The R. Crumb Handbook

This idiosyncratic biography succeeds on a number of levels, blending autobiographical writings, photographs, drawings and even a CD of some of R. Crumb’s musical groups over the years. Lamenting the fact that he has become a multi-national empire—from Mr. Natural incense to museum shows of his drawings—Crumb uses this straw dog to assay the continually declining state of affairs. The well-plowed field of his life is divided chronologically into four periods: fear, clarity, power and old age. Along the way, there are digressions on American complacency, the use of LSD as a substitute for suicide, the sexual attraction of big, strong women, and other detailed obsessions. This book gives you an appreciation of Crumb’s deep sense of absurdity. If Samuel Beckett had decided to draw instead of write, this is what you’d see.