2019: NOTE — Due to some recording issues, this isn’t the easiest audio to hear. We’ve fixed the problem going forward, but my apologies to Jon and to you! – Bob Andelman, Mr. Media.
I was a little young for underground comix at the height of their anti-establishment run at the end of the 1960s and early ‘70s, but still managed to discover them in my teens at places like Weird Harold’s Head Shop in Milltown, New Jersey, upstairs and around back from the Krauser’s Dairy Store. Most of the social humor and politics of the era went over my head at the time, but I always loved the art and gathered a small stack of those comix over time, spread among my piles of Marvels and DCs. The art of Robert Crumb – a.k.a., R. Crumb, a.k.a., Bob Crumb, a.k.a., just plain Crumb – always stood out. His style was unique unto itself, much as another of my favorites of the 1980s, Drew Friedman’s, was. They drew comics, but their heroes didn’t look like Kirby, Ditko, Romita or even Steranko.
And Crumb, who often drew himself into his work, was so weird! It all comes together in my friend Jon. B. Cooke’s new oral history of Crumb’s long-running magazine, Weirdo. In The Book of Weirdo: A Retrospective of R. Crumb's Legendary Humor Comics Anthology, Cooke interviews dozens upon dozens of creators who worked with Crumb, the man who created the magazine in 1981, and who was followed in time by artist Peter Bagge and Crumb’s artist wife, Aline Kominski, and recreates what it was like to work with Crumb and what the experience meant to them. It is a massive work by Cooke that even Crumb himself questions the logic of, although he admits he learned quite a bit about himself and his magazine by reading it. As for Cooke, who is a graphic designer by day and editor of Comic Book Creator magazine by night, he also worked with his brother Andrew on the documentary Will Eisner: Portrait of a Sequential Artist. This is Jon’s third appearance on Mr. Media.
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