Tuesday, January 22, 2013

44. R. Crumb Sketchbook Volume 1 (Fantagraphics)

1964 - mid 1965

The first in the series, this volume consists of what we could call Crumb Phase 2. That is, this is his mid-sixties style (VERY recognizable as a mid-sixties style). It is characterized by vertical lines used for shading. (Crumb Phase 1 would be his earliest style, the stuff of The Complete Crumb Comics Vol. 1)

To the casual observer, the contents are not instantly recognizable as Crumb's work. The devoted fan will of course know better.

Lots of pictures of Crumb's first wife Dana, and of the Crumbs' extended honeymoon travels through Europe. Although there are hints of the craziness that is to come, the sexual weirdness is at a minimum here. Lots of cityscapes, some women, studies of people, furniture, product packages. And perhaps the most sympathetic portrait of himself that Crumb ever drew (with Dana and a piece of cake, probably from a wedding photo).

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