Printing Progress on the New Mr. Natural #1 serigraph edition

Posted by Alexander Wood on 5/21/2020 to Prints History
Robert and I decided to select the cover of the Mr. Natural #1 comic book for our next serigraph edition. The comic was originally released in 1970, so we figured it would be appropriate to release the edition on the 50th Anniversary of Mr. Natural’s first comic book being published. Robert initially color separated the comic book cover with zip-a-tone screens for each color (Magenta-Cyan-Yellow and Black process printing). He made a few small mistakes, but he did a great job considering the size and constraints he was dealing with at that time. However, he did want to make some color changes to the new edition as he was never completely happy with the results of the original printing.

1. Robert created a color guide and sent it to me by mail from France. It’s a good example how clearly he sees the image in his mind, and how he knows exactly what he wants.


2. Before I start printing an edition, I need to create about ten masters with registration marks on them so I can properly register each color. I then use these masters to register each color before I start printing the “good” sheets of paper, otherwise known as the edition! Here’s a photo of a master sheet with the first color (brown shoes) printed afterwards.

3.Below is a photo of what the first color (brown shoes) looks like on a “good” sheet, one of the 90 prints in the edition.

4. Below is a photo of a master with three colors registered to and printed on it.

5. Below is what the edition looks like with 3 colors printed so far (brown shoes, blue border and orange stars).

6. Below is a photograph of the edition with a total of 8 colors printed.

7. Below is a photo of the edition with the background printed. Getting closer to finishing!

8. With Flakey’s blue suit and the dark red masthead color finally printed (below), we finally have all the colors down and we’re ready for the black key line! Showtime! This is the nerve-racking part–I hope & pray that everything lines up perfectly when I print the final color.

So before I printed the final color (black), I increased the humidity by 3% and it turned out to be the exact, correct amount. Because the paper is 100% rag, it swells if the humidity is too high, and shrinks if it's too dry. The more colors you print on a sheet of paper, the more it shrinks because as the water base inks dry, the cotton, once wet with it, shrinks slightly when it dries. So I have to slowly increase the humidity to offset the slight shrinking of the paper. So below is a photo a final print with the black down. Everything lined up. I'm relieved. It looks fantastic. The butt to butt registration lined up flawlessly. I shipped the edition to France where Crumb will sign it and then return it. If everything works out like it should, it should be back here in the first couple weeks of June. If anyone is interested in being notified when the edition will be released and for sale, you may sign up on the Newsletter on the front page of the site (left-hand side within the black bar). Cheers!



Doug Clements
Date: 5/26/2020
Hi, thank you for providing the printing process of Mr Natural #1. It’s so unbelievable to be able to “read” and “watch” as you create another masterpiece!!! Amazing
Date: 5/18/2021 7:34:13 AM
Need 4x t shirts maybe 3x but doubtfully. Thanks
Philip Wolf
Date: 6/27/2020 11:59:02 AM
The work found on the cover of that first Mr. Natural comix is stored in my brain and to have Robert explain a wee bit about it is really special. The color and energy of this art still jumps off the paper fifty years on. I bought the History of America way back in early 1990's from Kitchen Sink and I made sure it was properly framed and matted and it's proudly displayed in my office. Please tell Robert that his art still rings the bell of freedom for many of us at large around the planet.
Date: 6/3/2020
Bonjour j’ai acheté des cartes sur votre site et je n’ai toujours rien reçu. Je vais porter plainte.
Date: 6/3/2020 9:20:31 PM
Si vous avez acheté des cartes mais n'avez pas reçu votre commande, il est probablement préférable de m'envoyer un e-mail directement ([email protected]) et de me dire le jour où vous avez passé cette commande. Je rechercherai la commande et vous donnerai le numéro de douane / suivi et nous nous occuperons du suivi du colis. Mais à moins que vous ne me contactiez, je ne peux pas vous aider. Alors s'il vous plaît, envoyez-moi un e-mail avec la date à laquelle vous avez passé la commande, et je vous aiderai à savoir ce qui en est arrivé. Je sais que le système postal français est extrêmement lent (en fait fermé pendant quelques semaines) à cause de la pandémie. Alex
Date: 6/5/2020
Looks like yet another beauty on the way. Fantastic. Thanks, too, for the insight into the process, Alex!
Joe Archibald
Date: 6/6/2020
Alex- I really appreciate you sharing a closer, detailed outline to the entire process of this new print in its richness, all educating, impressive and amazing. Thanks to you and Robert for the fine reproductions, as always, and this in tune for the 50 year “kick-off”!! Bravos all around.
Date: 6/22/2020
Congratulations on the 50 year anniversary! Wonderful to see the inner workings in creating this amazing treasure. Thank you.
Date: 6/22/2020
rick smiff
Date: 7/26/2020
Boy,am I glad to finally find my man Crumb! Are you still with Diane(Kominsky) Oh how much I loved your comix,both of you...can't afford them now but they will always be part of the visual track of memories,brought me so much humor and insight,not to mention education..I still recall Dianes dads trepidation about going to the hosp.which he never came home from,carried that like it was a best friend loss...I have so much to say about those comix,"keep on truckin baby
ken sheller
Date: 8/7/2020
I have the Fabulous 30x24 Zap 1 screen print (edition 250 , framed under glass) which I bought in 1995. It has Mr. Natural in his Red Car. This work has brightened my day for all those years. I have been a follower of Robert Crumb from the seventies. He has no equal. Thank you.
Paul Bouchard
Date: 9/4/2020
Can somebody on the blog forward this 1948 Israeli anti-tank mine manual to Mr. Crumb? The cover illustration looks like it could have been lifted directly from one of his comics. It's uncanny.
Eugene Mann
Date: 10/21/2020
Today I saw a truck with a flag on it. The was the keep on truckin logo. Only it said Keep on Trumpin. It was horrible...
George Gahagan
Date: 11/16/2020
At least to me all of Robert Crumbs drawings are true art, full of satire and at times prophetic. Each character has it's own unique personality and literally jump off the page and do thier thing. Would give anything to have some of the old issues like Nixon staring into his coffee, having a "bum jouney" or J. Edgar Hoover's "houseparty". Thankfully they still live in my minds eye to this day. Mr. R. Crumb hope you're around until your beard is as long and grey as Mr. Natural's. Take good care man, you made a big difference for a lot of us while we were being thourally entertained. Thank You
John Deters
Date: 7/17/2021
Charlie Faege
Date: 7/26/2021
Only four days ago I ordered a few Zap comix I didn't have and they arrived today! I just found this website last week and I want to buy everything! Alexander Wood did such a great job acknowledging my order, notifying me and getting my order here extremely fast. I just wanted to say thank you so very much and I'll be back to buy as much as "everything" I can afford.

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