Out Now: The Complete Crumb Comic Covers

French publisher Éditions Cornélius has just published, in French, The Complete Crumb Comic Covers, bringing together for all of Robert Crumb’s comic and comic collection covers created between 1960 and 2021, for the very first time.

The Complete Crumb Comic Covers (Éditions Cornélius , 2022)

From Zapp Comix to The Book of Genesis, the 300-plus page book, book, in development for 15 years, utilising as many originals as possible, traces more than 60 years of Crumb’s career, and presents a large number of rare and unpublished images.

The covers, many of which have seared into collective memory, have been carefully and lovingly restored to be as faithful as possible to the original art, allowing Crumb fans us to appreciate the evolution of his style; and to admire his always spectacular work as a calligrapher.

The Complete Crumb Comic Covers (Éditions Cornélius , 2022)
The Complete Crumb Comic Covers (Éditions Cornélius , 2022)
The Complete Crumb Comic Covers (Éditions Cornélius , 2022)

Crumb’s inventive compositions, often avant-garde, remind us that this highly-regarded cartoonist is also a brilliant graphic designer, whose work has influenced artists far beyond the field of comics.

Accompanied by a hearty critical appraisal and comments from the author, The Complete Crumb Comic Covers testifies to the history of modern America through some of its most iconic images, from the hippie revolution to the Trump era.

The publisher fully expects the first edition of The Complete Crumb Comic Covers to sell out very quickly. You can either buy it direct from the publisher (bear in mind customs duties may apply if buying from outside France) or from online sites such as AmazonUK (Affiliate Link).

Robert Crumb - Zap Comix No. 2

Born in 1943 in Philadelphia, Robert Crumb, regarded as the most important and influential artist to emerge from the American underground comix movement, grew up in a suffocating family. From the age of two, he took refuge in drawing. One of the characters he invented back then was Fred the Cat, named after the family’s pet, who eventually became Fritz the Cat, one of Crumb’s best-known characters.

At 18, he fled the family home and moved to Cleveland, Ohio, working there as an illustrator of greeting cards, and developing his unique art style. His first work comics work featured in the short-lived title, Help! in 1965, the start of a long career. The same year, Crumb discovered LSD, which completely changed his way of living and drawing. During a bad trip, he invented the characters would become the symbols of “underground” culture: Mr Natural, Angelfood Mc Spade, Mr Snoïd, and more.

Crumb left Cleveland for San Francisco in 1967, and the now legendary Zap Comix was launched he following year. Crumb’s humorous style, the total freedom of his words, especially in the illustration of his sexual fantasies, his absurd humor, influenced dozens of cartoonists. The “underground” comic book was born, and Crumb became a figurehead of “counterculture”.

Robert Crumb - Fritz the Cat
Robert Crumb - Despair

In the last months of 1969, Crumb received a $10,000 advance from Ballantine Books for a Fritz the Cat book, and used that money as a down payment on a plot of land north of San Francisco in Potter Valley where he, his wife Dana, and baby Jesse moved. In 1970, Crumb began a five-year, on-again off-again relationship with Kathy Goodell, who lived in San Francisco. In the same year, Crumb’s wife gave permission for Ralph Bakshi to use Fritz the Cat in a full-length feature film. Crumb, entirely dissatisfied with the project, soon after killed the character off.

He met Aline Kominsky, also a cartoonist, who would become his second wife, in 1971, the early years of that decade seeing him at his most prolific, although not without controversy, facing anger from the the nascent feminist movement, scandalised by the violence of his fantasies.

At the end of the 1970s, he definitively abandoned drugs and evolved towards a more “realistic” style, integrating the influence of the great English and French illustrators of the 18th and 19th centuries. In 1981, Crumb produced and edited a new comic magazine Weirdo, which included the work of other artists, and also published some of his best stories, and adapts several literary texts.

American publisher Fantagraphics began the reissue of his entire body of work in 1988, an ongoing project, and the following year, disgusted by America, persuaded by Aline, Crumb decided to settle in the south of France, with his wife and daughter, exchanging some of his sketchbooks for their new house. Crumb’s friend, Terry Zwigoff, filmed Robert and his family before they moved and the resulting documentary, Crumb, achieved some success at the box office in America and some countries in Europe.

Robert Crumb - Mystic Funnies
Robert Crumb - Weirdo

While continuing to work for the American market, Crumb also illustrated a biography of Franz Kafka. He continues to produce comics to this day, with the same regularity and flamboyant style he’s famous for, sometimes alone (the Hup series) or with his wife (Dirty Laundry and Self Loathing).

No matter what recognition he finally has in his country and the interest that museums have in his work, he continues to draw, again and again.

The Complete Crumb Comic Covers | ISBN 978-2360811670 | 322 pages | Buy it direct from the publisher (bear in mind customs duties may apply) | Buy it from AmazonUK (Affiliate Link)

The Official Robert Crumb Site

With thanks to Danny Hellman for the tip

The founder of downthetubes, which he established in 1998. John works as a comics and magazine editor, writer, and on promotional work for the Lakes International Comic Art Festival. Working in British comics publishing since the 1980s, his credits include editor of titles such as Doctor Who Magazine, Star Trek Explorer (previously known as Star Trek Magazine) and more. He also edited the comics anthology STRIP Magazine and edited several audio comics for ROK Comics. He has also edited several comic collections, including volumes of “Charley’s War and “Dan Dare”. He’s the writer of "Pilgrim: Secrets and Lies" for B7 Comics; “Crucible”, a creator-owned project with 2000AD artist Smuzz; and “Death Duty” and “Skow Dogs” with Dave Hailwood.



Categories: Comics, downthetubes Comics News, downthetubes News, US Comics

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1 reply

  1. Robert Crumb – the man who put the X in “comix”!

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