The story of Robert Crumb

Well enough said about Christmas, so let me tell you a story about something completely different. One evening when I was a kid, the telly showed a cartoon of a head cracking open and turning itself inside out, so that out through the brain emerged another head – sort of as in a ring of infinity. It was placed on a table, up close and with some sort of red curtain backdrop. At least that is how I remember it… In my mind, strong visions like that are imprinted, from night and day dreams, from split second situations of my childhood, apparitions and frozen moments from travels far away. They never fade, but probably alter as time goes by.

Ever since watching that cartoon head, with mixed feelings of amazement and disgust, I have wanted to find the answer to the million dollar question: which hand drew that cartoon head? Who was (or is) the twisted mind behind? It is hard to find girls that knows  about cartoons whether on print or film, somehow that is the boys department. So although I have a strong affinity for cartoons, I don’t nerd about it like boys do (pardon the generalization), but honestly they don’t take you serious unless you remember the name of the author, names and details of the main characters, date and country of first publishing etc. But when striking up a conversation trying to see, if one of these guys can help me figure out, who the (wo)man is behind the rather crude style of drawing I once saw, they all more or less unanimously suggests Robert Crumb (b. 1943). So I started digging into the works and world of Crumb, never finding my cartoon, because Crumb never made any animation, but finding myself becoming a fan. Here I have to confess: A fan in the less academic way, because as much as I am a fan of his work, I am utterly fascinated by his completely incomprehensible person – or should I say family.
His work is for adults only, politically incorrect and a lot about himself, but simultaneously about how social norms can lead to oppression of human sexuality and the, in this case, dire consequences and taboos that lies therein.  

My suggestion is that you spend the last bit of your Christmas holiday watching one of my top ten favorite documentaries Crumb (1994) directed by Terry Zwigoff (presented by David Lynch), which much like the documentary Grey Gardens (1975) by Albert and David Maysles, holds such an intensity and is full of surprises and unforgettable eccentrics – you simply cannot believe that these people existed and lived just like that.
And if you got hooked on Crumb and need some more after that, follow-up with its predecessor, the 55 min. BBC documentary The Confessions of Robert Crumb (1987), where Crumb presents himself, but in a far more plain and uneventful way.
(I have no knowledge as to whether this site is legal or not, but Crumb can be watched on the link above)

The BBC documentary from 1987:


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Think the reason why I am so intrigued by Crumb and his person is that, he inhibits the space
between fiction and reality, I find nothing more interesting – he himself is a cartoon caracter.

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