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Robert Crumb and the Australian interview that didn’t happen

If you’ll remember Robert Crumb was supposed to be the headlining appearance at the Graphic arts festival in Sydney Australia in August, but cancelled his trip after The Sunday Telegraph described him as a “self-confessed sex pervert” and a “very warped human being.” Part of his appearance was a sit down interview on stage with Gary Groth. Gary decided to still do that interview and the result is posted in The Comics Journal.

Since I couldn’t ask him these questions on a stage in Sydney, I asked Robert if he’d answer these questions in a post-Sydney interview, to which he graciously consented. I recently witnessed an exchange on an academic forum discussing Crumb’s alleged racism or misogyny (I can’t recall which) where someone, referring to crumb’s own responses to the allegations, said that Crumb wasn’t a very thoughtful cartoonist. I couldn’t disagree more. Not only is he thoughtful about his own craft and art, but has a wide-ranging curiosity, verging on the inquisitorial, about the wider world and the Important Questions. Not that he always has the answers, mind you; but few cartoonists of my acquaintance think more and more deeply about the questions than Crumb does. This interview skims the surface.

Community Comments

#1 Phil Judd
November/1/2011
@ 4:02 pm

I must say it’s interesting reading all the informationa round this event. I remember erading the actual article on the day and thought it seemed over tht top. I mean compared to all the other perverse rubbish out there on the web, on television and in print it makes Crumbs stuff pale. I have rerad his stuff since the arly eighties and some of it I just steered clear of due to content, other stuff I admired both in creativeness and artwork. To me Crumb is one of those guys who lives on the edge of the boundaries and I imagine that is why he was invited. He is of interst in that he , by nature, has pushed the social limits (like most underground comics of the era). It’s a shame when the press run stuff that is illogical and uneducated on their subjects and have this sort of impact. Who or what causes an abuser to touch children. Most of us cringe at the thought and certainly would never wish any tolerance of such activity. I cannot in my mind say his cartoons would promote such behaviour. If they do they are not alone with the absolute vile rubbish filling our papers, theatres and televisions! Where is all the complaints about those things? A bit of intelligent balance would be nice. I can see from what he says that he is sincere. Most of his uglier work was done so long ago I am sure he wonders what he was doing in some of it.

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