R. Crumb, Los Angeles, 2002.
Hardcover, slipcase, unpaginated, bw illustrations, 10 x 8.5 x 1 inches.
He's been called a genius and a "world-class malcontent." R. Crumb, the visionary founder of the underground comics movement and unwilling hipster to multiple generations, celebrated for his viciously funny take on modern America, is also lauded as a draughtsman on par with Breughel. For the first time ever, his drawings of women are collected in one brilliantly offensive yet hilarious volume, in chronological order, spanning the 38 years since his pen-and-ink beginnings. The usual fetishes are on display, natch--the built-from-the-ground-up body type, the lovingly fixated-upon solid thighs and buttocks--but so is Crumb's heart, on his sleeve, in the great tenderness with which he has rendered the women in his life. They're all here: his high-school crushes, his paramours, the girls and women who tormented him--and to whom he gave it right back--or who caught his eye on the street, and, of course, his wife and fiery sometime collaborator, Aline, and their daughter Sophie. Add to this his mistress of fifteen years, and you have not only a catalogue raisonne of Crumb's portraits of women but also a revealing record of a passionate life. Crumb calls it "an autobiography of sorts" and it is--these aren't just portraits of women but the most intimate portrait of Crumb's life in love.