Monday, December 05, 2022

2019 Video: Robert Crumb and Aline Kominsky-Crumb Interview: Drawn Together

Here's an onstage interview conducted in Denmark by Martin Krasnik with underground comix creators (and married couple) Robert Crumb and Aline Kominsky-Crumb:

"'If it repulses you, do not look at it.' Watch the iconic 'cartooning couple' Robert Crumb and Aline Kominsky-Crumb on stage. In this video, they talk about their close to fifty years together, from their first meeting to collaborating and giving the world a version of their marriage – their 'love story' – through their joint comic strip. 

"'It was the early seventies, it was crazy, it was a time of free love, and nothing was normal. So why should our relationship have been normal either?' The couple shares how, before meeting Aline, Robert was already drawing a character with her last name – Honeybunch Kominsky. At the time of their first meeting, Robert already had a wife – and a girlfriend – so 'it was a little bit complicated,' but the two were drawn together, and in the autumn of 1972, they started doing comics together. Initially just for fun and to pass the time because Aline had broken her foot: 'We made it really crazy, but then a publisher saw it and wanted to publish it, and so we said: Why not?' They recall how many feminists from the women’s comics collective in the 1970s disliked not only Robert but also Aline, who didn’t portray herself as a heroic figure 'conquering male-chauvinism.' Aline too considered herself a feminist, but wanted 'to be as free as a man, and have as much sex as I possibly could, and be as bad and wild as I could.' In connection to this, Aline is quite clear in her response to people, who find the cartoons degrading: 'It’s a lot better to draw it than it is to impose it on other people.'

"Robert and Aline also talk about how they work and both agree that working together is much easier than working alone: 'She’s just such a natural-born Jewish comedian, it just comes out of her, it just pours out of her all the time. She always keeps me laughing,' Crumb says of Aline, who adds that she likes working with Robert because he can keep her on the subject. The couple feel that people take things too seriously nowadays and that sometimes you have to go back to the very beginning of why you do things: 'I wanted to do art that people read in the toilet, and now I have my work shown in New York at the fanciest art gallery in New York, fifty years later.' 

"Aline Kominsky-Crumb (b. 1948) is an American cartoonist. Kominsky-Crumb’s work, which is almost exclusively autobiographical, is known for its unvarnished, confessional nature. Solo work includes ‘The Bunch’s Power Pak Comics’ (1979-81), ‘Love That Bunch’ (1990), and ‘Need More Love: A Graphic Memoir’ (2007). She is also one of the cartoonists behind ‘Dirty Laundry Comics’, and cofounder of ‘Twisted Sisters’. In 2016, Comics Alliance listed Kominsky-Crumb as one of the twelve women cartoonists deserving of lifetime achievement recognition. 

"Robert Crumb (b. 1943) is an American cartoonist. Crumb, a counterculture comic book artist and social satirist, has enjoyed cult status for his underground comic strips, full of anti-heroes. Among these is a wide range of popular characters including Fritz the Cat and Mr Natural. Much of his work has also appeared in Weirdo magazine (1981-1993), which he founded himself, and which was one of the most prominent publications of the alternative comics era. Crumb has received several accolades for his work, including his induction into the comic book industry’s Will Eisner Comic Book Hall of Fame in 1991 and the Angoulême Grand Prix in 1999. Crumb was also among the artists honoured in the exhibition ‘Masters of American Comics’ at the Jewish Museum in New York (2006-2007). In 2012 a retrospective of Crumb’s work was exhibited at the Musée d’Art Moderne de la Ville de Paris. He has frequently collaborated with cartoonist Aline Kominsky-Crumb, with whom he is married, and the couple has made a joint comic strip based on their life together through four decades. A collection of the comics, ‘Drawn Together’, was published in 2012. In 2017, David Zwirner Gallery in NYC held a joint exhibition of Robert and Aline’s artwork: ‘Aline Kominsky-Crumb & R. Crumb: Drawn Together’. Robert Crumb & Aline Kominsky-Crumb were interviewed on stage by Martin Krasnik in connection with the Louisiana Literature festival at the Louisiana Museum of Modern Art in Humlebæk, Denmark in August 2019. 

"Camera: Simon Weyhe and Jakob Solbakken."

 

Friday, December 02, 2022

Trailer: Dave Stevens: Drawn to Perfection


Did you know there's a new documentary about the life and work of comic book artist Dave Stevens directed by Kevin Mao? I found out just now. More at Film Threat

It's available on iTunes as of December 2nd. (Hey, that's today!) Here's the trailer:

 

Thursday, December 01, 2022

Aline Kominsky-Crumb 1948 - 2022

 

Underground cartoonist Aline Kominsky–Crumb passed away at her home at France on Tuesday. She was 74. The cause was pancreatic cancer. She is survived by her husband Robert, daughter Sophie, and grandson Eli.

 

From The Beat:

The news was first posted by her local comics shop/gallery.


 

Fantagraphics comments on Facebook:


 From The Daily Cartoonist Facebook page:


"The underground comix scene, which arose from the counterculture of the 1960s, was not especially supportive of female artists. One of the few to break through and leave a lasting legacy was Aline Kominsky-Crumb, whose frank, self-lacerating, darkly humorous stories helped inspire generations of visual storytellers and the wider culture. Word started spreading on social media that Kominsky-Crumb died on Tuesday at her home in France from pancreatic cancer, confirmed by sources close to the family. She was 74."

 

From Forbes:

"Kominsky-Crumb, born Aline Goldsmith, grew up in Long Island, and first got into underground comix when she was at the University of Arizona in Tucson in the late 1960s. She moved to San Francisco in 1972 to pursue her artistic career, and soon fell in with underground icon Robert Crumb after mutual friends noted a coincidental resemblance to a character Crumb had created several years previously named 'Honeybunch Kominsky.' The couple were married in 1978, and had a daughter, Sophie, in 1981.

"Kominsky-Crumb was a founding member of the influential all-female collective that produced the anthology Wimmin’s Comix, a long-running feminist comic published by Last Gasp from 1972-1985. Kominsky-Crumb, along with artist Diane Noomin, broke with the group in the mid-1970s to do their own publication, Twisted Sisters. Both comics were some of the first to deal squarely with the political issues around female empowerment, criticism of the patriarchy, sexual politics, lesbianism and other topics central to feminist ideology."

I always liked the autobiographical comix that she did with Robert Crumb, her husband of fifty years. She drew herself, and he drew himself in a series appropriately titled "Dirty Laundry Comics.".



Related:

Tablet: Jewish, Ugly, Weird, Oversexed, Gross

Jewish Women's Archive

Lambiek

 



Wednesday, November 30, 2022

From the Dick Buchanan Files: "Wiggly Gardner" A Gardner Rea Profile by Gurney Williams

An editor must really like your work if he wants to celebrate your life and work in a major magazine. That's what cartoon editor Gurney Williams did for Gardner Rea (1894 - 1966). Like a lot of cartoonists, Gardner was born in Ohio. His initial plan was to become an artist, but at the age of fifteen, he sold his first gag cartoon to the old Life Magazine and his path changed. 

From the Post Morrow Foundation, which reprints the New York Times obituary of December 29, 1966, p. 31:

"When Harold Ross was gathering talent to start a magazine called The New Yorker in 1925, Mr. Rea was one of the original contributors. An old college friend, James Thurber, was in Paris at the time, but joined the magazine the following year.

"Rea’s contribution was considerably more than the drawings that appeared under his name. Some associates considered an equal talent was his short, sharp gags that formed the basis for cartoons by such noted colleagues as Charles Addams and the late Helen Hokinson. At one time he wrote about 40 gags a week, most of which he sold to editors.

"That somewhat serpentine line of his drawings, without detail, became his trademark, along with a trick of having in each picture a small shape, such as a necktie, inked in solid black. He explained the 'wiggle' of his line with another gag—'Nobody will catch on when I get senile.'

"But Mr. Rea distinguished between verbal humor and the art of drawing. He told an interviewer in 1946 that in common with most critics, he considered 'that line is the highest, most difficult form of art, and so long long as the fundamental design is there, I can’t see that it makes the slightest difference, technically speaking, if the subject matter is humorous.'"

Here's Dick Buchanan with the Collier's Profile and lots of cartoons. Thank you and take it away, Dick!

---

WIGGLY GARDNER
Collier’s April 4, 1953

   Whilst working at our desk, which looks suspiciously like a couch, we picked up an old issue of Collier’s magazine from the nearby coffee table, which looks suspiciously like a floor. Lo and behold, we discovered the magazine, dated April 4, 1953, contains a two-page spread celebrating Gardner Rea’s 20th year as a Collier’s cartoonist. Cartoon editor Gurney Williams’ profile of Rea claims Rea’s cartooning earned him a million dollars from 1908 up to 1953.  During that time, he contributed 650 cartoons to Colliers. All the while his cartoons were also appearing nearly every week in The New Yorker and The Saturday Evening Post and many other magazines. We do not have enough fingers to add it all up, but that’s a sh**tload of cartoons. Gardner Rea may have been the 20th century’s most published magazine cartoonist.  So, take a look at Gurney Williams’ profile of Gardner Rea, Wiggly Gardner . . . 


Full Page. Collier’s  April 4, 1953, page 66.



Full Page. Collier’s  April 4, 1953, page 67.

Gardner Rea  by Gurney Williams.


Gardner Rea’s first Collier’s cartoon, Collier’s  April 4, 1953.


 

GARDNER REA.  Collier’s  April 4, 1953.


 

GARDNER REA.  Collier’s  April 4, 1953.


 

GARDNER REA.  Collier’s  April 4, 1953.

 

GARDNER REA.  Collier’s  April 4, 1953.

 

GARDNER REA.  Collier’s  April 4, 1953.

 

GARDNER REA.  Collier’s  April 4, 1953.

 

GARDNER REA.  Collier’s  April 4, 1953.

 

GARDNER REA.  Collier’s  April 4, 1953.


Related:


From the Dick Buchanan Files: Gardner Rea Gag Cartoons 1938 - 1963


Gardner Rea's Sideshow

Tuesday, November 29, 2022

DICK TRACY Cards

 

Above: cover detail from DC Comics' Limited Collectors Edition of Dick Tracy (1975). I was indifferent to DICK TRACY. I saw it in the newspaper growing up and I had read some of the old strips in those comics history books, but it wasn't until Blackthorne began reprinting the old TRACY strips in comic book and softcover format during the 1980s that I began to see why this highly stylized cops and robbers stories were so well regarded. TRACY is a markedly narrow strip that leaves no doubt that evil men (and women) exist and good (through sweat and perseverance) will eventually triumph. But while its scope may be narrow, Gould mines deeply. Tracy is the bright light of justice in this dangerous comic strip world. His morals as solid as his chin, this cop is unafraid to use as much violence against the ruthless villains as they themselves dish out. How grim is Tracy's world? As Don Markstein points out, within the strip's first week, Dick's girlfriend Tess Trueheart is kidnapped and her dear old dad is rubbed out. Mayberry this ain't! DICK TRACY was created by Chester Gould (1900-1985), who was at the helm 365 days a year from October 4, 1931 to December 25, 1977. Dick Locher has been part of the team behind this Tribune Media strip for over 30 years now. Here is a series of six cards from the Chester Gould Dick Tracy Museum that were part of a goody bag of items from the 2006 National Cartoonists Society Reubens weekend that was held in Chicago. Each card reproduced some terrific TRACY collectible and then there are interesting facts on the other side of the card. This is the whole set: Above is the front and back of the first card. These are all square, and about the size of a CD. The even came in a jewel box.

   

DICK TRACY is a registered trademark of Tribune Media Services, Inc. 

Related: "Dick Tracy The Art of Chester Gould:" 200 characters from DICK TRACY 1931-1977

 

- Edited from a blog entry of February 17, 2010

Monday, November 28, 2022

Cartoonists Pay Tribute to Charles M. 'Sparky' Schulz’s 100th Birthday #Schulz100

This Peanuts Sunday comic strip was first published on November 15, 1959.

 


 

It’s a celebration of #Schulz100! From the Charles M. Schulz Museum:


"In honor of Charles M. 'Sparky' Schulz’s 100th birthday, cartoonists across the country are paying tribute to the Peanuts creator in their own comic strips published today [November 26, 2022].

"Schulz is the only cartoonist ever to receive this honor—a fitting tribute for a man who devoted his entire life to cartooning.⁠

"The Schulz Museum is honored to share the collection of tributes at schulzmuseum.org/tribute."




Wednesday, November 23, 2022

Happy Fall


Time for some gatherings of family and friends! I'll be away from the blog for a short time.


This is a drawing I did for the Berndt Toast Gang Bill Kresse Memorial Spooky Drawing event, held every October to raise some money by the Long Island chapter of the National Cartoonists Society. I had no time and so, of course, when that happens, one has to MAKE time by getting up early or staying up late. It was fun to do in the midst of a big illustration job as well as teaching my History of Comics course at New England College. But, oh boy, I sure had to make the darn time to be able to draw it up.