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The Complete Crumb Comics, Vol. 1: The Early Years of Bitter Struggle

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Robert Crumb is one of America's most radical, incisive, and talented cartoonists. The Complete Crumb Comics: The Early Years of Bitter Struggle is the first of a multivolume series, and includes previously unpublished strips created from 1958 to 1962. Crumb's earliest works, some written when he was as young as 15, range from an encounter with Dracula ("I didn't try to es Robert Crumb is one of America's most radical, incisive, and talented cartoonists. The Complete Crumb Comics: The Early Years of Bitter Struggle is the first of a multivolume series, and includes previously unpublished strips created from 1958 to 1962. Crumb's earliest works, some written when he was as young as 15, range from an encounter with Dracula ("I didn't try to escape Dracula, my mind was consentrated [sic] on one thing . . . I was thirsty . . . very thirsty") to Nikita Khrushchev's 1958 visit to the U.S. ("Ever watchful guards stay with Khruschev during a refreshing hot bath."). Crumb aficionados and neophytes alike should rejoice in this classic collection of comic strips; sketchbooks; underground comics; dramatic and autobiographical strips; classic cartoon creations Fritz the Cat and Mr. Natural; and a pithy, biographical preface by Crumb's friend Marty Pahls.


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Robert Crumb is one of America's most radical, incisive, and talented cartoonists. The Complete Crumb Comics: The Early Years of Bitter Struggle is the first of a multivolume series, and includes previously unpublished strips created from 1958 to 1962. Crumb's earliest works, some written when he was as young as 15, range from an encounter with Dracula ("I didn't try to es Robert Crumb is one of America's most radical, incisive, and talented cartoonists. The Complete Crumb Comics: The Early Years of Bitter Struggle is the first of a multivolume series, and includes previously unpublished strips created from 1958 to 1962. Crumb's earliest works, some written when he was as young as 15, range from an encounter with Dracula ("I didn't try to escape Dracula, my mind was consentrated [sic] on one thing . . . I was thirsty . . . very thirsty") to Nikita Khrushchev's 1958 visit to the U.S. ("Ever watchful guards stay with Khruschev during a refreshing hot bath."). Crumb aficionados and neophytes alike should rejoice in this classic collection of comic strips; sketchbooks; underground comics; dramatic and autobiographical strips; classic cartoon creations Fritz the Cat and Mr. Natural; and a pithy, biographical preface by Crumb's friend Marty Pahls.

57 review for The Complete Crumb Comics, Vol. 1: The Early Years of Bitter Struggle

  1. 4 out of 5

    Samuel Edme

    Synopsis: The Complete Crumb Comics, Vol. 1: The Early Years of Bitter Struggle compiles previously unreleased cartoons from Robert Crumb's early adolescent years he worked and collaborated on with his siblings Charles and Maxon Crumb from 1958-1962 along with R. Crumb's high school journal entries. My Thoughts: While I wouldn't call myself an R. Crumb scholar, I have seen some of his short comics online and am definitely familiar with his contributions to Harvey Pekar's American Splendor series Synopsis: The Complete Crumb Comics, Vol. 1: The Early Years of Bitter Struggle compiles previously unreleased cartoons from Robert Crumb's early adolescent years he worked and collaborated on with his siblings Charles and Maxon Crumb from 1958-1962 along with R. Crumb's high school journal entries. My Thoughts: While I wouldn't call myself an R. Crumb scholar, I have seen some of his short comics online and am definitely familiar with his contributions to Harvey Pekar's American Splendor series and, I must say, this is quite a bit of a far cry from what Crumb became well-known for. It was pretty clear he was still trying to find his style which at first, derived heavy influences from Walt Kelly's funny animal strips both in terms of art and dialect though as the book continues, Crumb's trademark grotesque, over-the-top style begins to emerge. The drawings themselves were great but the presentation was a tad sloppy on some of the pages since many of them were drawn on his notebook. Plus, the text was too blurry in several places which made the dialogue hard to read on multiple occasions. That being said, the writing and socio-political satire was surprisingly impressive and gave me quite a few laughs at times. In my opinion, the strongest comics were the Fritz the Cat ones though the eponymous character's hedonistic, morally-deviant nature isn't as apparent yet. Crumb's journal entries were also fairly amusing to read through. Final Thoughts: Despite the somewhat low-quality aesthetic, The Complete Crumb Comics, Vol. 1 is worth a look for any Robert Crumb fan interested in seeing his humble beginnings.

  2. 4 out of 5

    Stewart Tame

    One of the many things I find amazing about Crumb is how good he was at such a young age. This volume is entirely composed of what is, essentially, fanzine material. Inspired by Mad, Robert and his brother, Charles, created their own comic, Foo, which was mainly sold or traded to fellow fans. Homemade imitations of Mad were something of a cottage industry in those days (late 50's, early 60's.) Robert & Charles had always done comics to amuse themselves, to the point where it became almost as nat One of the many things I find amazing about Crumb is how good he was at such a young age. This volume is entirely composed of what is, essentially, fanzine material. Inspired by Mad, Robert and his brother, Charles, created their own comic, Foo, which was mainly sold or traded to fellow fans. Homemade imitations of Mad were something of a cottage industry in those days (late 50's, early 60's.) Robert & Charles had always done comics to amuse themselves, to the point where it became almost as natural as breathing. They soon ceased Foo, but continued creating comics for friends and family. Charles eventually lost interest, but Robert stuck with it ... The strips in this book were all done when Crumb was 16 to about 19 years old. Even at a young age, his command of comic timing and character humor is impressive. Also, for those who have seen Terry Zwigoff's film, Crumb, notice how, towards the end of the book, you can see evidence of Charles' runaway wrinkle technique beginning to take over. Until this book was published, very few fans had seen any of this material before. Kudos to Fantagraphics for making it available. Highly, highly recommended!

  3. 4 out of 5

    David Schaafsma

    Worth it if you are a comics or Crumb scholar to see his very early stuff.

  4. 4 out of 5

    Mike

    Early, early Crumb. You can see the signs of greatness coming, but a little bland overall.

  5. 4 out of 5

    Oscar Suescun

    Crumb's goofy playfulness is his genius. He's so honest.

  6. 5 out of 5

    Zachary Crabtree

    I laughed out loud, guffawed and haw-hawd at Crumb's hilarious drawings of R. Crumb, and best of all, I really gotto thinking about something.

  7. 5 out of 5

    Eve Kay

    Turns out I'm not that interested in Crumb. Gotta give him credit though that he was pretty good already at an early age. The introduction was decent and I learned about his backround. That's all folks.

  8. 5 out of 5

    Andrew Moore

    Been intrested in robert crumb and his alt comics for a while but only just got round to reading. I got through half of this volume as its so BITTER. Really too bitter for me and was playing on my emotions. Had to stop.

  9. 4 out of 5

    Alex Firer

    This collection is a weird beautiful object of found magic as the narrative they breed-- Charles Crumb losing his mind, Maxon Crumb's pretnetiousness and Robert Crumb's calm and ridiculous development throughout it all-- are in full bloom. Plus, as the volume goes on, the work done by 17 year old Crumb is as good as anything else he made in the sixties. Or at least as wistful and interesting. Bravissimo.

  10. 5 out of 5

    j_ay

    As a stand-alone comic, it's a 2 star package, but as historical look back on how R Crumb came to be, it's pretty interesting.

  11. 4 out of 5

    Christian

  12. 5 out of 5

    Ty

  13. 5 out of 5

    Craven Lovelace

  14. 4 out of 5

    Kathy Ferrell

  15. 4 out of 5

    Ben

  16. 5 out of 5

    Lach.B

  17. 4 out of 5

    Gorilin

  18. 4 out of 5

    Berna Labourdette

  19. 4 out of 5

    Kerry Snow

  20. 5 out of 5

    m99

  21. 4 out of 5

    Brian Baynes

  22. 5 out of 5

    Kristian

  23. 4 out of 5

    Robbert

  24. 4 out of 5

    Tasos Droulias

  25. 4 out of 5

    Joshua

  26. 4 out of 5

    Manuel Crespo-Rodríguez

  27. 4 out of 5

    Taylor Harvey

  28. 4 out of 5

    Rhian

  29. 4 out of 5

    Edwin Smith

  30. 4 out of 5

    connor

  31. 4 out of 5

    Mandarine

  32. 5 out of 5

    Andy Peters

  33. 4 out of 5

    Leith

  34. 5 out of 5

    Shannon

  35. 5 out of 5

    Sean

  36. 5 out of 5

    Charlie 3000

  37. 5 out of 5

    Dane Martin

  38. 5 out of 5

    Blake

  39. 4 out of 5

    Rob Salkowitz

  40. 4 out of 5

    Seth

  41. 5 out of 5

    Gilbert

  42. 4 out of 5

    Dan

  43. 4 out of 5

    Joseph

  44. 5 out of 5

    Matt

  45. 4 out of 5

    Nick

  46. 4 out of 5

    Jay Daze

  47. 4 out of 5

    Noel N.

  48. 5 out of 5

    Faft

  49. 4 out of 5

    Felipe

  50. 5 out of 5

    Tiger

  51. 5 out of 5

    Jon Bergdoll

  52. 5 out of 5

    Jonathan

  53. 5 out of 5

    Dr. Detroit

  54. 5 out of 5

    Robert Coller

  55. 5 out of 5

    Ari

  56. 4 out of 5

    Dav8d777

  57. 4 out of 5

    Robert Boyd

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