'Araki Being Born', Adventures of a Lesbian College School Girl, Aline 'Twisted Sisters' Kominsky, Aline and Bob's Dirty Laundry, Anata wa neko no ue ni nani no chikara mo arimasen, あそこ, あなたは猫の上に何の力もありません, Bill 'Zippy the Pinhead' Griffith, Brent 'Amputee Love' Boates, Chitsu naibu Araki, comix, daniel d. teoli jr, 膣内部荒木, Frank Kozik, funsō ya shitsumon wa ari enai sa reta baai... Sono namae wa kuramudesu!, Howard Cruse, Jim 'Trucker Fags in Denial' Blanchard, Jim Goad, John 'She Male Trouble' Howard, Joyce Farmer, Justin 'Binky Brown' Green, Lee 'Pudge the Girl Blimp' Marrs, Lee Marrs and Trina Robbins., Lyn Chevely, Mary 'Dyke Shorts' & 'Come Out' Wings, Nobuyoshi araki bīingu bōn, Petra Waldron and Jennifer Finch, Post processing by Daniel D. Teoli Jr, rekishi wa... Arufa to sono janru no omegadearu 1 sōzō-tekina tensai ni andāguraundo komikkusu o teigi suru mono o jōryū shinakereba naranai hikisū, Robert Crumb, Roberta Gregory, S. Clay Wilson, Spain Rodriguez, Subete no gen tte okonawa re, Teoli, Tits and Clits, Underground Comix, Waldron and Finch - Adventures of a Lesbian College School Girl, What better else to define Araki?, When history must distill what defines underground comix into one creative genius that is the alpha and the omega of that genre...there can be no argument-dispute or question...that name is CRUMB!, 性的, 乳房, 乳房和阴道的中国爱情是传说
In honor of
Irving Penn & O. Winston Link
I had written a book review for Amazon about a Robert Crumb comix compendium, but they refused to publish it. So I have expanded it some and sharing it here…
Through the years underground comix have showcased the work of many creative artists.
Here are a few standouts…
Green was studying painting at the Rhode Island School of Design when in 1967 he discovered the work of Robert Crumb and turned to cartooning, attracted to what he called Crumb’s “harsh drawing stuffed into crookedly-drawn panels”. He experimented with his artwork to find what he called an “inherent and automatic style as a conduit for the chimerical forms in [his] own psyche”. He dropped out of an MFA program at Syracuse University when in 1968 he felt a “call to arms” move to San Francisco, where the nascent underground comix scene was blossoming amid the counterculture there. (Wikipedia)
Brent Boates (cover)
From Bikers’ Mardi Gras artist’s book
Sometimes photogs can find something naturally occurring that parallels what is in the comix. Here is my version of Amputee Love…shot candid in a campground.
Aline Kominsky-Crumb (Married to Robert Crumb)
Jim Blanchard / Goad
He picked up the nickname Spain as a child, when he heard some kids in the neighborhood bragging about their Irish ancestry, and he defiantly claimed Spain was just as good as Ireland (Wikipedia)
Petra Waldron and Jennifer Finch
Anata wa neko no ue ni nani no chikara mo arimasen
Tits and Clits was an all woman publication with many great contributing artists…Joyce Farmer, Lyn Chevely, Roberta Gregory, Lee Marrs and Trina Robbins.
Howard Cruse and various artists
S. Clay Wilson
Kenneth Huey cover
Frank Kozik and various artists
When all is said and done and history must distill what defines underground comix into one creative genius that is the alpha and the omega of that genre…there can be no argument, dispute or question…that name is CRUMB!!
Robert Crumb is not only the godfather of the underground movement, he is also one of the most prolific, talented and creative cartoon artists ever. His body of work could easily fill a Crumb museum or two.
An excellent interview – Crumbs early years…
Aline and Robert…the early days.
Photograph by David Levene for the Guardian
‘Araki Being Born’
Concept and post processing by Daniel D. Teoli Jr.
I don’t do much with ‘mental masturbation’ photography. But, this ‘Araki popping out of a vagina’ was renting space in my head for some time and I wanted to get it finished. I would have preferred it with Araki pulling himself out with his 2 hands by grabbing the labia, but that is beyond what I can do.
I have a lot of ideas in my head that could be drawn. Sadly, I have zero talent for drawing or painting. If I had more money I’d contact Crumb to see if he wanted to draw me a shot of Araki popping out of a gapped open vagina. I mean, what better else to define Araki? And probably Crumb as well!
The next photo, from the turn of the century, clued me into what can be done with cutouts. The photo of ‘Araki Being Born’ was done as a cutout composite with found photographs. I’m an old film photog and don’t know how to use Photoshop, I’m strictly Lightroom, so went old school with the cutouts.
I had written to Araki to make me this photo and send me a copy (for free) to hang up on my wall. But, Araki is too goddamn high and mighty for a reply. That is how it goes with many a famous photog, pretty much all of them. Anyway, it all worked itself out and is no longer renting head space.
From the Daniel D. Teoli Jr. Archival Collection
This brings up another concept to discuss…working things out by getting it all out. Crumb did a lot of this ‘art therapy’ in his work. It is not anything new, if he was a poet he would write a poem, a photog does a photo, a writer types a book, a musician writes a song or lyrics and a choreographer would design dances to get it out.
Crumb with a model of Devil Girl
One of Crumb’s classic comics is A Bitchin Bod. The story unfolds over a few pages, I’ve only included a small snip.
In it, Mr. Natural has transformed the Devil Girl into a zombie like body sans head. The head has been pushed into the body. Mr. Natural shares his bod with Flakey. When Flakey’s conscience gets the better of him, Mr. Natural reaches in and pulls the head back out by the tongue, restoring Devil Girl. To the delight of the lesbian separatists, once restored, the Devil Girl sets out to kick ass.
Robert Crumb – Biography
Robert Crumb was born in Philadelphia on Aug. 30, 1943, to a Marine father and Catholic mother. His family moved frequently during his childhood, and moved to Delaware in 1956 when his father retired after twenty years in the U.S. Marine Corps. Robert’s mother often behaved erratically and was probably manic depressive. Robert was a faithful Catholic until he was sixteen. His biggest influence during his youth was his older brother Charles, who loved comics and who co-wrote many of the comics they produced as children. Crumb was anything but popular in high school and felt alienated.
“I was one of those social rejects, but then, you know, a lot of people were — nothing unusual about being an outcast in high school.”
After graduating from high school, Robert spent a depressing year at home, mostly drawing, and talking endlessly about the meaning of life with Charles, who never did leave home. He finally left for Cleveland in 1962 to live with his friend Marty Pahls, and soon found work with the American Greetings Corporation as a color separator.
He was promoted within a year to the Hi-Brow Department, and drew hundreds of cards over the next several years. His job as a commercial illustrator would have an effect on his future work. My boss kept telling me my drawings were too grotesque. I was trained to draw ‘cute’ little neuter characters which influenced my technique, and even now my work has this cuteness about it.
In 1964, Crumb lost his virginity with Dana Morgan, who he married later in the year. They honeymooned in Europe for six months, while Crumb continued to mail in his illustrations for American Greetings.
“I started taking L.S.D. in Cleveland in June of ’65. That changed my head around. It made me stop taking cartooning so seriously and showed me a whole other side of myself.”
After a temporary breakup with Dana, Robert traveled to New York, Chicago, and Detroit during this acid-soaked period and created many of his future characters: Mr. Natural, Mr. Snoid and Angelfood McSpade.
In January, 1967, Crumb suddenly left Cleveland. “I escaped to San Francisco when I met two guys in a bar who said they were driving west.” Dana followed him there, and they eventually settled in Haight-Ashbury. Crumb drew “Zap #1” and “Zap #0” in the fall of 1967 and sold them on the street in 1968 (out of Jesse’s baby carriage). So marks the birth of underground comics with Crumb as its most recognizable force. His son Jesse was born at this time, in April, 1968.
Robert continued to draw and travel throughout the rest of the decade.
“I was all over the map in ’69. I didn’t spend much time home. I was chasing women all over the place. I lived for a while in a hotel on Mission Street. That’s where ‘Big Ass’ and ‘Snatch 3’ were done. I was so mixed up. I stayed a couple months with Gilbert Shelton and a gang of Texans in Venice, California. I was in Detroit, Chicago, New York. It’s amazing I managed to turn out so much work in that chaotic time.”
In the last months of 1969, Crumb received a $10,000 advance from Ballantine Books for a “Fritz the Cat” book. He used that money as a down payment on a plot of land north of San Francisco in Potter Valley where he, 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 Fritz the Cat, a character he had created in adolescence.
In the first few years of the decade, Crumb continued to traverse the country and draw. But by 1974, Crumb moved from what had become a commune in Potter Valley and settled down in Madison, California with his new girlfriend, Aline Kominsky (later to become his second wife). He stopped smoking marijuana at that time. He drew a “Mr. Natural” strip which ran in “The Village Voice” for about a year (later compiled as “Mr. Natural #3”). He also started playing banjo and mandolin in the Cheap Suit Serenaders Band, which usually performed in the Bay area.
His revolutionary character Frosty the Snowman (Arcade comics in the mid-seventies) may have brought the wrong sort of attention from the government, because by 1977 Crumb was embroiled in a legal battle with the IRS.
In 1981, Crumb produced and edited a new comic magazine called “Weirdo” which included the work of other artists. Aline’s and Robert’s daughter Sophie was born at this time. In the mid-eighties, Robert decided to let Peter Bagge (and eventually Aline) take over the job as editor of Weirdo so that he could spend more time doing his own comics. While still contributing to “Weirdo,” he created the “Hup 1-4” series in the late 1980’s and early 90’s.
By the end of the 1980’s, with suburban sprawl increasing, the Crumbs became disgusted with America and, at Aline’s instigation, decided to leave. Robert exchanged some of his sketchbooks for their new house in the south of France. 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.
Except for the occasional expedition to Paris or America, Crumb has nestled himself in the south of France, where he is hard at work on a long-term project illustrating the book of Genesis. He owns almost five thousand 78 RPM records in his collection. His son Jesse lives in Northern California. His daughter Sophie lives 45 minutes away from her parents. Aline is pursuing her interests in comics, painting and sculpting.
This biography was written by Alexander Wood and was edited by Robert Crumb.
A great interview with Crumb and Gilbert Shelton…
Aline Kominsky-Crumb and Robert Crumb at home
Photograph by Eamonn McCabe for the Guardian
Post processing for photo as shown: Daniel D. Teoli Jr.
From Girls of the Beat Generation
A forthcoming 6 volume artist’s book series by social documentary photographer Daniel D. Teoli Jr.
A complete list of artist’s books by Daniel D. Teoli Jr.