Reilly Interviews Crumb

Posted by on 5/16/2021 to ABOUT CRUMB

Reilly:

Hi! This is Reilly.


Robert:

Yeah. I knew you were going to call.


Reilly:

Alex told me to call at four PM our time.


Robert:

Okay. Do you have any questions lined up?


Reilly:

Yeah, I've got a couple. My first question is, do you find it interesting that a 22 year old girl is intrigued and interested in your work? I think that kind of goes against the norm. I don't think a lot of 21 year old girls are very drawn to your work.


Robert:

Yeah, right.  I don't think so either. And I know from talking to older people who teach at colleges and universities in the United States that a lot of students in that age range — 19, 20, 21, 22 — in art classes that are now teaching comics in various schools, if the teacher shows my work as an example, some students strongly object, and actually complain to the administration that they're being “triggered” or something by this “offensive” work of mine. The teacher might not show them a particularly offensive work, but then they go and they look me up online, and they see all that crazy stuff I was doing in the Seventies, Eighties, and all that, and there are some of them who are just highly outraged by the content. So, yeah, it's rather unusual that someone your age — a girl, particularly — would have a positive reaction to my work. That’s puzzling to me. I don't get what's going on.


Reilly:

[Laughs] I think I may just have a more open mind than most people.


Robert:

Yeah. Maybe, maybe so!


Reilly:

It’s weird that you say that, because my roommate is an art major and she actually did a semester-long project on your work because she really loves it so much.


Robert:

Really? Wow. She loves it? 


Reilly:

Yeah, she does.


Robert:

And someone like that, how does she feel about all of the crazy sex fantasy stuff I did back in those days? What's her reaction to that?


Reilly:

She and I actually sat down and read your comics together over the summer. And, you know, neither of us were, like, appalled or anything–not outraged. I know that she has a deep appreciation for expressing things in art that way rather than acting out in….


Robert:

Like, in the real world, yeah.


Reilly:

Yeah! That was our main conversation topic. Outside of that we're able to look at art expressions in an open way. None of it was too bothersome.


Robert:

How do you and she feel about these other types of people who are outraged by my work, and say that I'm “a sexist, or racist, a sexual predator”? How do you deal with those people? What do you say to them? Or do you ever talk to them about that? Those people who are so outraged and wanna, you know, “cancel” people and all that stuff. What's your attitude about that?


Reilly:

I guess it depends on the situation. I'd say regarding your work, we haven't had too many conversations about it outside of our own. But, just in general, I think we try to put a different perspective on it. So, the time frame, for example, the period when it happened–that's a big thing. It was a whole different time, you know, the Sixties and Seventies. And then there's also the aspect of the point of your artwork - which, at least as far as I know, much of it was specifically to rub people the wrong way?


Robert:

[laughs] Well, there was that when I was young. Yeah. Okay, I got sucked a little bit into the thing of shocking people. That’s a thing that happened, for example, in the Punk movement. You know, where young people like the idea of shocking their parents or shocking people with rigid or middle class attitudes about everything, just to shake them up. I got sucked into that, which might’ve been stupid in a way... It was fun to do, but a stupid thing. But above and beyond that, there was always a part of me that I was revealing, that was really a part of who I am, or was. I had a lot of anger towards women. I did. Anybody who doesn't admit that they have anger towards the opposite sex is lying. Everybody has some anger towards the opposite sex. I had a lot of anger towards women, and there was part of my psyche that was tied up in that, and I let it out in my art work, for better or worse, I don't know. In the final analysis, I can't judge whether what I did is of any benefit for or useful purpose for other people or not. I just don't know.


Reilly:

There is a way to look at it in a sense that you're doing it in artwork rather than, in the real world, right? But at least there's that, and whether or not it helps other people, I guess, we'll never really know. 


Robert:

I was sort of crazy when I look back on my youth —I’m 77 now. When I look back on my teens and twenties, I was a pretty crazy young man. I behaved compulsively. You know, I meditate now fairly regularly. And sometimes memories come up about things I did when I was young. God, what a jerk I was! Oh, boy. I was awful. It would be what is now called “inappropriate” behavior towards women–hundreds of times.


Reilly:

That's interesting because people have even come out and apologized to me within the last year for things they did or said me 10 years ago that I don't remember at all, but they... they're going through therapy, and they're just like, “Oh, my God, I behaved so bizarrely.”


Robert:

Huh, that's interesting.


Reilly:

I wanted to ask you how you're handling the pandemic. I'm not sure how it is in France or in the area you're in right now.


Robert:

They have a lot of restrictions and you have to wear a mask when you go to a store or anything. They don't require you to wear a mask outside. A lot of people do, but I don't.  I hate wearing that stupid mask, but I put it on when going into a store and all that. But then, you know, they had lockdown here and now they have a fucking seven o'clock evening curfew here. I have sneaked out several times, you know, to go visit people in the village and stuff. But other than that, I haven't been, you know, traveling or anything. It's been a very quiet year, which I kind of like. I sort of like this aspect of it, that things have really quieted down. There's not as much running around and people aren't showing up here as much as they did before. It’s kind of nice that way. When the first lockdown happened last spring, like a year ago in March here, things were so quiet. The spring came, you could hear the birds singing and nature just bloomed really strongly because human life was subdued. There weren't a lot of cars on the road. The air was cleaner and wow, it was really eye opening. Peace and quiet. Aline and I both were sort of, you know, liking the piece and quiet.


Reilly:

I agree.


Robert:

And the other thing is that I constantly do a lot of my own research and investigation. I read a lot about the medical, socio-political aspects of the whole thing, you know, the pandemic. I read a lot of critiques. I've been reading critiques of the medical industrial complex for twenty-five years. So when this thing started, it seemed to me just a continuation of things that were going on before, but kind of upping the ante, upping the scale of the whole thing, to the whole world. They managed to shut down the entire world over this thing! I'm not sure what's really behind it. I don't know. I don't know if there actually is a really badass virus on the loose out there or not. I don't know. There're all kinds of stories and conflicting narratives about what's really behind it. So I don't know, it's very confusing. I’m always asking myself, what the hell is really going on??


Reilly:

So you haven't had Covid-19 at all?


Robert:

No I haven't.


Reilly:

I had it two different times.


Robert:

Oh you’ve had it?


Reilly:

Yeah, two different times. Which is apparently pretty uncommon.


Robert:

Wow, two different times. How bad was it?


Reilly:

So, the first time was really bad. and actually, all my siblings, my dad, and all of my friends have had it and all had varying symptoms. So when I had it the first time I was on bedrest.  I was sleeping, like, 18 hours a day for 17 days. I didn't get out of bed to go to the shower for 10 of those. Oh, that was bad. It was really rough for me the first time. But the second time, I just had a light cold.


Robert:

Well, let me ask you this. Have you ever had the flu before this?


Reilly:

Yeah, I get it every year.


Robert:

Every year. Did you ever have it this bad before?


Reilly:

Not the flu, but I've had very bad pneumonia, several times. My immune system is not great for some reason. But, I've had bouts of pneumonia and a couple other things. But, I'd say it was like a mix of all of those, and like I said the first time completely bedrid me. The second time, it was virtually nothing in terms of symptoms. So it's really confusing.


Robert:

So you get it every year you said.


Reilly:

And I get the vaccine every year, but…


Robert:

Well, so much for the vaccine!


Reilly:

[Laughs] Doesn't work very well for me.


Robert:

Yeah. So, I wonder, you know, one of the questions is — and it's very hard to find information on it — this flu, and the commonality of it, and the seriousness of it, compared with previous years, previous flu seasons. It's just very hard to find that information. I mean, I'm sure it must be available at the CDC, or one of those agencies must have statistics and evaluations of annual flu seasons and how bad it was  and how many people died, and make comparisons with previous years with this Covid-19 thing. I haven’t seen that.


Reilly:

I do remember reading that the flu season this year was apparently significantly better, not as bad as previous years. And that was likely due to all the covid restrictions. But outside of, just this year versus all the years, I have no clue where to find out. Especially comparing Covid-19.


Robert:

Umm. Yeah. I don't know why they don't make those comparisons. If this is something exceptional, exceptional enough to lock everything down for for a whole fucking year, you’d think that they would want you to have a clear understanding of why they're doing it.


Reilly:

Yeah. That's my big thing with it, there's so much confusion around. Different people have different information.


Robert:

Which makes people paranoid. And we start seeing all kinds of scenarios then that emerge, you know, from the internet and everything -  from the most whacked-out theories to stuff that makes more credible sense. In some quarters, any questioning of orthodox sources like the CDC or Anthony Fauci, any questioning of those sources is considered crazy conspiracy theories, Q-anon. You know, you're associated immediately with Q-anon by asking a few questions. I've encountered this a lot. So I have to try to clarify this pandemic with people. Just because you question this thing doesn't mean you're Q-anon. But they will associate you with that, and even the liberal media often puts that on anybody who criticizes or questions. You're a nutcase conspiracy theorist and you are dismissed based on that. Which makes me immediately suspicious that, you know, there’s a giant propaganda thing going on. But who knows? I don't. I don’t know what the hell's going on.


Reilly:

At least we got to kind of slow down for a bit. I don’t really mind. I don't really mind being able to do everything from home now. But it has been really interesting to watch how people react to all of this.


Robert:

Yeah, you don’t mind?


Reilly:

I mean yeah it’s kind of nice. I mean,  I miss, like, everything that I could do before, but really, I don't mind the change in my work or school. That's actually very convenient for me.


Robert:

Were you someone who liked to party a lot and stuff like that and, you know, hang out with your friends?


Reilly:

Yeah, my friends and I like to go out a lot. So, that's been harder. I mean we're fine, but yeah, we like to go out. Right before everything shut down, I actually was in Europe for, like, around four months to study abroad, and that time was full of just clubbing and traveling. And then right when I got back, everything shut down. So the transition was really hard. But it's totally fine now that I've adjusted.


Robert:

Oh, when I think back to how I was at your age, I was constantly running around. I used to travel across the country, you know, periodically, in those years. And now that I'm old I don't care. I'm perfectly happy to sit in my room now. But back then, I wanted to be out and looking around and having adventures. I think that It's much harder on young people — the confinement, restrictions, and all that — than it is on older people.


Reilly:

Yeah I agree, we've had it really hard, like, just being stuck in our house. I live with four other girls.  It's nice to live with friends, but we definitely miss social life. We do want to travel and party again.


Robert:

Did you see all of that news footage about those kids in Miami and South Beach, Florida, mostly Black kids, Black youth? They’re all out there, crowding in the streets, partying, and suddenly the cops come into the streets and start shooting pepper balls at them.


Reilly:

Oh, yeah, That's the worst thing they could have done about this.


Robert:

That's so stupid.


Reilly:

Just agitates everything.  I don't think they’ve learned that lesson yet.


Robert:

Apparently not.


Reilly:

Let's see, I guess those are the two main things I wanted to talk about. And I got a couple others. They are unrelated, just a couple random things I wanted to ask you. I want to know what your least favorite piece of yours is.


Robert:

My favorite piece of mine?


Reilly:

Least favorite, actually.


Robert:

Least favorite piece… I gotta think about that. I never thought about what was my least favorite piece.


Reilly:

It didn't have to be a piece you didn't like, but rather something you just really didn't enjoy doing at the time. 


Robert:

When I was young, I did commercial work that I now look at as, you know, it's not something I really enjoyed doing very much. I just did it because I needed the money. I needed to, you know, earn money to pay the rent. But once I got to the point where my work was popular, since then, I've mostly done work that I enjoy doing. Or at least that means something to me, that is an honest reflection of my own proclivities or tastes or whatever. But some of the stuff I did for commercial purposes, some of that I am not real happy about. I look at my work, and sometimes I think it’s so stupid, and annoying, and fucked up; and then other times I look at it and think it's a work of genius and brilliant. You know, I fluctuate back and forth.


Reilly:

Are you doing more or less drawing during all this quarantining?


Robert:

Drawing? Yeah, I've been gradually drawing less and less as I've gotten older. I draw a lot less now than I did when I was young. When I was your age, in my twenties I was a fucking drawing machine. I just was always cranking. I kind of lived my life on paper. But as my fame grew I became more involved in the world. Mostly I was running around chasing women all over the place, you know, once I got famous then women were much more accepting of me because of the fame thing. So I had opportunities opened up to me to have relationships with all kinds of women, and it was the late Sixties, early Seventies, and things were really wide open. You can't even imagine how wide open it was for the younger generation in America at that time, and it was much easier to meet people of the opposite sex and have sex and, you know, get the clap or get crabs and all of that. I took advantage of that — totally. In those years, I was running all over the place, but I was still working. I managed to work through all that. I don’t know how I did it. I was cranking through it all. As I got older, I just slowed down and worked less and less and, you know, just kind of worked it out of my system I guess.. So now I don't work nearly as much. I spend a lot more time on correspondence and reading and playing music. I get more enjoyment out of playing music now than I do out of doing artwork. Yeah, and you know, the worst thing artists can do is to keep cranking it out because it's expected of them. Or they can't let go of the ego strokes they get from doing it, you know, it's the worst thing you can do. So, I try not to give in to that temptation.


Reilly:

Okay. I have one more question, though. Yeah, one I was thinking of unless I can think of any more off the top of my head, but I'm wondering: Why France?


Robert:

Why France?


Reilly:

Yeah.


Robert:

It was my wife's idea. Do you know Aline's work?


Reilly:

Yes!


Robert:

She's a pretty funny cartoonist in her own right. She’s got some great stories. We started to come over to France in the Eighties, came over here several times, various comic reasons, you know, comic festivals and stuff like that. And she just fell in love with this fucking country and started like, hocking me... She started working on me to move to France in the late Eighties, and now I’ll say, “Why did we move to France? Tell me again.” And she’ll say, “All through the Eighties, all you ever did was bitch and complain about America and how awful things were going in America.” It’s true — the Eighties were not a good decade in America in a lot of ways. It was the era of Ronald Reagan and the resurgence of this kind of, like, awful business-oriented conservatism, and big, anti-pornography movement. And then you had the AIDS thing come up, HIV and all that. And then there was a big wave of cocaine that went through the country. And where we lived in California, there was constant real estate development going on. There was nothing sacred. They just ripped down beautiful old houses and put up these ugly “McMansions” and stuff all over. That was going on all around us in California. So yeah, I was not pleased. I was, you know, constantly bitching and complaining about it. And so she would say, look how much better it is in France. And then she came to this area where we are now, in 1989. She visited some people we knew here that had lived in California before -  this one French guy, his wife and this other American woman in the village, and she just came back full of rapture about it. “You gotta go there. We gotta move there. We're gonna move to this region of France! It's really beautiful and there are lots of cheap old houses. You gotta go and look at it.” So I came here on my own, and walked around. It was really nice. Yeah, Aline kind of pitched it to me. She comes from a long line of Jewish salespeople. And they really know how to deliver a sales pitch. And she sold me. So, you know, the next thing I knew, I woke up one morning and was living in France, with our 9-year old daughter. And, you know, I can't complain. It's pretty nice here. I gotta say, it's pretty nice.


Reilly:

My roommate, the one who’s the art major, she and I wanna move to Italy, hopefully. So I think it's interesting to ask people where they want to move. I really appreciate all the old beautiful buildings throughout Europe.


Robert:

I go out and walk around this village, and it never ceases to delight me how beautiful it is. The old houses, just the whole set-up is so beautiful.


Reilly:

I love the cobblestone streets and the places that still have those, I always like that.


Robert: 

And there are the old stone houses here... All the houses made of stone here, all the old ones. There are no wooden houses here. All stone, and the houses are hundreds of years old on little tiny winding streets. It's a very appropriate human environment.


Reilly:

Yeah, actually nice to look at.


Robert:

And, you know, America, I loved what old-time America looked like. I love photos of how America was in the late 19th Century and early 20th Century. Great looking country. The towns looked great. The old main streets, the houses, the architecture. I loved that. But they just destroyed so much of it. They mercilessly ripped it all down and built this modern, ugly shit. I can't stand it. Modern architecture in America and other places, even in Europe, it's just hideous to me, a blight on the land.


Reilly:

Yeah. I'm thinking my generation's moving more away from that. Or at least I hope so. I might just have a bit of a biased view on that because my friends - none of us are into that..


Robert:

Oh, good. Glad to hear. Glad to hear.


Reilly:

Well, I think I'm about out of time. I have a very busy day. I gotta pack up my bags and drive to Colorado for a ski trip. Yeah, I've been trying to do that, cause, um, I really like outdoor activities. So COVID.. it's actually been really nice for that, skiing and hiking.


Robert:

Where are you going in Colorado?


Reilly:

Uh, we're gonna ski at Winter Park and Copper. And a couple weeks ago, we just skied Taos in New Mexico. We just get in the car, drive the car around, and that way we can avoid flights, which is convenient and safe for us during COVID.


Robert:

Well, good. Well, I gotta tell you, Alex is very happy with you. He thinks you're a really solid citizen. He thinks you’re a hard worker, you're reliable, you come through, do the job. I just gotta tell you that.


Reilly:

That's awesome to hear. I rarely get to hear what my bosses think of me, but Alex actually tells me. Well, thank you for doing this!

Header

33 Comments

ron vinion
Date: 5/17/2021
A very interesting, and up to date, interview. An enjoyable read!
Reilly B.
Date: 5/17/2021 8:41:15 PM
Thanks for the feedback, Ron! I appreciate it, and I'm glad you enjoyed it.
Ian McIntyre
Date: 5/17/2021
Nice! Love the bit about Aline, the Jewish saleswoman, pitching France. He didn’t know what hit him.
Richard Trank
Date: 5/17/2021 4:55:23 PM
Any other serious non-Jewish business oriented spouse would simply be that. So, what's your real fucking point here, Pal?
Luke Moore
Date: 5/17/2021
Great article. I had to share with an old friend who loved the comics as much as me.
Reilly B.
Date: 5/17/2021 8:42:02 PM
Glad to hear you liked it, Luke! Hope your friend enjoyed it as well.
Geoffrey Perrin
Date: 5/17/2021
I hope I am as lively and enquiring at 77. Nice to read this, thanks.
Reilly B.
Date: 5/17/2021 8:42:47 PM
Thanks for the feedback, Geoffrey! Glad you enjoyed it.
Deborah Wallis
Date: 5/17/2021
Hi, Robert When I was in college in 1973, your "Keep on Truckin" posters were on every student's wall. It's art/comic history and was an important part of many of our lives in those days. It was a crazy time. I'm a collector [very few books] but I will always love your work and the love for your work will come back as time goes on. Every time I research you, you're referred to as "a pioneer of the underground movement." That's a pretty high calling. I don't know if many of your followers know this, but you play a pretty wicked ukulele. Here's my favorite: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=625rjNYjXaQ Thanks, Robert, for all you've done for cartoon lovers.
Bob
Date: 5/17/2021
Great interview! Loved it! Thank you.
Reilly B.
Date: 5/17/2021 8:52:04 PM
Hi Bob, thanks for the feedback! Glad you enjoyed it.
Deborah Wallis
Date: 5/17/2021
I mean banjo. That's B-A-N-J-O. You play a pretty wicked banjo. Yikes! Thanks, Deb
Peter Conaty
Date: 5/17/2021
This was a treat to read. Thank you and salutatorians from Australia , where the sun shines.
John Resnick
Date: 5/17/2021
R. Crumb is a cultural icon. Love his work, and I’ve never been a racist or a sexist. I own most issues of Zap and would never sell them for any amount. Thank you R. Crumb for years of entertainment.
Ray
Date: 5/17/2021
Robert Crumb is the best. I wear my "Hi Kids" Fritz the Cat t-shirt to the Farmers Market for fun. I have had people walk right up to me and ask or state "I know who Fritz is!". The ones who do not know I state"Comic book porn". Look him up. I firmly believe that R Crumb, Gilbert Shelton, and others opened the door to comic books being reality based and educational on the "Dirt" of this country. Onward for peace on this planet.
Toby Drake
Date: 5/17/2021
Great interview Reilly. You asked some questions I’ve always wondered about.
Reilly B.
Date: 5/17/2021 8:53:06 PM
Thanks Toby, glad you enjoyed! I tried to keep it simple and straightforward with a modern hint.
Bill Rankin
Date: 5/17/2021
It's worrisome to me to hear that young people scorn Robert Crumb's work. There seems to be no end to the outrage and righteous indignation that people have today when they see something that is not politically correct. I say, Fuck 'em all! Crumb's drawings have always been subversive and sometimes disturbing, as well as outrageous and funny. That's what makes him great. Long live Robert Crumb!
Xochipilli
Date: 5/17/2021
Been a Crumb fan since I saw the doc in '94 at a local theater, 3 times in a row. Yeah, that hard to watch movie, really hit a nerve. I try my best to read or listen to all his interviews, The Comics Journal are the best, but finally his narrative now is very special to me. To witness this man, genius of comics, talk about anything is a prize. This one interview has a line I will save in my personal Quotes Journal, "When I was your age, in my twenties I was a fucking drawing machine." My man!
Dave
Date: 5/17/2021
Nice update on the old pooperoo. I'm happy to know that all is well in France. It's all about the artwork. People can read what they want into the comix. It is nice to know that some young people are discovering his work and aren't traumatized by an old shaman in a smock or a tomcat or any of the usual characters. It's just comix, fer heaven's sake!
Reilly B.
Date: 5/17/2021 8:57:45 PM
Thanks Dave! I grew up loving and appreciating a wide range of art, and I can confidently say a lot of my peers DO enjoy Crumb. But, unfortunately a large portion fall into the category described in the interview.
Donna
Date: 5/17/2021 12:18:53 PM
Cher? Crazy autocorrect. I meant Cheech. But you knew that.
Donna
Date: 5/17/2021 12:16:54 PM
Dave? Cher has said you weren’t there? LOL Loved the interview and your comments were right on. Reilly is a lucky woman. It sounded like 2 friends having coffee. Good job, woman. I’m expecting great and interesting things from you and your preciousness. Keep on truckin’ Dave
Mike
Date: 5/17/2021
I blame egomaniacal architects for the transition away from quaint housing and their lust for making a name for themselves. There is a glimmer of hope for the future in the so-called tiny house movement, but even that is becoming a one-upsmanship out-do your fellow tiny house community dwellers. Better to pitch a tent (ala native plains 'Indians') less destructive on the surroundings being nomadic me thinks. I have often contemplated the fact that Crumb's ego skirts around the edges of influences (such as S. Clay Wilson) who challenged him to create work outside social norms (rarely mentioning him, if ever). Though they were/are world's apart in their personas, it is probable that without Wilson's urgings we would have never heard of Crumb in the context we now think of him...
Michael C Hardesty
Date: 5/17/2021
Great interview. It would have been nice if Reilly had asked him about Trump and the Jan. 6th capital riot,I'm curious what Crumb's perspective is about how crazy the US is right now...
Reilly B.
Date: 5/17/2021 8:58:35 PM
Thank you for the suggestion, Mike! If I get the opportunity to ask this in the future, I'll be sure to. Have a good one!
Peter Parsons (11/1943)
Date: 5/17/2021
Our Unitarian Universalist (natch!) community discussed various "creation myths", last Sunday, and I mentioned your wonderful "resurrection" of Genesis. One of the (female) ministers, knew it(!), (She says that, & Exodus, are the "best Bible reads.) and interpreted it as portraying Eve as very forceful in NOT "going along to get along" with "our" "Patriarchal Biblical God". Eve, in effect, really LIBERATED "us". (Aline might agree...) Native Americans seem to have had much more positive Creation Stories than the Bible's. How's about it?!
Bud Plant
Date: 5/17/2021
The biggest issue I got out of this was that Robert thinks all men have anger towards women. I have to disagree with this. We (men) can have anger towards anyone, male or femaile, as one person. But I’ve never felt anger in general towards women in general, or that I needed to someone act out that anger in word or print or any other way. If anything, I try too hard to please women, perhaps sometimes to my detriment, which probably comes from trying to please my mother. She was a dedicated Mom of three kids and a RN nurse and a caretaker, and was a people pleaser herself all of her life. So making her happy was something special, even as a kid, whether it was getting an education, or finding a good present, or doing yardwork, or just showing up for a visit. I think I carried that into adulthood and sitll bend over backward to make the women in my life happy—not that it’s a bad thing most of the time, with two sisters, women emplyees in my business, and a permanent girl friend. Just don’t see the anger issue as something to put on all guys... Sorry to hear the confusion regarding Covid-19. I think the science is pretty damned straight on it. I can understand some pushback towards liberals who are less than understanding about people’s doubts. But really folks, people are dying at a massive rate and for people to refuse to even wear a mask, come on. Opinion columnist David Brooks, a conservation, said it well recently...if this kind of attitude, this ME-only attitude instead of doing what is good for our fellow people (masking up, getting vacinnated) was prevalent in the U.S. in World War II, or for that matter in England, we probably would not have won World War II. Sometimes you have to do things for the better of society, like young men did fighting in WWII, like kids getting vaccinated agains measles and TB to stamp those out, when I was a kid. I’ve made a lifetime career out of comics, with comic shops in the San Francisco Bay Area beginning inn 1968, as a comics distributor, and as a mail order retailer, for 50 years now. Robert and I first met through a mutual friend, Al Davoren, in the sixties when Robert still lived in San Francisco. I worked my way through college (1970-75) selling underground comics and Robert’s were always among my best sellers, along with work by Rick Griffin, Moscoso, Robert Williams and Richard Corben. Each new title, Motor City, Big Ass, Uneeda, Despair, was a big deal. Al Davoren, Jim Vadeboncoeur and I edited a hybrid fanziine that mixed in conventional comics art with underground artists; our 3rd issue in 1972 featured a Crumb cover, and as I understand it, we did the first interview with Robert for our last issue in 1974, Promethean Enterprises #5. Nearly every issue featured fun sketches and drawings of his. I was curious if by “commercial” work, if Robert thought any of the early underground comics were done for the money. I expect he means work for Hallmark Cards instead, sinced the UG comics were all pretty similiar, Crumb humor or tributes or fantasies, all of which I enjoyed reading. And since I was selling UG comics to comic book fans/collectors like myself, it was great fun turning people on to his work, through the mail or at the comic book conventions in the 1970s when it was all comix, and just one or two softcover compilations. My buddy Ken Sanders (Ken Sanders Rare Books, Salt Lake City) sent me the link to this. Ken knows Robert far better than I do, he worked with him on the illustrated Monkey Wrench Gang novel. I’ve handle all of Robert’s published works for 50 years, and still do, such as the Taschen books of his sketchbooks that are coming out now, and his Dreams book, and exhibit catalogs, all of it. I’ve always greatly enjoyed his serious work, on the blues artists for instance, some of the American Splendor stories for Harvey Pekar, and the Genesis book I read cover to cover and I liked. I have always wanted to see more serious work of that type, he is very good at serious biographical work and I’ve leaned a lot reading each piece.
Fred
Date: 5/17/2021
I NEED 4X MAYBE 3X If I motivate to lose a few pounds.I would like to purchase some T's. Can you get some 3X? Thanks.
Robert Schacter
Date: 5/17/2021
Am I the only person who thinks that Crumb's comments about Covid-19 are sort of insane? I've been a fan of his work for a long while, and I've read a bunch of interviews so I know that he is super thoughtful and smart, and I'm sure that he knows a hell of a lot more about the "Medical-Industrial Complex," as he calls it, than I do, but how, at this point, can a person wonder whether or not this virus is actually real (just so that I'm not accused of misquoting, "I don't know if there actually is a really badass virus on the loose out there or not")??? I know that he is not a Q-Anon type, but is there anything more annoying than the phrase "I'm just asking questions?" That is the hallmark of Fox News and Tucker Carlson types! I hate to shit on anybody's hero, but this type of inquiry is moronic. It's a fucking virus! They live harmlessly in animals, and then some jackass touches their shit and rubs his eyes or sticks his fingers in his mouth, and the next thing you know it's all over the fucking world, and people who are just "asking questions" get the disease or give it to someone else and they die alone on a ventilator in a hospital. C'mon, Crumb, enough with the conspiracies!!
Richard Trank
Date: 5/17/2021 5:03:10 PM
People have been eating bloody Asian fruit bats for millennia. This is a very functionally enhanced bat corona virus. Extraordinary! That's what's so pisser about it. Robert has a darn good gut feeling about it. Now that I know its struck in his craw, I'd like to see a cartoon series depicting the Stanley Milgram experiments.
Robert Schacter
Date: 5/17/2021
Am I the only person who thinks that Crumb's comments about Covid-19 are sort of insane? I've been a fan of his work for a long while, and I've read a bunch of interviews so I know that he is super thoughtful and smart, and I'm sure that he knows a hell of a lot more about the "Medical-Industrial Complex," as he calls it, than I do, but how, at this point, can a person wonder whether or not this virus is actually real (just so that I'm not accused of misquoting, "I don't know if there actually is a really badass virus on the loose out there or not")??? I know that he is not a Q-Anon type, but is there anything more annoying than the phrase "I'm just asking questions?" That is the hallmark of Fox News and Tucker Carlson types! I hate to shit on anybody's hero, but this type of inquiry is moronic. It's a fucking virus! They live harmlessly in animals, and then some jackass touches their shit and rubs his eyes or sticks his fingers in his mouth, and the next thing you know it's all over the fucking world, and people who are just "asking questions" get the disease or give it to someone else and they die alone on a ventilator in a hospital. C'mon, Crumb, enough with the conspiracies!!
CHRIS A ROBSON
Date: 5/17/2021
interesting interview , although it seemed as though Robert took the lead in questioning at times, poor overwhelmed Reilly. Switzerland sounds romantic to live in but i am sure my strata of economical social graces wouldn't be accepted or allowed there. Location, location, location, do your research everybody. As for pandemics spreading across the planet... blame all those whom assume it is their personal right to provide or use the very sources and devices to carry out that selfish activity called travel, guess that's ALL OF US . Every decade seems to produce it's own parade of shining stars. I have always liked R Crumb as he revealed to me the dissocial side of this dysfunctional society. Bravo Robert Crumb ! I still surf your market items and even purchase a few (when my credit card allows me). A time is coming when you can even eat your credit cards uh hu . I will always remember the 60's & 70's as a modern Renaissance of changes, everything after that seems redundant, tame, fluffy....oh my! I would love to have a one on one chat with a master of underground comics like R Crumb, as an artist i can appreciate Crumbs reflection on his early commitment (a drawing machine) now taking the time to leisurely smell the roses that he has so meticulously drawn.
Reilly B.
Date: 5/17/2021 9:01:50 PM
Thanks for the feedback, Chris. Although I was not overwhelmed, I was trying to keep the questions to a minimum and allow Robert to have a real and thorough conversation with me. To me, that's what makes an interview more candid. However, I'll be sure to keep in mind your comment as I move forward with any interviewing in the future. I'm glad you found it interesting. Have a good one!
Charles Plymell
Date: 5/17/2021
I was just curious as to what part of the country Reilly lived in. And Robert, things have really gone insane since the 60's . It was one of the last times for a civilized country. We tried to change it for the better,essentially, but it went the other way. Charles Plymell
Reilly B.
Date: 5/17/2021 9:03:08 PM
Hi Charles! Thanks for the question. I spent the majority of my life living in Wisconsin.
David Misso
Date: 5/18/2021
Reilly, Robert has given me much in my 70 years of life, Mr. Natural who know looks like me, but I am more fun, drawings that make my eyes work to find all that is inside, loved your phone interview and trust the snow in Colorado was to your liking. The main reason other than his sexy wife wanting to move to France, was that was the only country that would take him! Alex done good picking you to be in charge about time someone was. Keep on Keeping ON, on what is your problem. Peace, Misso the Pisso
Reilly B.
Date: 5/18/2021 8:30:08 PM
Thanks David! Appreciate the support. Have a good one :)
David Meiers
Date: 5/18/2021
Well done! I love this interview. Especially how you two got the awkwardness out of the way right away, which put you both more at ease. Thanks for sharing.
Robert G
Date: 5/19/2021
Thank you Reilly for the nice interview. Thanks to Mr. Crumb for the time providing insight into the various issues facing people today. Having lived all my 61 years in the San Francisco area it has been a great experience growing up with comics and eventually getting access to all the material created by and associated with Robert Crumb. It got to the point where reading his interviews and the preface in his books gave me as much pleasure as the artwork itself. I have now come to realize that he helped shape my view of the world and humanity, for better or worse. One of the memories I have of a past interview, probably around the time he moved to France was when he said the Democrats are just slightly less evil than the Republicans. This viewpoint is not taken lightly, coming from a person who has spent his life observing, experiencing and drawing everyday people. For me, this pandemic has been a real eye opener in confirming this observation. The suspicion Mr. Crumb has about the pandemic is shared by me but for a specific reason. It is because of my knowledge and understanding and use of Traditional Chinese medicine where the health of a human being is approached differently from Western medicine. Both approaches to human health have their effectiveness but this pandemic is where they differ. For TCM, the use of Chinese herbs and acupuncture if needed, would provide in most cases an easy and inexpensive method to keep affected individuals from suffocating. Without going into any elaborate explanation regarding this process, a study of all the areas of San Francisco where cases and deaths have occurred will show that Chinatown, one of the most densely populated locations in the City has such few cases. This is kept quiet within the Chinese community because they know how powerful Western medicine is and how they could find a way to circumvent any other methods other than vaccines to solve this problem. When a health care bill was passed in 1986 under the Reagan administration it prevented pharmaceutical companies from being liable for the problems children experienced from school vaccinations. This to me set off an avalanche that continues to the present day. It has gotten to the point where some parents I know have concerns about the number of vaccinations needed before a child is admitted into school and how many are required for the duration of their education. Pharmaceutical companies I believe comprise the wealthiest lobbyists in political circles. The last element of suspicion I wish to throw at Mr. Crumb is the way our education forms us as human beings. To me, it has created mentally polarized, non intuitive, arrogant individuals whose viewpoints get reinforced by their association with other beings who share the same observations. It gets to the point where if enough of them get enough agreements with the people of which they associate, then they must be right and normal. Does anyone consider the fact that maybe the education that formulates our perception of reality would be different if in America the Spanish missionaries listened to what the native indigenous people had to offer instead of enslaving and killing them, or recognizing the insights and spirituality of Africans instead of looking at them as mediocre life forms, or gaining awareness and understanding of the earth that could have been provided by other cultures. One new aspect of this interview is finding out Mr. Crumb has meditation as part of his life. This to me is one process which has the possibility to allow a human to feel the connectedness to all of life and all that exists in our reality. Thank you Mr. Crumb for your insights and creativity.
Rick Sherman
Date: 5/20/2021
I started college in 1966, and I couldn’t believe what I was reading when Zap hit the head shops. Mr. Natural, keep on trucking, Tommy Toilet, etc. I was a big fan of the 1950’s Mad comics and Kurtzman and Will Elder’s work. It taught me that it was ok, and maybe even important to question authority. The underground comix movement allowed Mr. Crumb to create art that is as important to me as the work Kurtzman and Elder created, and pushed the genre forward greatly. And, my mother couldn’t find my Zap issues and throw them out! An old friend has died, but I will always have the memory of sharing a joint and reading the latest issue of Zap with him. I look at my Zap #0 and #1 cover serigraphs daily and think of those days. Thanks for creating those memories for me Bob Crumb. Rick Sherman
James Lamb
Date: 5/21/2021
I'm a retired member of the medical industrial complex, though behind the scenes - lab guy. The pandemic is not that complicated; it's the politics that makes things complicated. People die from the flu every year, but this one was a bit worse - bad enough to fill up the hospitals if it spread too fast. And it spread too fast in some more crowded places, but in other places slow enough for people to call it a hoax. And it was a version no one's had, so it was a challenge knowing how any particular person would be affected. The biggest problem in the US was a government at war with itself and a leader who promoted chaos.
Bud Plant
Date: 5/24/2021
James, very well said. It's sad to me to see anyone buying into the conspiracy business. My daughter is a RN and has been fighing covid in San Francisco for over a year no, in the ER there. Her fellow nurses were going home crying when they lacked proper masks and gowns and could not eve get tested. And so much the absolutely the fault of our former President, who lied to the nation and turned the who business into a political/identity issue. It's no fantasy. And the odds of any reaction from the vaccine is infinately small, just look at the number of people who have now taken it. If that is not proven science, that it's effective--proven as covid infections have dropped in all areas where the vaccine is being administered. And no one is hiding adverse reactions---there are next to none, folks. You can't hide stuff like that, it would get out. The odds of getting covid is hugely greater, and so are the odds of dying from it. It's just like wearing a seat belt or a bike or motorcycle helmet...we do it because the facts are there to see, they save lives. I was also dismayed to see Robert's comments.
George F Gahagan
Date: 7/4/2021
So good to hear from "R" in a great interview, sounding very happy in France taking in the countryside. I'll be 70 and got vaccinated with no side effects, do it Bob we all love you and want you around forever. Can't blame you for being a bit skeptical after being chased to Sweden by J. Edgar Hoover for your strip on the (alledged) crosdressier house party he had, ha. Or Nixon Staring at his coffee cup wide eyed on an (alleged) LSD trip, ha again! You helped us all carry on man, I was in Eugene in the late 60's-70's doing anti war protests and being enlightened with the "friends of Ken Kezi" Further the bus and connections to Dr. Timothy Leary. Both great men and I hold you, Mr R. Crumb in as high a regard as those fellows during those times of great change and thank you from us all I'm sure. I'm loving and buying your posters, T's and comix since finally being able to afford some of them now and understand where Bob is now being close in age taking in paradise. So thank you guys for still coming up with new stuff like Fritz and Bob on a bike with his vice pig, love it. Well give us hungry ol fans what ya can man and enjoy the many great days ahead for you, much appreciated. P.S. think you have any Freak Bros. in the future outa yer hip pocket? I had 2 bros. that are gone now, we were a lot like them. You are so Prophetic at times wonder if you can actually see the future. Looks like it in some of your posters. Take care man
George Gahagan
Date: 7/25/2021
I have to say first that i love all of R.'s work and I'm buying everything I can now on your excellent website displaying all your wonderful art. Personally I feel that R. Crumb is first an "excellent" Portrait artist with high definition and that spills over into his life like cartoon characters. Really loved the FBI wanted poster t-shirt, had a great "Donald" profile Portrait R., it rocked! Hope you do a reprint of the T's and I would certainly buy a poster if you make one! The Mr. Natural "kick trump out" T is epic and off the hook R., They were great originals, take care and thank you very much for what you did on the election man and Keepin' on Truckin'! Realize now that's a slimmer trimmer Mr. Natural on a bike, nice and the Freak Bros. were a fellow demented co-collaborators work. I'm finding myself stuck exclusively on R.s work and simply want more since it is all true art. Thanks again R. and Alex.
George Gahagan
Date: 7/26/2021
Actually trying to get some Gilbert Shelton,Paul Mavrides and all other brilliant friends of R.. Was pleased to see that some of thier work is featured in the Zap Comix issues I bought on R.crumb.com, Like R. says buy the damn book and couldn't agree more. Wonderful Utube video interviews and R. crumb with the string band. You have very good taste in music and also perform it well. To Captain Pissgums and the Freak Bros, thanks for everything man and love everything I've gotten so far and keep up the great work, it's All top quality, high definition, true art. Thanks for sharing man, take care
George Gahagan
Date: 8/30/2021
Hey R. and A. and all the gang, I have gotten very positive reactions to my DJT FBI wanted poster and kick T*#%mp (Mr. Natural) out T shiirt. Please do a reprint and an FBI wanted poster that would look great on my wall. I am going to plug your website on the Thom Hartmann #1 progressive live radio/utube show. He is 70yrs old and am sure all of his listeners remember R. and his excellent art, character comics, books and portraits. Love them all so keep 'em coming best you can guys and Thank you for the beautiful merch! Loved the inteview and R. sounds great, live long and prosper man.

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