Robert Crumb: Sketch­books 1964–1982

If you can stump up the cash, you’ll get to see a lot of work from the dirty old artist of 60s counter-cul­ture

ImagineFX - - Inspiration Books - Au­thor Dian Han­son Pub­lisher Taschen Price £650 Web www.taschen.com Avail­able Now

ur bi­ceps had only just re­cov­ered from lug­ging around the last Robert Crumb box set when this one ar­rived on our desk. Like the first, it’s an epic collection, with six hard­back vol­umes cov­er­ing his ca­reer from mid-60s to early-80s.

In a brief in­tro Robert dis­cusses the very be­gin­ning of his ca­reer as a 21-year-old who’d just dis­cov­ered the joys of draw­ing with a Rapi­do­graph tech­ni­cal pen. Even as a young man Robert had de­vel­oped a dis­tinc­tive

Ostyle, and his trade­mark spi­dery, nerdish creeps be­ing over­pow­ered by bel­uga-like women are present right from the word go. Most artists ma­ture as they grow older, but with Robert it’s the other way round – his draw­ings be­come baser and more de­bauched. But it’s clear that by the mid-70s he’s be­come more con­fi­dent in draw­ing ugly char­ac­ters en­gaged in messy sex­ual acts.

This collection is not go­ing to be for ev­ery­one, and 2005’s The R Crumb Hand­book is a bet­ter place to start for those new to the artist’s de­praved mind – and you won’t need to re­mort­gage to buy it, ei­ther. But de­voted Crumb fans will find a lot to love here, and it’s oddly pleas­ing to pore over the artist’s unique im­ages.

Robert’s draw­ings be­came more de­bauched as he grew older.

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