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Robert Crumb is best known as the father of underground comics and a leading chronicler of the hippie scene, but he has progressed far beyond his sixties-based fame. His work now appears in the New Yorker and other upscale publications--a far cry from the cheaply printed, hand-stapled comic books he once hawked on the streets of San Francisco. New collections of interviews with Crumb limn a complex artist even more provocative than the eccentric outsider seen in the acclaimed documentary film Crumb.
Opting for depth rather than breadth, Fantagraphics, publisher of an ongoing Complete Crumb, issues a coffee-table collection of five substantive interviews from the pages of Comics Journal, the field's foremost critical resource. Conducted between 1984 and 1995, they reflect the mature Crumb, including discussion of his sexual promiscuity and masturbation habits. The highlight among the five, and likely to remain the definitive Crumb interview, is a lengthy, career-spanning 1988 discussion with Journal editor Gary Groth. Befitting their provenance, these conversations' primary concern is Crumb's work, though they don't stint on his iconoclastic views and personal quirks and, in fact, convincingly show how the work and the quirks inextricably intertwine. Including copious helpings of Crumb's drawings--a color section displays full-page illustrations--the volume showcases Crumb's art as well as his life.
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The Comics Journal won the 2002 Utne Independent Press Award in the category of Arts & Literature Coverage. The magazine is a 10-time Harvey Award-winner for "Best Biographical, Historical or Journalistic Publication" between 1989-2002, and a five-time Eisner Award-winner for "Best Comics-Related Periodical" between 1995-2002. Milo George is the managing editor of The Comics Journal.