Comic Review: R. Crumb: From the Underground to Genesis (IDW)

IDW’s R. Crumb From The Underground To Genesis is a solid hardcover volume, dedicated to one of the best known ‘underground’ cartoonists of the 20th century. Robert Crumb, best known […]

IDW’s R. Crumb From The Underground To Genesis is a solid hardcover volume, dedicated to one of the best known ‘underground’ cartoonists of the 20th century.

Robert Crumb, best known for his scratchy, detailed pen drawings of urban people, has had a long career. Crumb, born in Philadelphia in 1943, started out as a greeting card illustrator in 1963, drew cartoons for Help magazine, and later for black and white “underground” comics, which were mostly sold in small shops catering to the counter culture youth of the 60’s and 70’s.

The volume contains long, detailed articles of Crumb’s progression as an artist, and documents the major events of his life, year by year from 1943 to 2011, when he and Aline, his muse, had several exhibitions of drawings in New York and Paris.

There are hundreds of sketches, doodles, finished drawings and full color illustrations by Crumb that are reproduced from the original artwork. Each drawing is numbered, dated, and if it resides in a private collection, the location of the collector is listed. (for example, Cologne Germany).

As we know, Crumb was, and still is, obsessed with females with strong legs, protruding buttocks, and other specific attributes. His fantasies can be crass, shocking, and tasteless to some, and frequently stray across the boundaries of good taste, to say the least. Some would describe his fetishes as misogynistic, showing a hatred of females. Others see his work as a fascinatingly frank, autobiographical examination of what makes him tick, drawn in high detail in black and white line artwork.

Whatever your opinion, this volume is about as good a picture of Crumb as you will ever get, assembling rare and unusual examples of his work in one place. The drawings are reproduced clearly and crisply. They are sometimes shocking, but always well crafted, and certainly never boring!

IDW R. Crumb From The Underground To Genesis, $49.99 228 pages Hardcover, M for Mature (sexuality)

Alan Spinney

About Alan Spinney

After a career of graphic design, art direction and copywriting, I still have a passion for words and pictures. I love it when a comic book comes together; the story is tight, and the drawings lead me forward. Art with words... the toughest storytelling technique to get right. Was this comic book worth your money? Let's see!!