R. Crumb Sketchbook: June 1975-February 1977
Presenting exact facsimiles of the artist's own private sketchbooks. R. Crumb is undoubtedly the foremost cartoonist of the latter 20th Century, and his sketchbooksin which he has written and drawn continually from the early 1960s to presentmight rank as his finest achievement. Fantagraphics is proud to present these sketchbooks, in facsimile form, as a comprehensive series of volumes that will eventually run well over 4000 pages. Volume 10, covering mid-1975 through early 1977, is the latest and it represents one of the more inquisitive and soul-searching periods in this phenomenal artist's life. These sketchbooks represent, in essence, something never before achieved in the field of art and literature: a single, unified, organic, (and ongoing) life's work. Even more so than the painter Frida Kahlo's drawn diaries, Crumb's sketchbooks are, as a body of work, incomparable in their magnitude, scope, and intensity, and therein lies their uniqueness and value. Unrecognizable as straight autobiography, these books chronicle Crumb's perceptions more than his life itself. As such, they offer a rare and often raw insight into process: how ideas are formed, how connections are made, how technique and craft are honed, and how the ability to "see" is truly cultivated. The cumulative effect of these sketchbooks is to narrow the gap between the artist and his art; or, to put it another way, to create such an intimacy as to render the profound connection between art and humanity palpable. These sketchbooks also stand as a monumental existential document. Crumb repeatedly expresses, through a variety of of penetrating and coruscating visual metaphors, the central existentialist struggle: to live in the full light of consciousness with all the risk, pain and suffering that entails. Nowhere is this more apparent than in this tenth volume, which coincides with the disintegration of the late-1960s counterculture that made him famous. Like every volume in the series, though, Volume 10 offers the full panoply of a life of perceptions rendered with consummate artistry.
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