Category Archives: Robert Crumb

THE ALTERNATIVE UNDERGROUND art show at Scott Eder Gallery, Feb 1 thru Mar 9, 2019

THE ALTERNATIVE UNDERGROUND

If you live in or plan to be around the New York metro area, then consider visiting the Scott Eder Gallery for an in depth look at a variety of notable underground cartoonists from the sixties. This includes a number of names that are common to the comics community along with a number that will be newly discovered gems for gallery visitors. The show is entitled, THE ALTERNATIVE UNDERGROUND: Foot Soldiers in the Revolution that Forever Changed Comics and runs from Feb 1 thru March 9, 2019. The opening reception is Friday, Feb. 1, 2019, 5-9 PM. Scott Eder Gallery is located at 888 Newark Avenue, #525, Jersey City, New Jersey in the Mana Contemporary Arts Complex. From New York City, you can easily reach it from the PATH train.

Mickey Rat Comix by Robert Armstrong

 

What If? by Joel Beck

 

Casserine

 

Women at Work!!! by Daniel Clyne

 

Pro Junior by Dave Dozier

 

Smile by Jim Mitchell

 

Rev. Jeremiah Moses by Grass Green

 

Jesus Learns a Thing or Two by Frank Stack

 

Trina Robbins self-portrait

More details from Scott Eder Gallery:

When the Underground Comix movement is discussed, R. Crumb, Art Spiegelman, and Gilbert Shelton come quickly to mind. But the revolutionary break from mainstream comic books in the late ‘60s, leading to graphic novels and today’s vital independent scene, was comprised of numerous other artists. Many seldom get their due. Scott Eder Gallery is proud to present some of the largely unsung pioneers like Joel Beck and Frank Stack, both of whose comix significantly predated ZAP. Other featured artists are Bob Armstrong (Mickey Rat), Sharon Rudahl, (Wimmens Comix), Dan Clyne (Hungry Chuck Biscuits), Wendel Pugh (Googiewaumer), Mike Roberts (Bizarre Sex), and other foot soldiers active in the broad and groundbreaking underground comix scene. Discover or rediscover the idiosyncratic styles of more than twenty outspoken and bold cartoonists whose work remains surprising fresh a half century after the psychedelic fervor and anti-war chants swirling around their era have faded away.
Interview with gallery owner Scott Eder:

If you’re interested in comics or would like to take the opportunity to see firsthand some of the exciting trailblazing art that has influenced today’s boom in indie comics, then be sure to visit Scott Eder Gallery.

 

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Filed under Alternative Comics, Comics, Comix, Denis Kitchen, Phil Yeh, Robert Crumb, Scott Eder, Scott Eder Gallery, The Sixties, Underground Comics

Review: SCORCHED EARTH collection by Tom Van Deusen

SCORCHED EARTH collection by Tom Van Deusen

SCORCHED EARTH collection by Tom Van Deusen

A wretched staleness in the air. Lost souls strewn about. And it’s all played up for laughs! Welcome to the wonderful world of cartoonist Tom Van Deusen. I really admire Tom’s style, in person and in his comics. Tom is a very likable and professional gent. So, it’s a unique treat to then read his comics featuring Tom’s vile and hateful alter ego. I reviewed a couple of issues of his Scorched Earth comics. You can read that here. This new collection, published by Kilgore Books, that came out this year simply goes by the same running title and contains a fine mix of old and new material. You will want to seek this out.

Tom Van Deusen’s aim is to satirize the oily underbelly of hipsterdom with a neo-underground sensibility. His characters traffic in a Robert Crumb-like netherworld where hedonism and arrogance commingle. Like Crumb, Van Deusen is both fascinated and repulsed by the hipster zeitgeist. Van Deusen’s alter ego, Tom, struggles to connect with a woman who is willing to sleep with anyone…except him. She’ll even sleep with his doppelgänger but not the original. Tom can’t even get a handle on the e-cigarette craze that all the “cool kids” have latched onto. For Tom, vaping does not involve a slim little gadget delivering dramatic puffs of vapor. No, for Tom, it involves a monstrous contraption that looks like an iron lung.

Hanging out at Glo's Diner

Hanging out at Glo’s Diner

One of the best bits in the book takes place at Glo’s Diner, located in what is the Capitol Hill district of Seattle, a densely populated area and a counterculture mecca. I curated art shows at Glo’s Diner for five years and presented work from local cartoonists including David Lasky, Ellen Forney, Jennifer Daydreamer, Farel Dalrymple, and myself. It is a small space. The food is okay. But there is something about that peculiar little oily spoon that reads authentic. It’s great to see a cartoonist of Van Deusen’s caliber pick up on that. He takes his time to capture the place’s true dimensions and spirit.

Full page excerpt from SCORCHED EARTH

Full page excerpt from SCORCHED EARTH

The not so sweet young things remain out of reach for sad sack Tom. He remains on the fringes of the fashionable fringe element. The beauty of it all is that Van Deusen dares to keep vigil, take notes, and then pile it all into a blender and create some very funny comics.

Visit Tom here, find his comics at Poochie Press right here and find this recent collection of SCORCHED EARTH at Kilgore Books & Comics right here.

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Filed under Alternative Comics, Comics, Comix, Hipsters, Kilgore Books, mini-comics, Minicomics, Robert Crumb, Seattle, Tom Van Deusen, Underground Comics, Zines

BIGFOOT ON TV AND IN ART: Animal Planet’s “Finding Bigfoot” and new R. Crumb artwork

For such an elusive creature, Bigfoot gets around. One of my favorite moments in the new season of Animal Planet’s “Finding Bigfoot” is when one of the members of the Scooby gang-like research team says, in utter exasperation, “It drives me nuts how elusive Bigfoot is!” Yeah buddy, Bigfoot is elusive! That’s what adds to the mystique. If Bigfoot were easy to spot, like say a deer, that would take away from all the fun and folklore.

We’ve come a long way since that grainy footage from the ‘60s of a guy in a big hairy costume. There’s so much sasquatch research now that the whole thing has taken on an air of legitimacy and joins the ranks of a new generation of sophisticated speculation. Right along with SyFy’s “Ghost Hunters,” and other quirky paranormal TV shows, “Finding Bigfoot” follows certain protocols as it conducts its investigations and maintains a detached and scientific approach. The tricky part is balancing a serious approach while, at the same time, providing at least a little wink and a nod that we’ve entered a sort of “Twilight Zone” of scientific research. The transitions to commercials show an obviously rubbery Bigfoot doll in close-up. You need that for a show like this.

This season’s opener focuses on another grainy bit of footage. This time it’s something that was caught on video in the ‘90s by mistake: what could be the only video ever caught of a very young sasquatch. The bigfoot research team goes about setting up their inquiry which first involves numerous viewings of the video, a sort of ghostly shape of what might be a primate swinging from a tree in the background of a video that was only meant to be of people at a party. There’s an eerie sound affect each time the video catches the best glimpse of the sasquatch-like figure. It’s fun and what you’d expect. There’s also a couple of times when the team, out in the field, hear sharp knocks on wood which are also good creepy fun.

There are moments when the team say stuff like, “Did you see that?!” or “Did you hear that?!” And what show like this wouldn’t have its fair share of these? It wouldn’t be “Finding Bigfoot” without them. What’s good about this show is that the team does do what seems like everything you can possibly do to investigate a sasquatch sighting. The ‘90s video was shot in rural New York state and that’s where the team spends it time, even going right back to the very same tree it is believed the bigfoot suspect swung from. All this is pure entertainment and maybe, if we’re lucky, one step closer to finding Bigfoot.

But maybe the Bigfoot Research Team should set its sights on this beauty, an etching by the legendary cartoonist, R. Crumb. How’s that for a segue? Bigfoot may be elusive but not when it comes to this piece of art! This etching is from the last panel of a story Crumb did for an underground comic. The publisher liked it so much that he encouraged Crumb to turn it into a stand-alone work of art. Crumb wasn’t satisfied with the final panel to make that leap so he redrew it from scratch. It’s a lovely piece and available here. I think you’d do well to invest in this one.

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Filed under Animal Planet, Bigfoot, Comics, Robert Crumb, Television

Harvey Pekar, 1939 – 2010

Here is the cover to one of the last collections of American Splendor with art by Dean Haspiel, one of the last great cartoonists to illustrate Pekar’s unique poetic observations of everyday life.

You can pick up American Splendor: Another Day at Vertigo Comics.

My first look at American Splendor was the first collection, American Splendor: The Life and Times of Harvey Pekar, 1986. That was a breakthrough in comics as it easily became a staple in mainstream bookstores. By 1986, Harvey was already pretty well known through his appearances on “Latenight with David Letterman.”

That book is still around and fairly easy to find. You could pick up a copy through Amazon.

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Filed under American Splendor, Dean Haspiel, Harvey Pekar, Robert Crumb