When R. Crumb does a book tour, it’s a once-in-a-lifetime experience. Thus, his appearance Tuesday with Françoise Mouly in Richmond, VA has gotten lots of online coverage.
Last night, R. Crumb entered with a pratfall that seemed to surprise the University of Richmond’s director of museums, Richard Waller. Waving and smiling, the artist tripped off a platform, his arms flailing and cap flying, and went “SPLAT!” But he dexterously rebounded with a grin. Perhaps this demonstration of agility came from the physical regime of his wife, Aline Kominsky-Crumb, herself a noted cartoonist.
Chris Pitzer has a report on the talk as well as a panel with Anders Nilsen, Kim Deitch, Hope Larson and Gabrielle Bell that was part of the week’s festivities.
The panel discussion brought in Gabrielle Bell, Kim Deitch, Hope Larson, and Anders Nilsen. All fantastic comic creators coming with different views and histories of making comics. So, that was kind of troublesome, since I wasn’t really sure how to tie them all together. Erling stepped in and suggested the scope should probably fall into creation, history (with a nod to Crumb), and publishing. He also suggested a few questions, which turned out to be very helpful.
And at Comics Worth Reading, Ben Towle has a blow by blow. Since Mouly is moderating each stop of the Crumb tour, we were wondering how she would keep it fresh, but based on this, it’s clear she’s not playing pattycake:
Next on the screen was Crumb’s two-pager, “Don’t Touch Me” (from Snatch #3) which depicts an apparent rape, followed by the “punch line” in the last panel: “I never get to come!” In a rare bit of almost-regret (maybe? almost?), Crumb recalled showing this strip to a woman he knew and being genuinely surprised by her horrified reaction. Mouly wondered though if it wasn’t his intention to shock. “I intend to shock–but I don’t want them to run away in horror!” he replied. The discomfort in the room became almost palpable when he glibly remarked about “all women having rape fantasies, right?” and mentioned that “even Freud said all women were masochistic.” Then, after a moment, “Let’s move on…”
BONUS: A picture of Crumb from 1968, taken by animator Ward Kimball, and hosted by Michael Barrier:
Ward Kimball gave me this snapshot of Robert Crumb, the great underground cartoonist, when I interviewed him for the first time, at the Disney studio on June 6, 1969. The photo is dated December 1968, which I believe is when Ward first met Crumb, in San Francisco. I was publishing Funnyworld in those days, and Ward had written to me about Crumb in November 1968: “Have you seen Robert Crumb’s new comic book, ‘SNATCH’? I dare you to run reproductions from this public hair-raiser in ‘Funnyworld.'” (No, I didn’t take him up on that dare.)
[Thanks to the fellow who wrote to us in what looked to be Romanian to send us this link.]