With all the political eye gouging going on, I felt the need for the peace and quiet of the Sixties. I put on Crumb, the documentary by Terry Zwigoff of the life of R. Crumb. Crumb is a fascinating look at a talented, amazingly off-center artist who probably epitomizes much of the Sixties counter culture. If you're old enough to remember Fritz the Cat, Mr. Natural, "keep on truckin'" and any number of large-bottomed women, you're remembering R. Crumb. If you remember walking into tacky head shops, past the displays of pipes, cigarette paper, peace medallions and psychedelic posters, to pick up a copy of Yellow Dog or Fritz the Cat comic books, you're remembering at least part of the Sixties. If you’ve never seen or read a copy of Yellow Dog and have no idea what I’m talking about…well, I don’t know what to say.
Crumb grew up in a terribly dysfunctional family, with a disconnected mother and a bully of a father. Of his siblings, his two brothers agreed to be interviewed and they appear to have grown up as strange as he. He and a brother began drawing comic books as an escape. We're all sexual creatures, but Crumb is the only kid I ever heard of who got aroused thinking of Bugs Bunny.
Crumb’s cartoons and comic books show what the Sixties youth revolution was all about. They were in-your-face, sexual, anti-establishment, ironic, funny. They were also often violent and anti-female (or at least demeaning to women). Prudes and parents, usually the same thing, were not amused. Crumb moved to France years ago with a second wife and a daughter. Many people consider the work he's now creating as very good stuff.
This is an excellent documentary about a very strange and influential human being.