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The R. Crumb Handbook

4.15  ·  Rating details ·  704 ratings  ·  58 reviews
The R. Crumb Handbook is a brand new take on the life, trials and ideas of one of the most influential cartoonists of the last 40 years. Wry, self-deprecating, and candid, this is an exceptionally revealing and unexpectedly moving visual biography. Crumb is thoughtful and enlightening, with insights into 20th century popular culture that are hilarious, challenging, and ...more
Hardcover, 440 pages
Published April 15th 2005 by M Q Publications
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Average rating 4.15  · 
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Michael Finocchiaro
Oct 14, 2016 rated it really liked it
If you are unfamiliar with Crumb's provocative and creative work. this is a great place to start. You meet his most famous creations and his perverse but hilarious sense of humor. I would also HIGHLY suggest watching Terry Zwigoff's 1994 biopsy eponymously titled Crumb to fully understand the deranged but brilliant sarcasm behind the bawdy and sometimes shocking drawings. Enjoy.
David Schaafsma
Oct 29, 2017 rated it really liked it
Shelves: gn-bio, alt-comics, crumb
I was looking around for another volume of Crumb's collected works, and found this, part of a series of "handbooks" about the world's famous artistic or intellectual leaders. Crumb is one of the five most influential comics artists on the planet, so he fits the leadership bill. This collection would go well with the Aacdemy-Award nominated documentary bio-pic, called Crumb. This more than 400 page volume includes letters, photographs, journals, examples of a range of his work from a variety of ...more
Sep 09, 2007 rated it really liked it
combined his work spanning decades and a biography in a really nicely bound edition with a cd of his music over the years and a bookmark of self-portraits. i'd give this four and a half stars, but i can't.
Dec 28, 2007 rated it really liked it
A nice omnibus of Crumb's work. Worth owning just for the included CD - which includes a few rare Cheap Suit Serenaders tracks.
Feb 09, 2009 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: from-liberry
This is a lovely book. All in one package, you get a well-written, if oddly sketchy, set of autobiographical essays; and a pretty amazing overview of the life's work, which is fairly unnervingly and unrelentingly pervy, metaphysical, bizarre and beautifully drawn.

Given how truly weird his work is, it's amazing that he's famous and influential instead of shamed and reviled. But the art itself (as opposed to the content matter, where the two are separable) is amazingly well-crafted, and he's been
Kristin Mowery
I think I should try to explain why I am such a rabid fan of R.Crumb. Crucially, he provided me with the first real opportunity that I had to relate to another human being, when I watched the documentary Crumb in my mid-teens. I cannot really explain this with that much depth or clarity, other than the things he writes are my truth, and it appalls me to see his work condemned by people, such as Trina Robbins, who clearly have not spent enough time thinking about the context, intention, or ...more
Apr 19, 2010 rated it really liked it
This, R. Crumbs Coffeetable book or the Documentary about him would probably be the best choices for an introduction to Crumb. The R. Crumb Handbook is an anthology with Crumb writing his reflections on his life and work, commentary by other people here and there and stuff from various stages of his evolution. There is more of the sexually oriented and neurotic self loathing stuff in this and not as much of the "counterculture" satire or his early fuzzy bunny cutesy work. He does gain a lot of ...more
Jon Nakapalau
Aug 19, 2016 rated it it was amazing
Everything you ever wanted to know about Robert Crumb is in this book. A very honest look at the life of one of the most influential illustrators of the last 50 years.
Gregg Cosgrove
May 28, 2019 rated it it was amazing
I thought this was another Crumb collection and I liked the size of the book, so I bought it and put it on my shelf. I didn’t realize what I was getting into when I started reading this. It’s an incredible memoir from R. Crumb. It’s 400 pages and includes lots of artwork but by far the best part of the book are the lengthy and very candid details of his life as an artist. Very interesting!
Tim Goral
Jan 12, 2012 rated it it was amazing
More than you would ever want to know about the man who helped mainstream "underground" comics. This book is a good companion to the multi-volume "The Complete Crumb Comics," and is probably the best place to start if you aren't familiar with his work.
Mark Plaid
Mar 04, 2009 rated it really liked it
The R. Crumb Handbook combines the memories and reflections of hippy era underground cartoonist R. Crumb into a thick hardback little tome. Although co-authored by Peter Poplaski, this book reads more like an autobiography completely written on Crumb's own. I discovered Crumb's work in the 80s while attending high school and became a life long fan after that. I read many things about the life of Crumb and of course many of his comics, as many as I could. Some of the expected things from the ...more
David James
Jul 10, 2012 rated it really liked it
So much has been written about Crumb that I doubt I can add anything new. The man's art is simultaneously achingly beautiful and hideously repulsive, his narratives intellectually thought provoking and insanely pornographic. As he himself says more than once in the lengthy interview that comprises most of the text portion of this book, you have to take all of him, the good and the ugly. He spills it all out without restraint.

Part of my reason for only giving the book four stars is the physical
Vanessa (V.C.)
Robert Crumb is one unique and special individual, and lo and behold, so is this book that embodies everything that Mr. Crumb is - hilarious, bitingly-satirical, brutally honest, challenging, and brilliant. In illustrating the human condition through all our ironies, weaknesses, lusts, terrors, and cruelties, in a style that only Mr. Crumb can do and is famous for, he also effortlessly weaves in his childhood as a kid of the 1940's to his evolution of being the enfant terrible cartoonist of the ...more
East Bay J
Jan 12, 2008 rated it it was amazing
Fantastic! The R. Crumb Handbook is an awesome overview of the life of Robert Crumb, artist, musician and American original. This is an autobiography, Crumb's life in his own words and it's an extroardinary read. Crumb writes with a savvy, subversive wit that makes the stories of his childhood, artistic origins and career fun to read and even inspiring. There are literally hundreds of photographs, not to mention Crumb's amazing artwork. It's a treat for the eyes as well as the brain. The ...more
Shanwar Badr
Mar 25, 2017 rated it it was amazing
Anyone who knows me well, especially my artistic friends, have been victims of my constant ramblings of Robert Crumb. His work has profound influence on me as an artist and it was great to get to know more about him through this condensed and moving visual biography of the life, trials and personal evolution of R. Crumb.
There is something very inspiring about someone who's ever so articulate about their own social hangups, anxieties, fantasies and repressed urges who still manages to both
Jan 11, 2008 rated it it was amazing
i love r. crumb more than anything. i know i just said that chris ware is a genius, and he is. but r. crumb is the type of genius that makes a genius like chris ware look like one of those kids that's always sucking on their sleeve in kindergarten and the sleeve is always wet and their mouth is all red and puffy and you think to yourself, "what is wrong with you? are you retarded? why are you eating your sleeve?"

yeah, he's that good.

this book is full of his beautiful perfect art and some of his
Jan 15, 2008 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: Deadheads, Boomers,
Remember Mr. Natural, Keep on Truckin' and other weird and wonderful characters that peopled Robert Crumbs underground comix in the 1960's. This is the story of Crumb's life and a great collection of his cartoons and illustrations. A lot of his work is edgy and not for the prudish who might misunderstand the context of his work. A lot of it is satirical and way over the edge for many. Its a great read for those nostalgic for their youth. Malcolm Watts

Malcolm Watts is a novelist, writer, and
Jan 07, 2009 added it
Shelves: interviewees
STOP SMILING Issue 38, 20 Interviews , features a cover story interview with R. Crumb.

The STOP SMILING Third Annual 20 Interviews issue features a 10-page spread and interview of comic book artist R. Crumb.

Jul 04, 2008 rated it it was amazing
I've read a few books on Crumb but this one kicks all the rest in their flabby asses. The R. Crumb Handbook is only one to read if you want to get a broad picture of what's doing with this guy. This goes into the dirty details of what his family was like growing up, his work life pre and post-fame. Plus, as a huge bonus, it's loaded with photos, his art and a CD of the Crumb family, His Cheap Suit Serenaders and various musical groups he's played with over the years. Worth every word.
Mar 25, 2010 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: graphic-novels
I was a fool. There is something in us that is always looking for the hard-to-find ultimate experience. We wade through a lot of shit to get to the fulfillment of our dreams.

In my case, all my life I've been a slave to that butt. Yes, the motion of a big, round, human, female butt while she's walking has the same effect that the blossom has on the bee. To see is to desire! It's primal. It's an animal reflex.
Jul 23, 2010 rated it really liked it
Just when I thought I knew too much about R. Crumb, here comes this fat little book! This one does a good job at covering it all: the artist's childhood, life in the sixties, drugs, discontent with commercialism, sex perversions, the blatant racism, jazz music, old age. Move over, guy in those Dos Equis commercials...because Robert Crumb is...THE MOST INTERESTING MAN IN THE WORLD.
Mar 29, 2009 rated it it was amazing
This came with a CD that had "Getta Load Of This" on it. I'd been looking for the song for decades now.

Not only is he a great comic artist, but he is a wonderful musician and preservationist of "old-timey" music... the washboard and banjo kind of folk-jazz from the turn of the century. He also has one of the most extensive collections of old vinyl recordings of anyone I know.
Apr 01, 2007 rated it it was ok
Shelves: graphic-novels
I'll admit that I am fascinated with R. Crumb as an artist and intriguing fellow, but I just didn't enjoy this collection. The best aspect of this work is definitely the cd featuring his many banjo antics. Speaking of, I highly recommend tracking down *Les Primitifs du Futur,* a musette band with which he plays occasionally.
Steven Cady
This is a nice little autobiography of Mr. Crumb, very direct and hones and beautifully illustrated. The format is small and thick so some of the included comix are small and hard to read but the quality of illustrations and the large print layout is nice. There are many personal photos included with the art samples.
Feb 07, 2015 rated it really liked it
If you like odd ball and off the wall. With strange and deprived, Robert Crumb shows us what it is like to live in his head.

The art in this book reflects the authors mental state and how he has developed along his life.

This book is not for the faint of heart. If you like strange cartoons you might enjoy this book.
Apr 09, 2012 rated it it was amazing
Robert Crumb is a one of a kind talent. This book is a great overview of his body of work and is highly recommended! His wife Aline and daughter Sophie are immensely talented as well and it will be well worth your while to check them out.
Apr 04, 2008 rated it it was amazing
Great portrait of R. Crumb, his art, his views, his tastes...and it comes with a CD of his weird hippie banjo music. Hilarious and arousing...great starter book for anyone interested in the HUGE contribution Crumb has made to the art world.
May 21, 2008 added it
Great autobiographical overview of a comix legend-- his conversational tone and personal admissions have really influenced my efforts to write comic vignettes of my own personal experiences as a child.
Ronnie Ursenbach
Feb 20, 2018 rated it really liked it
Half autobiography, half collection. Very well laid out. It would go from Crumb talking about his life to his works either from our about that era. It’s almost like his life story is being curated through his art.
Ashley Nicole
Jul 01, 2007 rated it really liked it
Recommends it for: pervs
totally pervy totally awesome
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Robert Dennis Crumb (born August 30, 1943)— is an American artist, illustrator, and musician recognized for the distinctive style of his drawings and his critical, satirical, subversive view of the American mainstream.

Crumb was a founder of the underground comix movement and is regarded as its most prominent figure. Though one of the most celebrated of comic book artists, Crumb's entire career has