Sunday, January 21, 2007

They live in Crumbland

Thanks Baz le Tuff for sending me this from the NY Times -- an interesting article about Robert Crumb, despite the kinda creepy title, and it has a slideshow with audio by Aline:

Mr and Mrs Natural

"SHORTLY after Robert and Aline Crumb moved from the United States to a small village in this valley in the South of France, they were asked to participate in a summer medieval festival. For the event local politicians don robes like those once worn by feudal lords, and most of the citizens wear peasant rags ...

"'We live in Crumbland,' Ms. Crumb said.

"They moved to France 16 years ago, sickened, they said, by the infiltration of their once sleepy California town, Winters, by newcomers who bulldozed hilltops for McMansions. The Crumbs also wanted to shield their daughter, Sophie, from a growing conservative and fundamentalist Christian influence while continuing to educate her in what they consider the classics. They reared her on 'Little Lulu' comics from the 1940s and '50s and Three Stooges videos.

"It was Mr. Crumb's absorption of such popular culture that led to his signature style. He applied a lowbrow, all but forgotten crosshatched technique to a kaleidoscope of sexual fantasies, controversial racial topics and images of the hippy counterculture. In so doing, he laid the groundwork for adult-theme graphic novels, influencing everyone from Daniel Clowes, the creator of 'Ghost World,' to Art Spiegelman, the author of 'Maus.'

"'He's a monolithic presence, who rewrote the rules of what comics are,' Mr. Spiegelman said ...

"Another village newcomer is Christian Coudurès, a printmaker, who moved from Paris. When he was depressed after breaking up with a girlfriend, Ms. Crumb decided he was a project she wanted to take on.

"'When I first met him, he was in bad shape, drinking a lot,' she said. 'I decided I needed to save this worthy person.' Mr. Coudurès eventually became what Ms. Crumb calls her 'second husband.'

"The Crumbs have long had an open marriage, that brave (and largely discarded) institution of the 1960s. Mr. Crumb travels to Oregon once a year to rekindle a relationship with an old girlfriend.

"Speaking of Mr. Coudurès, Mr. Crumb said, 'Between the two of us, we kind of make an ideal husband, because he can do all the masculine things I can't do' ..."

See also Comix, comics and cartoons in the Book of Days

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