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Robert Crumb (American, b.1943)

Comic Book Art

Robert Crumb (American b. 1943) is an American cartoonist and musician, who is well-known for influential works and contributions to the underground comix movement in the 1960s. Crumb is known for his quirky artwork coupled with idiosyncratic dialogue. Robert Crumb’s creations include Fritz the Cat, Mr. Natural, Angelfood McSpade, Devil Girl and the Snoid.

As a kid, Crumb began his comic book career by drawing homemade comics with his brother, Charles. Robert Crumb left home in 1962 with only the $40 that his dad gave him. He quickly got a job as a greeting card artist in Cleveland, Ohio, but he was still creating comics in his spare time.

Hit with a sense of inspiration from Harvey Kurtzman, Crumb moved to New York City to work for Kurtzman’s Help! Magazine. While working for Help!, Crumb introduced his most well-known character, the scam-artist and sex-obsessed Fritz the Cat. Unfortunately, the magazine ended up closing shop, and Crumb moved back to Cleveland.

In 1967, Crumb ventured on to San Francisco, California, to work for Yarrowstalks Magazine, where his artwork was warmly welcomed. It was here in the Haight-Ashbury neighborhood that Crumb published the iconic and highly beloved Zap Comix. Zap and its successors, such as Head Comix, perfectly paired with the rising counterculture movement. His work typically involved some sort of social satire, from Whiteman, the uptight business man, to Fritz the Cat, the Bohemian con artist. Crumb’s work, specifically his “Keep on Truckin” comic strip, became a mishandled mantra of the hippie scene.

After a brief hiatus, Crumb returned and began working on a magazine called Weirdo, where he was the main character in a series of self-deprecating tales. This black and white anthology of sorts gained a lot of attention, but Crumb wasn’t done there. In 1993, Crumb and David Mairowitz created the graphic novel, Kafka for Beginners, which has since been reprinted under several different names. Since the graphic novel, he began doing mainstream illustrated articles for publications, such as The New Yorker, and has also been the subject of the documentary, Crumb, which was directed by his friend Terry Zwigoff and has received some praise.

Robert Crumb and his wife Aline currently live in Southern France. He has received several awards for his work, including nominations from Angoulême Grand Prix and Harvey Special Award for Humor.

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