Saturday, June 20, 2009

a mixed bag

In the middle to late sixties I began to see R. Crumb's artwork in the pages of a rag named 'The Gothic Blimp Works' and another one named 'The East Village Other'. Two hippie newspapers with all of the music, politics and cartoons you can imagine within its pages.

Crumb usually drew the covers, and although it seems like he was always the cover artist his work probably only appeared a few times. But his style made a great impression on me. I'd grown up on MAD comics, belonged to 'The Merry Marvel Marching Society' and always read Batman, but these Crumb comics were something else. And sure, there were other underground comic book artists on the scene, but no one told the kind of stories that he did. Solid, sensible storytelling from beginning to end. The Carl Barks of the underground comics world.

Looking at this old relic of mine after thirty nine years I can see the Crumb influence.
And I'm astonished at how many things are wrong with it.

As soon as I graduated from high school in '69 I got a job in the Post Office. I wasn't looking for a job since it was still summer, but a couple of the older guys on the block were going to take the Civil Service Exam and I tagged along. I passed and got the job. It was well-paying and the Downtown Brooklyn GPO was loaded with hundreds of characters.
I'd draw sketches of some of them and this one is based on a co-worker who thought he was Elvis...

In the mid seventies, when I wasn't playing or rehearsing with the band I was creating imaginary concept art for the band. And I have no idea of what I was thinking at the time this one was cobbled together. Maybe a greatest hits album cover.

Here's the LP crop version--


Jim Hopkins said...

The first time I saw Crumb's work was the "Cheap Thrills" LP when I was a kid. My uncle had the album and I would sit and stare at the cover. The second time was years later around when I was in Junior High, when there was an article about him in the NYTimes Sunday supplement. After seeing that I started to emulate his style. The first underground of his that I bought was Uneeda Comix-a life changing event. Still have that copy.

Ry's Photo Blog said...

Wow! Great back story Vin! It's amazing to see how much talent you had 40 years ago! You're making me want to dig up some of my old drawings.....but mine don't hold up the way yours have.

Stacey Aoyama said...

Cool drawings Vince..I like that album cover and your co-worker as Elvis (haha, kind of looks like Hutch :)

Vince M said...

"Cheap Thrills"-- best cartoon/illustrated rock album cover art ever! I too stared at for hours, Jim.

Never saw the NY Times piece, but "Uneeda ComiX" is one of Crumb's boldest and best.

And you should start digging up some of your old pieces, Ryan. Create another blog for it.

Or maybe we should make a collective blog featuring all of our early work? A "Scrapbook".

Thanks, Stacey. I had fun creating imaginary album covers and sketching kooks who wound up looking like Hutch.

Stupid Hutch ;>(