Skip to main content
Go to accessibility notice


    Robert Crumb "What is the Meaning of Life?" 1-Page Story Original Art Intended for Help! Magazine (1965). Young Robert Crumb's dream was to be a professional cartoonist, but his casual, "off the cuff" style was in sharp contrast to the slick look of most published comic art. It would prove to be part of his artwork's appeal, and this fact didn't escape Harvey Kurtzman. Harvey's original MAD comic book and early magazine made a huge impact on Robert, who sent in samples of his art to Harvey's Help! It garnered him an invitation to submit more, and led to an offer to work for Help! in Harvey's New York offices. Unfortunately, the day Robert arrived, the magazine was canceled. Here is one of Robert's first submissions, featuring an extension of his "Silly Pigeons" sketchbook stories. This existential one-pager remained unpublished until 1969, when Jim Vadeboncoeur interviewed Robert for his and Bud Plant's great "prozine," Promethean Enterprises. Those early Silly Pigeons strips were first published there, along with this page, the best of them all. Look closely and you'll see a number of characters later to appear in Crumb's Fritz the Cat stories! The art is in ink on sketchbook paper, with an image area of approximately 8.5" x 11.25". The page had been matted and framed, and it hung in Harvey and Adele Kurtzman's home for many years. The mat was not acid free, resulting in toning on all four borders, but fortunately this did not affect the image area, which only has a few small spots of discoloration. Robert personally selected this page for his definitive R. Crumb Coffee Table Book (Little, Brown/Kitchen Sink, 1997). Overall condition is Good. From the Estate of Harvey Kurtzman

    Auction Info

    Auction Dates
    February, 2019
    21st-23rd Thursday-Saturday
    Bids + Registered Phone Bidders: 24
    Lot Tracking Activity: N/A
    Page Views: 1,575

    Buyer's Premium per Lot:
    20% of the successful bid (minimum $19) per lot.

    Jerry Weist's Comic Art Price Guide 2011
    Want to know more about this artist? Dates, history, background, and value ranges are covered in the comprehensive new guide. Order Now!
    Sold for: Sign-in or Join (free & quick)

    Heritage membership

    Join Now - It's Free

    1. Past Auction Values (prices, photos, full descriptions, etc.)
    2. Bid online
    3. Free Collector newsletter
    4. Want List with instant e-mail notifications
    5. Reduced auction commissions when you resell your
    Consign now
    • Cash Advances
    • More Bidders
    • Trusted Experts
    • Over 200,000 Satisfied Consignors Since 1976
    Only 23 days left to consign to the 2020 June 20 - 21 Animation Art Signature Auction - Dallas!

    Learn about consigning with us

    The auction was a success! Your guidance and expertise has been so helpful.
    Doug P.,
    North Hollywood, CA
    View More Testimonials receives more traffic than any other auction house website. (Source:

    Video tutorial

    Getting the most out of search