’ve been reading / looking at his material since (the often dangerous) Zap, then Weirdo and his projects with Harvey Pekar, Bukowski et al. Crumb’s line about his fans being “scum” comes out of a certain kind of darkly humorous, affectionately fatalistic, sensibility that was quite common among intellectuals of the late ’60 and ’70s. It should not be translated literally, by younger readers, to mean what they think it must mean.

  3. beamish13
    at 11:47 am on April 26, 2016

    Exactly right, Steven. I don’t think the people running The Millions really understand or care to know about Crumb/illustrated storytelling in general.

  4. steven augustine
    at 1:34 pm on April 26, 2016


    I suspect that general disinterest has helped Crumb fly under the radar since the New Puritanism took hold in the ’80s… because who, in the Art world, crossed more lines than Crumb? Supposed bad boys like Hirst or Jeff Koons (for example) never came close to transgressions as shocking as “Angelfood…” or “Big Baby”. So it’s probably in Crumb’s best interest that he remain semi-obscure… laugh.

    But let’s see how long it takes for someone to fix that link (so it actually leads to something about R. Crumb), eh?

  5. bobbygw
    at 11:05 pm on April 26, 2016

    Along with @Beamish13 and the others, I’m still waiting and hoping the link will be fixed for Crumb. And waaaaaaiiiiiting.

  6. Thomas Beckwith
    at 3:57 am on April 27, 2016

    Sorry all — we’ve fixed the link.

  7. steven augustine
    at 8:08 am on April 27, 2016

    Excellent! Thank you!

  8. steven augustine
    at 8:24 am on April 27, 2016

    Erm, ” Aline is the chunky brunette who features in so much of Robert’s work…”

    Chunky? “Gorgeous” would have been closer. Perhaps the Grauniad should have sent a slightly less ambivalent interviewer.

Post a Response

Comments with unrelated links will be deleted. If you'd like to reach our readers, consider buying an advertisement instead.

Anonymous and pseudonymous comments that do not add to the conversation will be deleted at our discretion.