Friday 12 August 2011

Robert Crumb explains what forced him to cancel his trip.
Sydney Morning herald August 13
After I told a journalist who sent me the article that I might not go to Australia because of this, he took it on himself to call and talk to Hetty Johnston, who told him she was contacted by ''the media'', sent links to some of my more ''offensive'' images, and asked to comment on the fact that the Sydney Opera House was exhibiting my work.
From this it is evident The Sunday Telegraph was looking for ways to discredit me and the City of Sydney by using people like Hetty Johnston. Who's going to put down an anti-child abuse campaigner? If this person hates my work, I must be a child abuser myself. And the Sydney Opera House is condoning child abusers.
The Sunday Telegraph, after contacting these groups and showing them apparently offensive images extracted from my work, can then say, as they did in their article, ''Cartoonist Robert Crumb's visit, funded by the Opera House and endorsed by the City of Sydney, has sparked outrage with sexual assault groups describing the France-based American artist as 'sick and deranged'.''
One can see in this example how skilled media professionals with low standards of integrity are able to mould and manipulate public opinion, popular beliefs and, ultimately, the direction of politics.
read more


Isn't it always the way that just after I discover an artist, he goes and dies. Francisco Solano Lopez is dead at 83. Entrecomics presents again a long interview with the artist. On 10 July here I showed an entire story I've kept since 1964 and only just had it identified as the work of Lopez.

Fantagraphics translated his later work, Ana:

Thursday 11 August 2011

I recently bought the Fantagraphics complete Mauldin's Willie and Joe in soft cover. Bill Mauldin is one of the indisputable geniuses in the history of cartooning and I consider it an obligation to have the best available collection of his work on my shelf. From the photo you can see that this has meant periodic updating.

The attraction of the Fantagraphics collection is that it is the first to date everything and put it all in chronological order. (In the intro to one of the earlier collections Mauldin confessed some regret at having removed the dates in an earlier edition for the sake of grouping the cartoons thematically, and allowed that putting them back on would now require a great deal of research). I expected this to bring about one or two observations that I could not have made before. The first is that I am surprised to find that there is no break between the war cartoons and the post-war cartoons. They are continuous. the second is that in the middle of 1944 Mauldin appears to have decided to stretch the proportions of his figures from a normal height of seven or eight 'heads' to as many as ten heads (previously I presumed variotions might be explained by pressing circumstances). These are two from before this apparent decision:



And these are two from after it:


This reminded me of the big pictorial book on World War 2 (1975) by James Jones (of From Here to Eternity). I haven't seen it in years, but I recall that there was a section on War Artists, in which he discussed the art of a particular artist who intentionally used stretched 'heroic' proportions in his figures. I realize that most of this kind of thing will not look strange to the modern reader accustomed to looking at comic books, in which Rob Liefeld once notoriously stretched a figure to as many as fourteen heads (I think Gibbons used the heroic ten heads in Watchmen). Anyway, I forget the name of the artist Jones was talking about, but the strongest candidate is Howard Brodie:

So I'm wondering if Mauldin came into contact with Brodie and or his work in the middle of 1944. Or maybe there's another explanation.

Update. PS- You can see how the heroic proportion brings a gravitas to the drawing that won Maudin the Pulitzer.


earlier post on Mauldin.

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Wednesday 10 August 2011

It's plain rude to call someone a pervert
Imre Salusinszky From: The Australian August 10, 2011 1
The Sunday Telegraph story was the first I'd heard of Crumb's work not being allowed to be shown in Australia. In any event, you won't have to try very hard to view Crumb, as he is a regular in The New Yorker.

His work has also been included in the Carnegie International in Pittsburgh (the oldest annual exhibition of popular American art) and he has had career retrospectives at the Ludwig Museum in Cologne, Germany, and New York's Institute of Contemporary Art.

The New York Times described Crumb as "a draftsman of transcendent skill, inventiveness and versatility, a fearlessly irreverent, excruciatingly funny satirist of all things modern and progressively high-minded, and an intrepid explorer of his own twisted psyche".
Yesterday, The Australian reported Crumb has cancelled his Sydney visit. Apparently he didn't like being described as a pervert.

A toxic turn and safety fears soured cartoonist on visit
Sydney Morning Herald Aug 10
Crumb had said of the article: ''Where's all this come from? … This hasn't happened since the '70s.''


Tuesday 9 August 2011

K urt Vonnegut library offers pupils free copies of banned book
The Kurt Vonnegut Memorial Library is asking interested pupils at Republic High School in Missouri to drop it an email requesting a free copy of Slaughterhouse-Five after an anonymous donor provided it with 150 copies of the book. "We think it's important for everyone to have their First Amendment rights. We're not telling you to like the book ... we just want you to read it and decide for yourself," said Julia Whitehead, the library's executive director, in a note on its website entitled "stop the madness".
Last month the school's board voted to ban Slaughterhouse-Five and Sarah Ockler's young adult novel Twenty Boy Summer from its curriculum and library following a Missouri professor's complaints about their content... (Alison flood, Guardian, more)


Monday 8 August 2011

oh fuck
Cartoonist miffed by negative newspaper article
The Australian Aug 9 2011
WORLD renowned American cartoonist Robert Crumb has pulled out of his headline appearance at the Graphic arts festival in Sydney later this month.

He made the decision after being described in a Sydney newspaper as a "self-confessed sex pervert" and a "very warped human being".

Crumb, 67, who was among the founders of the underground comix movement in the 1960s and whose characters include Mr Natural and Fritz the Cat, was to be the main attraction at the second annual Graphic festival to be held at Sydney Opera House on August 20 and 21.

The artist, who is based in France, told The Australian yesterday he had withdrawn from making his first appearance in Australia because of the nasty nature of an article in The Sunday Telegraph, owned by News Limited, publisher of The Australian.

The newspaper's story on July 31 featured the headline "Cult genius or filthy weirdo". In it, anti-child abuse campaigner Hetty Johnston described Crumb's work as "crude and perverted images emanating from what is clearly a sick mind".
I'll keep you up to date as I figure out what's happening. The festival is still holding up, so I'll be there!

the article that caused the problem:
Smutty show a comic outrage
Telegraph July 31, 2011
A SELF-CONFESSED sex pervert whose explicit comic drawings cannot be shown in Australia is to deliver a talk and hold a special exhibition at the Sydney Opera House.

Cartoonist Robert Crumb's visit, funded by the Opera House and endorsed by the City of Sydney, has sparked outrage with sexual assault crisis groups describing the France-based American artist as "sick and deranged".

Crumb, a "seminal" cult comic cartoonist from the 1960s regarded by fans - including the City of Sydney - as legendary, and a genius, is renowned for extreme drug-fuelled drawings, depicting incest, rape, paedophilia and bestiality.

The Sydney Opera House's publicity for the art festival event next month warns: "Some patrons may find parts of this event's content disturbing. Event may not be suitable for persons 15 or under."

A spokesman for the federal Attorney General's department told The Sunday Telegraph that Crumb's work cannot be shown in Australia unless he submits his illustrations for classification. The spokesman said his work would almost certainly be refused classification.

In one drawing, of the character Mr Natural, Crumb, now 67, depicts a sex act between an oversized baby and a man. Anti-child abuse campaigner Hetty Johnston said the Opera House event was endorsing the "depraved thought processes of this very warped human being".

"These cartoons are not funny or artistic - they are just crude and perverted images emanating from what is clearly a sick mind," she said. "Of all the brilliant artists, cartoonists and writers the Opera House and council could have supported, you have to wonder why they chose Robert Crumb."
I can't say well, this is Australia, as every country has numbskulls who can't tell the difference between satire and evil. However, when From Hell was temporarily banned from importation here, I got the customs guy on the phone and said (not identifying myself as co-author, but as publisher) "but this book has won awards in the USA, Paris and London", he replied "Well it could well pass in those other places, but this is Australia."


Sunday 7 August 2011

A big Spread-10

Here are some photos from the week Dave Sim appeared at Comics Etc. in Brisbane in 1994, and also, for my benefit, laid out in detail the logical advantages of self-publishing. It turned out to be the most sensible ting I ever did. And when I later obtained the rights to publish From Hell under my own banner I did it as a big 576 page volume in the same style as the Cerebus 'phonebooks', since Dave had already worked out all the angles with that.

The image was painted onto the shop window by a proper sign painter, from a design by Mr j, who was working in the shop at that time.