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R.Crumb Coffee Table Art Book: Crumb's Whole Career, From Shack To Chateau! Hardcover – Sep 1997

4.2 out of 5 stars 15 customer reviews

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Harry Potter and the Cursed Child
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Product Details

  • Hardcover: 256 pages
  • Publisher: Little Brown and Company (September 1997)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0316163066
  • ISBN-13: 978-0316163064
  • Product Dimensions: 28.9 x 2.2 x 34 cm
  • Shipping Weight: 2.5 Kg
  • Average Customer Review: 4.2 out of 5 stars 15 customer reviews
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: #688,569 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)
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Product Description

From Amazon

Robert Crumb, world-famous illustrator and definite pervert, got his start in the underground comics scene of the late 1960s and early 1970s. The R. Crumb Coffee Table Art Book is a collection of his best work from the last 50 years (it's got kids stuff, too, which is pretty fascinating). The volume is a welcome reminder that, screwed up as Crumb may be, he's also a tremendously talented, utterly original artist. He artistically embodies a certain segment of the '60s, and as that fades even further into history, Crumb's material becomes more important. Is The R. Crumb Coffee Table Art Book funny? Yes, certainly, in a coarse, Rabelaisian way; you'll either find it a hoot, or horribly racist and sexist. And it's not for the kiddies, obviously. But R. Crumb is so well known by now, that you probably know which group you fall into, the lovers or the haters. The lovers will find this book a wonderful treat.

From Booklist

Since Crumb is still widely considered an "underground" comix artist and best known for his hippie-era work, this lavish mounting of his art may seem inappropriate or ironic. But few other figures in the comics field really merit such treatment, nor would their work profit as much from this volume's oversize pages and high-quality reproduction. The collection samples the full range of Crumb's diverse production, from juvenilia and psychedelia to lovingly rendered sketchbook pages and recent autobiographical, confessional stories. Almost as rewarding are Crumb's hand-lettered commentaries, scattered throughout, that reveal the idiosyncrasies and obsessions behind the comics, which viewers of the acclaimed documentary film Crumb (1994) will recognize. Although, unfortunately, it covers up Crumb's distinctive crosshatched line work, the addition of color to much of the originally black-and-white art may enhance its appeal for some, and although 40 bucks may seem steep for a "comic book," this is a thoroughly worthwhile purchase for libraries that don't want to commit to Fantagraphics' ongoing complete Crumb project. Gordon Flagg

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Customer Reviews

4.2 out of 5 stars
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Top Customer Reviews

Format: Hardcover
I first became a Robert Crumb fan in the sixties. I remember buying Zap#1 at the Free Press Book Store in Los Angeles. It was to art as Jimi Hendrix's "Are You Experienced?" was to music at the time. Both pretty much blew my mind as a young impressionable teenager. (Sold to "Adults Only"? hah!)
Its Nothing Sacred attitude and straight-up uncensored dialogue and art got me. The artist himself remained sort of a mystery man. How could someone be so brilliant in one series,
and then disappoint me so much in another? He seemed so afraid of "selling out" he occasionally just went for shock value or put out some junk calculated to alienate. (News Flash: Crumb disdains most of his fans...yeah- you too, fan-boy.)
This book is an autobiography told in art and text that reveals a lot about Crumb's character and influences. Do not buy this book if you are not into biographies, you won't like it. However, if you are a Crumb fan, it gives an entertaining insight into his struggles and regrets as an artist trying to maintain his own code of artistic integrity. I see his influences every day in commercial and popular art and get enjoyment from knowing who the "real deal" is that they've been influenced by or are out and out ripping off. Buy this book.
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Format: Hardcover
This is a GREAT collection that spans most of R. Crumb's LIFE, not just his famous career.
This is probably the single best collection and overview of what R. Crumb is all about, available in one single book! It includes many, many strips in full color for the first time. This book is beautiful, so beautiful that even non-Crumb fans would have to agree that this is a classy book, worthy of at least a curious browse. Crumb fans will find hours and hours and hours of comics to read.
You get his childhood comics experiments, his pre-fame work as a starving commercial artist, a huge sampling of the 60's stuff that made him famous, and the post-60's autobiographic stuff. Tons of Crumb, indeed! Each chapter starts out with a handwritten commentary about the era, written by R. himself, which is pricelessly insightful, straight from the artist, no second party speculations.
This book might even bring in a few new fans. I personally think that this is a great way to sample all of the various styles and types of R.'s work, then you can zero in on your favorite era's when you buy more Crumb books for your library. This book will make you feel like looking for more Crumb.
If you buy this book you will NOT be disappointed. Get the hardcover on this one, it's THAT good!
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Format: Paperback
There's an illustration on the back cover of The R. Crumb Coffee Table Art Book that perfectly encapsulates the artist's work - it depicts the top of Robert's head exploding, with several of his creations, famous, infamous, and otherwise, leaping out.
That, to me, sums up Crumb's work - this incredibly inventive artist with, to paraphrase Bob Dylan, a head full of ideas that are drivin' him insane.
There are frequent complaints about Crumb's work being too dark, racist, sexist, and/or misogynistic. While I can see where these criticisms come from, I really don't think Crumb is any darker, more racist, sexist, or misogynistic than any of us - he simply is unafraid to - COMPELLED to, almost - lay his cards on the table. Some people find this offensive. Would it be absurd of me to suggest that some of those who are offended by his work have their own issues with sexism, racism, and/or misogyny that they are unwilling to confront?
What I'm trying to get at here, I guess, is that this IS NOT a book for little kids. There's a sticker on the front of my copy of the book that says "FOR ADULT INTELLECTUALS ONLY!", and while I'm not so sure about the "intellectuals" part, this is probably not a book you want your grade-school age child to get ahold of, unless you're okay with said child seeing depictions of graphic (and I do mean GRAPHIC) sex, hard-core drug use, and extreme (albiet cartoonish) violence.
I realize all I've spent all this space talking about Crumb without ever really discussing what I like about his work. I think there's two main things: (1) his unflinching honesty (as I touched upon earlier), and (2) the incredible beauty of his draftsmanship. I think my favotite chapter in the whole book is the one that features his pen-and-ink still-lifes and landscapes.
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Format: Paperback
There's a line that R. Crumb uses twice, in two separate comics, that epitomizes the major themes of his art: "Nobody understands [me]... and of course, how could they??" Periodically his work will stumble into a pit of naval gazing and self-indulgence when it comes to the subjects for his comics. But ultimately, everything he does boils down to this one line. The level of self-awareness he manages to achieve with this line, and throughout the remainder of his work, is both staggering and fascinating, enough to justify the grandiosity of this book.
I tried to read this as an autobiography, from cover to cover, taking time to carefully understand how the context of Crumb's life affected his work. Not an effective strategy. If the book wasn't so cumbersome to hold, it might have worked. But since that first reading, I've gotten much more enjoyment just laying the book open flat on a large surface, and staring at the audacious art contained herein.
The large-scale (13"x11") format has various levels of effectiveness when presenting Crumb's work. The sketchbook pages, when blown up to this size, lose their intimacy. You can see the fudges and mistakes that Crumb's made. These imperfections are beautiful in the smaller format, but become grotesque and distracting at this size. On the other hand, too often his comic book covers should have been enlarged but weren't. The details in the margins, brought out gloriously when they are blown up, can't be seen when the covers are presented as thumbnails.
Each chapter begins with a page-long, hand-written introduction by the man himself. Robert is self-effacing to a fault; you can tell that he's embarrassed by the treatment his works have been given here.
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