Robert Crumb is the undisputed godfather of alternative comics. His work has appeared in museums across the world, from the Venice Biennale to New York's Museum of Modern Art; he was the subject of Terry Zwigoff's acclaimed documentary Crumb (Gene Siskel's favorite film of 1994); his drawings are so coveted by collectors that a sale of some sketchbooks in the early 1990s bought him a centuries-old chateau in southeast France. The legendary art critic Robert Hughes has favorably compared his portrayals of the human grotesque to Pieter Bruegel and William Hogarth, declaring Crumb "the one and only genius the 1960s underground produced in visual art, either in America or Europe."
Nearly every milestone on the long road comics have crawled from derided trash to treasured American art form was inspired either directly or secondhand by Crumb's choices and achievements. With his first issue of Zap in 1968, Crumb singlehandedly invented a format and sensibility, under the broad label of "underground comix," that permanently changed how printed cartoon stories are perceived. Along the way, it opened the form to social criticism, history, outrageous satire, and the full range of deeply personal human experience, including the both lightly and darkly sexual.
Crumb's occasional collaborator Harvey Pekar, one of the major innovators of quotidian comic autobiography, says his partner demonstrated that "comics were as good an art form as any that existed. You could write any kind of story in comics. It was as versatile a medium as film or television." Similar praise from other creators for Crumb's mind-blowing importance to them could go on for pages; anyone making noncorporate, nongenre, self-expressive comics occupies a space he created.
But events in the comics world last year served notice that the social-justice re-evaluation currently sweeping comedy, film, and literature has arrived at the doorstep of free-thinking comics. In September, at the Small Press Expo's Ignatz Awards ceremony in Bethesda, Maryland, Crumb's successor generation of alt artists let the 75-year-old have it with both barrels.
While presenting the award for Outstanding Artist, the cartoonist Ben Passmore, who is black, asserted that "comics is changing…and it's not an accident." He lamented the continued industry presence of "creeps" and "apologists," then called out the godfather by name: "Shit's not going to change on its own. You gotta keep on being annoying about it.…A while ago someone like R. Crumb would be 'Outstanding.'"
The room erupted with both "ooohs" and booing. "A little while ago there'd be no boos," Passmore responded. "I wouldn't be up here, real talk, and yo—fuck that dude." The crowd burst into applause.
R. Crumb on His Career-Spanning Show at David Zwirner, Political Cartoons, and His Ukulele
The cartoons of Robert Crumb, aka R. Crumb, have ignored the lines between comics and fine art, so-called good taste and bad, and countless other binaries for more than half a century, his lurid, distinctive pen-and-ink style interpreting everything from the Book of Genesis to Franz Kafka’s Metamorphosis to the likeness of Stormy Daniels. Through April 13, an exhibition at David Zwirner on West 19th Street in New York attempts to showcase the full breadth of his formidable career. Titled “Drawing for Print: Mind Fucks, Kultur Klashes, Pulp Fiction & Pulp Fact by the Illustrious R. Crumb,” it was curated by curator and critic Robert Storr. Beginning March 12, Zwirner will also present an online exhibition of pages from the artist’s sketchbooks of the ’60s, offering a rare glimpse into the development of some of his signature ideas and early characters, like Fritz the Cat and Mr. Natural. Now 75, Crumb spoke to ARTnews by email about political cartoons, his love for the ukulele, and his 1986 classic, Book of Filth. This interview has been edited and condensed for clarity.
ARTnews: I was at the preview for the Zwirner show, and Robert Storr seemed keen on emphasizing that your work shouldn’t be seen as offensive. Is this a perception that bothers you?
R. Crumb: I was very happy to listen to Robert Storr explain why my work was not, in fact, racist or misogynistic or sexist or anti-Semitic and should not be taken as such, because I have never drawn a single line meant to foster or encourage any of those attitudes. I thought he explained it as well as it can be explained, and certainly far better than I could explain it myself.
Of course, it “bothers” me that people perceive my work as racist and sexist, that they might be assuming that I’m advocating racism or sexism. I do believe that such people have an entirely mistaken notion as to what my comics are about. I feel very bad when I encounter this reaction because you know, I want everybody to love me, especially the women. Instead, I have alienated most of them with my vulgar, gross drawings. My readership is largely male.
Whatever one thinks of his subject matter, it’s difficult to deny R. Crumb’s prodigiousness with the pencil. He’s a master of crosshatching, and his illustrations and comics boil over with ideas, all sketched in his distinctive style: controlled yet frenzied, obsessed with proportion, often lewd and also oddly sweet. In his Art of Comics interview, Crumb hints at the birth of this style when he discusses how dropping acid for the first time fundamentally altered his work—and his view of the world. “I remember going to work that Monday, after taking LSD on Saturday, and it just seemed like a cardboard reality,” he says. “It didn’t seem real to me anymore. Seemed completely fake, only a paper-moon kind of world.” In lieu of the real world, Crumb created his own realm, some twisted amalgam of past, present, and subconscious. A new show at David Zwirner, “Drawing for Print: Mind Fucks, Kultur Klashes, Pulp Fiction & Pulp Fact by the Illustrious R. Crumb,” gives us a glimpse into Crumb’s mind through comics tear sheets and rarely shown pages from his private sketchbooks. Perhaps most striking among the sketchbook selections are his portraits of Aline Kominsky-Crumb, his longtime creative partner and wife. Lost in thought, she stares out from the page. She relaxes on the couch with her eyes half closed. She reads in the sunshine, her “ass getting sunburned while posing.” In a body of work notable for its horniness, these pictures of Aline stand out for their care and tenderness. No matter how lost Crumb gets in his own world (the introduction to his Art of Comics interview notes that as he worked on The Book of Genesis, “he pursued his vision in a desolate shelter in the mountains outside town, working for weeks without human contact”), he can always return to Aline to get his bearings, to find his way through this cardboard reality. Images from the David Zwirner exhibition—including a few of the Aline pages—appear below.
Robert Crumb has always been known as the bad boy of the comics world. He has filled sketchbooks with smutty drawings of women, made offensive remarks and still manages to show at a top New York art gallery with fans waiting for an autograph.
Print: Mind Fucks, Kultur Klashes, Pulp Fiction & Pulp Fact by the Illustrious R Crumb is his latest exhibition, which runs until 19 April at David Zwirner gallery in New York. Showcasing old comic books from the 1960s to sketchbooks, a cartoon about Donald Trump and a portrait of Stormy Daniels, it traces Crumb’s path as pervert in chief – which marks the end of an era.
Because Crumb has stopped drawing women.
The Philadelphia-born artist was a key figure in the counterculture movement in San Francisco during the sexual revolution and has now decided to stop showcasing the female form. Perhaps it was the result of the #MeToo movement?
“I don’t even look at women any more,” said Crumb in New York. “I try not to even think about women any more. It helps that I’m now 75 years old and am no longer a slave to a raging libido.”
The Knotty Legacy of Weirdo, R. Crumb’s Underground Comix Magazine
A prodigious purveyor of perverted art and the doyen of underground comix, Robert Dennis Crumb (“R. Crumb” in his signatures) has been illustrating the unhinged imagery lodged in his unconscious for six decades and counting. To his ongoing bewilderment, the controversial and formerly destitute artist’s drawings and cartoons now fetch top dollar at esteemed gallery exhibitions, such as David Zwirner’s recent Drawing for Print: Mind Fucks, Kultur Klashes, Pulp Fiction & Pulp Fact by the Illustrious R. Crumb.
Before he was famous, though, Crumb endured all sorts of problems. Though he’d made a splash in 1968 with his Zap Comix series, which helped define the underground comix aesthetic, his early thirties were plagued by disastrous relationships, lawsuits, financial struggles, heavy LSD use, and copyright infringements (including an X-rated film made about his Fritz the Cat character without his permission). But things started looking up as Crumb approached his 40th birthday — thanks, in part, to Weirdo, an independent magazine he launched in 1981 following a flash of insight during a meditation session.
At the midpoint of R. Crumb’s Dream Diary, a new book by legendary cartoonist Robert Crumb, the artist details a dream he once endured called “Dream of Huge Woman in Thigh-High Boots,” in which he lusts after an overweight and incredibly tall woman who wears nothing but thigh-high leather boots. He attempts to resist her charms but eventually climbs into bed with her, despite the presence of a prying crowd that includes his wife Aline and a film crew. He is overcome with desire, shame, and anxiety so powerful it awakens him. Sounds about right.
Since his arrival on the psychedelic comics scene in the 1960s, Crumb has built a career on the abandonment of inhibition and subsequent excavation of humankind’s inherent filthiness. He is a dedicated chronicler of the id and no stranger to the public confessional. He has repeatedly mined every aspect of his personal life for his work, utilizing both caricature and portraiture to feature scenes from his own life and relationships. Incredibly prolific, he lent his vision to the mainstream (Janis Joplin’s Cheap Thrills album cover for example) and subculture (consider Zap Comix, or the serialized characters Fritz The Cat and Mr. Natural) but often returned to an inward gaze. To quote Crumb from the preface: “What could be more interesting in life than exploring this inner realm of the mind?”
Now, the artist has released a decades-spanning catalogue of his dreams. Despite his explicit intention to record the nightly activity of his subconscious, he admits to forgetting many details once awake. Consequently, most entries do not exceed a page or two. There are dreams of the mundane, like “Dream About Kittens” and “Dream About Sleds,” the disturbing, such as “Dream of Burning Dead Babies” and “Dream of Begging God To Help Me,” and, of course, the sexual: “Dream of Making Out With Big Female Athlete” and “Dream of Girl With Big Legs.”
I am Nicholas Gazin, VICE's comics know-it-all. Don't nobody know more about comic booking than old Nick Gazin. This is my weekly column in which I tell you what's good and what's bad, what's wheat and what's chaff, what's necessary and what's trivial.
Here are reviews of five things I was sent in the mail.
I receive many fine things in the mail every day for free. In the past month, I got a new pair of Doc Martens, a G-Shock watch, 50 THC cookies, and about a hundred books and comics. It's like I wished on a lucky monkey's paw, and now I get cool stuff in the mail, but instead of bringing happiness, it just makes it harder for me to appreciate the value of objects. However, when I opened the box containing this book, I was so bowled over that I blacked out and hit my head. There was blood everywhere, and when I came to, my cat was lapping up the scarlet puddle that had pooled around my head.
This book collects all three of R Crumb's Art & Beauty Magazines in a hardcover, slipcased volume that has been hand-numbered by someone, probably an intern, and signed by R Crumb himself. I got #348.
The book is full of pretty drawings of ladies by R Crumb, some drawn from life, some drawn from photos. Almost all have giant legs and butts and are accompanied by Crumb's written commentary on why he thought they were worth drawing. Drawing pretty ladies is pretty standard stuff in the visual arts, and Crumb is one of the great treasures of illustration. Crumb's drawings in this book not only show why women are beautiful, but why life is beautiful. I'm glad he exists and shares his drawings with the world. I'm glad this book exists. I'm glad it is mine.
Cartoonist R. Crumb Returns with 'Art and Beauty' in July
In 1996, Robert Crumb (popularly known as R. Crumb), one of the most acclaimed comics artists of the 1960s underground comics movement, released a series of full-page black-and-white drawings as a one-volume collection called Art and Beauty Magazine, originally published by Kitchen Sink Press. A second volume of Art and Beauty drawings was published in 2003 by Fantagraphics.
In July, David Zwirner Books, the publishing division of David Zwirner Gallery, a major New York City contemporary art dealer, will publish a complete hardcover edition of Art and Beauty Magazine that will collect the previous two volumes, as well as a third volume of drawings done for the series that have never been published.
Although not comics, the drawings in Art and Beauty Magazine are classic Crumb renditions: full-figured women, clothed and nude, rendered in bold lines and detailed crosshatching that vividly delineate their forms. Needless to say, the women—among them his wife, Aline; friends; athletes; and photos of Crumb-proportioned strangers—are spectacularly voluptuous, drawn doing everything from sitting around the house to contorting themselves into impossible poses.
The book also serves as a deluxe catalogue for an exhibition of the original drawings from the book that opened at David Zwirner Gallery in London during the London Book Fair. David Zwirner Books is an art book publisher based in New York that publishes about 20 books a year. The house is distributed by DAP in North America and Thames & Hudson in the U.K. and Europe.
Although Crumb's last hardcover work, The Book of Genesis Illustrated, published in 2009 by W.W. Norton, was a bestseller that sold more than 150,000 copies, David Zwirner Books will release an initial printing of 5,000 copies of Art and Beauty for North America and the U.K./Europe. The house is also publishing a limited edition of 400 copies for collectors, which will include a signed book plate.
Why such a modest print run for one of the world’s most popular cartoonists? Crumb's literary agent, Lora Fountain, said the cartoonist wanted "a high-quality [book] edition to be the catalogue of the London exhibition." But Crumb also liked the small publishing house and its young editor, Lucas Zwirner, the son of the gallery owner/publisher David Zwirner. She said Crumb expected that the David Zwirner Books edition of Art and Beauty Magazine would reach "a very different public from Robert's usual fan base."
Lucas Zwirner agreed. "Crumb's art is more than just eroticism; it's about honesty, desire, and the elimination of shame. Young people respond to his drawings and to the text." Zwirner said he is prepared to go back to press if demand warrants. Zwirner first met with Crumb's agent before visiting the artist at his home in France, and the two hit it off. He also said that Crumb was able to oversee the books' production, another advantage offered by the small press. "He worked on every aspect of the book. It's his baby," Zwirner said. "Aline says it's the only book he hasn't complained about."
Robert Crumb is caught in traffic, allowing us time to snoop out the best place for a photoshoot in the upmarket London gallery where more than 50 of his pictures are on display. It all looks so well mannered, this orderly line of black-and-white illustrations, and then you peer into the pictures and the familiar rude energy comes roistering out.
We decide that we will place him between an erotic rear view of the tennis player Serena Williams and a homely portrait of his wife of almost 40 years, Aline Kominsky-Crumb, in bed with her laptop. Aline is the chunky brunette who features in so much of Robert's work - not least in the three issues of Art & Beauty magazine that are the subject of this exhibition.
It is Robert, not Aline, who I have come to interview, and whose pictures are on sale at a starting price of $30,000 (£20,800), but their art is so intertwined that it's hard to understand either in isolation. One collaboration, unprecedented in the history of comics or indeed any art, had husband and wife each drawing themselves in the throes of sex with each other.
As we wait for the great man to arrive, Lucas Zwirner, the 25-year-old editor of the gallery's publishing outlet, gives a learned explanation of the appeal of Crumb's work to a new generation. "What's exciting about the work is his openness to his own desire and erotics," he enthuses. "There's something irreconcilable at the heart of the work that doesn't resolve towards a single vision of beauty, and which is at odds with much contemporary art. It's about seduction and repulsion. You are drawn into the work and you are judging yourself as you look at it."
Confessions of Robert Crumb is a 1987 documentary picking over the life of America's greatest living cartoonist. It opens with Crumb and his wife sitting on the doorstep of their idyllic little-house-on-the-prairie style home, skilfully fingerpicking a jaunty bluegrass tune on banjo and guitar. When the music comes to an end, Crumb turns to camera.
"Hello." He says, expressionless. "My name is Robert Crumb and this is my wife Aline. We are underground cartoonists."
"On the surface our life appears to be really quaint and charming," Aline says.
"Yes. Doesn't it," Crumb says. "But underneath it's a steaming cauldron of sexual perversion, drugs and twisted neurosis." He picks up his banjo and begins to play again.
This mix of salacious pay off and deadpan self-mockery is quintessential Crumb. The Godfather of American underground comics has been staining paper with the contents of his wry, sordid mind for more than half a century. And whilst it's true that he's created a canon from pen and ink that pulsates with sexual perversion, drugs and twisted neurosis, to describe it merely as such undersells Crumb's rare gift for satire, his merciless self-examination and his remarkable work rate. In terms of quantity alone there is no one else who has been as consistent—he scripted, drew and self-released his first comic in 1958, aged 15, and hasn't stopped working since.
Celebs in Comic Form! See Artist R. Crumb Transform Coco Austin, Lady Gaga and More
Pop culture can be comical—and this artist takes that description literally.
Legendary cartoonist R.Crumb transformed photos of celebrities like Coco Austin, Lady Gaga, Serena Williams and Paris Hilton into something out of a comic strip in drawings from his Art & Beauty magazines.
The result? Seeing some of your favorite females take on new life as carefully-drawn cartoons—and looking seriously badass.
In honor of the completion of the third volume in the series, David Zwirner Gallery in London is displaying the largest collection of Crumb's work to date, as well as publishing all three of the Art & Beauty magazines.
In the illustrations, Lady Gaga is on stage, crowd surfing atop of thousands of adoring fans.
Austin is mega-muscular in the gym.
Williams is preparing to smash a ball on the court (not too far off from reality!) and later, flaunting her toned physique on the beach.
And Hilton is in her prime, on the beach, in stilettos and big sunglasses circa 2006—as she should be.
R.Crumb's Art & Beauty is currently on display at David Zwirner Gallery in London. If you can't make it across the pond, Art & Beauty is available on David Zwirner Books.
Robert Crumb is the world's most famous underground cartoonist. So much so that the 72-year-old doesn't really count as 'underground' any more, having long ago left the countercultural 'comix' scene and moved into the realm of art galleries. Along the way, his subject matter has expanded too, from his original, acid-fried strips of the 1960s, through documentary forays into the lives of obscure blues musicians and Kafka, to his recent magisterial, comic-book version of the Book of Genesis.
One aspect that hasn't changed much over time, though, is his sexual fantasies. Crumb has always been the most lascivious of artists, happy to give full rein to his erotic imagination. And it's very particular type of woman he goes for: muscular, beefy, posteriorly ample. Think, essentially, Serena Williams. At the start of his career, his fetishistic caricatures were often regarded as misogynistic. But in his 'Art & Beauty' series, produced from the mid-'90s onwards and shown in its near entirety here, his vision of women is much more respectful, even reverential.
Williams herself features amongst the 54 works on display, as do other sports stars, their powerful, athletic poses taken from newspapers. Mobile phone snaps are another source—sexualised selfies posted online, or street shots of random, strong-looking girls—while other works depict life models. Small and monochrome, the drawings reflect Crumb's mature, realist style, using intense crosshatching, and often incorporate appended text—quotes from famous artists, or Crumb's own, philosophical ruminations on femininity.
The results are complex and contradictory—obsessional and voyeuristic, yet oddly sweet; determinedly tongue-in-cheek (the title, 'Art & Beauty', stems from a nudie mag of 'artists' models'), yet deeply sincere. In other words, it's a fascinating, nuanced, multi-faceted body of work—and a testament to one of the world's most unique artists at the height of his powers.
This April, David Zwirner will present R. Crumb's inaugural exhibition at the gallery in London, featuring drawings from his Art & Beauty magazines. Initially published in 1996, the artist recently completed the highly anticipated third volume in the series, and the show marks the largest presentation of the project to date.
One of today’s most celebrated illustrators, Crumb helped define the cartoon and punk subcultures of the 1960s and 1970s with comic strips like Fritz the Cat, Mr. Natural, and Keep on Truckin’. The overt eroticism of his work paired with frequent self-deprecation and a free, almost stream-of-consciousness style have solidified his position as a renowned and influential artist, whose work addresses the absurdity of social conventions and political disillusionment.
Combining iconography from comic books, art history, and popular culture, Art & Beauty portrays a broad selection of images of female figures in diverse settings. The inspiration for the series is linked to Crumb’s avid collecting of vintage underground paraphernalia including records, flipbooks, and specifically, Art & Beauty, a catalogue published during the 1920s and 1930s featuring semi-erotic images of life models for art lovers and aspiring painters—an early example of a top-shelf magazine.
Following a similar format as the older publication, Crumb has selected his own cast of female figures from tabloid celebrities, sport stars, life models, friends, and strangers, and accompanied them with journalistic-style commentary and quotations from other artists such as Leonardo da Vinci, Paul Cézanne, and Andy Warhol. The poetic, even philosophical, prose mirrors the romanticized language of the former magazine, but becomes tinged with a subtle sarcasm and self-mockery that destabilizes the relationship between image and caption. Crumb humorously lets his own obsessions and fantasies merge with cultural stereotypes and bigotries from the past and present to create an at once personal and exaggerated typography of women.
In the works from the latest volume, presented here for the first time, Crumb continues to investigate the intersection of art and beauty through drawings based on photographs from magazines, life studies, and in a departure from the earlier issues, camera phone snapshots from city streets and selfies purportedly emailed to the artist. Women close to the artist are prominently featured, including his wife Aline Kominsky-Crumb and Eden Brower of Eden and John's East River String Band, a group Crumb often performs with, as are household names such as the tennis player Serena Williams and reality television personality Coco.
The American cartoonist Robert Crumb's first U.K. solo exhibition in over a decade opens to the public in London on Friday—and features pictures from the latest volume of his "Art and Beauty" magazine series, which has previously seen Crumb faithfully reproduce imagery of women taken from mass media or life studies. Now, he adds cellphone street photos and his fans' selfies to his wellsprings of inspiration.
"The source material is evolving," says the art dealer Paul Morris, the founding director of New York's Armory Show and a longtime friend of Crumb's, who wrote the introduction to "Art & Beauty Magazine: Drawings by R. Crumb," a collected volume published to coincide with David Zwirner's show here. "Now, Robert is receiving images from friends and family from their phones. So you're getting a much larger cast of characters to work from, and it's also more street photography—a little bit of Weegee infused into it."
The exhibition, spread across two floors, mostly sees 72-year-old Crumb pay homage to a variety of women, including the muscular, statuesque ones with whose figures he has long been obsessed. Subjects include musician Eden Brower, a member of the country-blues group Eden and John's East River String Band, with whom Crumb sometimes plays mandolin, and the tennis player Serena Williams, pictured on a public beach in a bikini with her hands held aloft. A pair of pen-and-ink studies of a semi-naked model taking selfies were received via a message on the artist's website. "The girl depicted took these 'selfies' in a mirror, having seen the many published works of the artist," writes Crumb in blocky caps on the page next to her. "She ended with, 'It would be a big pleasure to be a part of your art.' In reply we can only say, the pleasure is ours."
"It might be fascinating for him to have someone contemplating themselves and taking those pictures," Morris adds. "There is something of an eroticized moment when you're watching somebody else getting turned on by themselves, so to speak."
Crumb's talent for crosshatching complements his thick ink outlines, which round away the photorealism of his sources, lending them a simplified, exaggerated form. According to the gallery, "Art & Beauty" is named after "a catalog published during the 1920s and 1930s featuring semi-erotic images of life models for art lovers." Next to his pictures, Crumb has copied quotations from other artists, including Salvador Dalí and Andy Warhol, and composed overwrought descriptions of his own draftsmanship, mocking the intellectualization of erotica and pop culture. "Behold this disgusting display, vividly captured by some alert photographer, of unruly mob celebrity worship," he writes of Lady Gaga, apparently crowd-surfing at the music festival Lollapalooza in Chicago in 2010.
Morris has worked with Crumb since 1999 and says the artist, who built his reputation on irreverence and countercultural comics, remains pertinent, highlighting the potential influence of his output on American painters including Lisa Yuskavage and John Currin. "The content and context of his work has been influential for many years," he says. "He stays relevant because he doesn't hide anything. As he evolves through time, so do his images."
The American cartoon artist and satirist R. Crumb, 72, began making handmade comic books as a teenager. Later, the characters he created for counterculture zines, such as Fritz the Cat, the Keep On Truckin' guy, Devil Girl and Mr Natural, helped define the cartoon and punk subcultures of the Sixties and Seventies. In the Nineties he moved to France with his wife, Aline, where he continues to produce original comics and drawings. An exhibition of his 1991 magazine Art and Beauty, a satirical take on aesthetics and sexuality, goes on show at David Zwirner, London, on Friday.
I seldom get up early because I always stay up very late.
I am often in my keenest mental state at 2.30 or 3am. Plus I have negative associations with getting up early: school and job.
I try to meditate for 35 minutes every morning but don't always succeed.
I've learned that I need meditation to keep life from overwhelming me, to maintain some calm and detachment. As [Charles] Bukowski once wrote, "When I bend down to tie my shoes in the morning I think, 'Christ almighty, what now?'"
Next I have my bread and jam with tea, which I eat while reading.
Then I spend varying amounts of time procrastinating before knuckling down to work. Some appalling percentage of waking hours are piddled away in procrastination, but such is human life.
I don't own a computer or a cell phone.
I have a part-time secretary to whom I give handwritten letters. She then types them up and sends them out by electronic mail. She also prints out any emails I receive and gives them to me on paper. At this point I think it's too late for me to learn how to use a computer. Plus I have zero desire to learn how to use these infernal devices. I like paper.
Serena Williams's serving arm stretches so far behind her that she's close to patting her own behind with her racket. The pose also means that the tennis player's chest is thrust forward. If this image—drawn by R. Crumb in 2002 and pictured here—feels overtly sexualised, then that's because it is: his portraits of star sportswomen are lessons in objectification. Nor is anything less to be expected from the seasoned underground comix artist: he is way into his half-century preoccupation with sex, drugs and scatology. We should not let Crumb—or the viewer—off the hook by veiling this in irony, though. In another work, a female bodybuilder—all bulging thighs and rounded posterior—is described in a handwritten caption as "an inspiring vision to the artist". Crumb is sincere in his ardour, knowing in his politics.