The strange life of Robert Crumb



Terry Zwigoff's documentary on the profanely controversial underground comic artist Robert Crumb is both amusing and disturbing. Crumb is not a person that one would call average or of normality. He is a man that has real distaste for the people around him and the perceived craziness that is his surroundings. He's Kinda right. He sees the plastic-ism that has made us into an industry and his comic art - groundbreaking stuff- has made him known for his uncompromising vision. He draws his own traumas and fantasies with relentless assault. He doesn't compromise nor is he afraid to shock. Women's rights groups have called a jihad on his ass and his haters are peeved off. For good reason. His views on women in his art can be qualified as sexist by some but I would call it honest. He draws what's on his mind, his honesty is his therapy especially when you realize where he's come from. His sisters refused to get interviewed for the documentary but his two brothers take the test. Especially Charles, who strips himself naked on camera as we slowly, inch by inch uncover deep, dark secrets about the Crumb's childhood. A manic depressive that rarely takes showers and is on high dosages of medication Charles is an incredibly disturbing sight to see, a kind of underground vision of an American life gone bad.

Robert is the lucky one and has gotten fame through the art that Charles taught him at childhood. Robert refuses to sell out, even with lucrative six figure offers coming to him. He's one of the few undisputed talents that hasn't sold himself out. His art speaks for itself. Stories so ridiculous yet so brilliantly satirical they sting. His women drawn sensually and dominantly, all with big thighs and other particularly original traits that need to be seen. He was bullied as a kid and drawing was his way of getting back. He took revenge on the bullies and the women that rejected him through his drawings. The autobiographical aspect of his work brings a new meaning to personal artistic statements. The film may have a repetitive flow to it at times but it springs surprises that sting. Crumb is the true definition of a maverick and definitely not what Sarah Palin's dictionary would define that word as.

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