Tuesday, March 10, 2009

R. Crumb and Bigfoot (from CRYPTOMUNDO)

Posted by: Loren Coleman on January 26th, 2007

Mark Frauenfelder recently posted at Boing Boing about the wonderful past era of beautiful art to be found on old covers of Fate.

Mark also mentioned a recent blog by David Pescovitz about the New York Times article “Mr. and Mrs. Natural,” and the author of that article contacted Mark to say two of Fate covers done in the last decade have been illustrated by the underground comics genius R. Crumb. Actually, it was three, two of which had Bigfoot themes and one was of an alien shown near a bed.

One of those covers - specifically because of Crumb’s art - has become apparently the most popular cover in Fate history. It is the Crumb Bigfoot cover shown at the top of this blog. I feel honored that my column, “Mysterious World: Bigfoot-like Creatures Roam the Eastern U.S.” appeared in the November 2000 issue of that Fate. Thus, as such things go, my column has been vaguely associated with and said to be partially responsible for R. Crumb’s artwork. It probably was just a coincidence, but it is one of those cool cosmic overlaps that I appreciate being part of, especially since I always liked his comix, like Zap.

he other Fate R. Crumb cover was of snowy Bigfoot-types in Russia. Intriguingly, it was also used to promote a Wisconsin Bigfoot novel from Galde Press (the current owners of Fate).

R. Crumb has been interested in Bigfoot for a long time, having penned the classic “Whiteman meets Bigfoot” in Home Grown Funnies, no. 1, back in 1971.

Anyone out there have any scans of R. Crumb’s 1971 comic art of Bigfoot?

As far as the popular cultural significance of R. Crumb, all you have to do, if you were part of the 1960s, is remember his images associated with Mr. Natural, Fritz the Cat, Keep On Truckin’, and Janis Joplin’s Cheap Thrills album cover.

Perhaps someday R. Crumb will even draw a Bigfoot exclusively for Cryptomundo.

Hey, unlike the The New York Times which has decided to print the word “hippy,” I spell “hippie” the way we used to in the 60s!


Drew Friedman paints Robert Crumb presenting Cheap Thrills album cover to Janis Joplin

Our pal Drew Friedman painted this great moment in freak history.

This recent piece is a depiction of my old friend (and favorite artist) Robert Crumb presenting his original "Cheap Thrills" comic strip cover art to Janis Joplin, (with various members of "The Holding Company" lurking behind), backstage at the Filmore West in San Fran' in 1968. It was commissioned by the private collector who owns the original Crumb "Cheap Thrills" art, as a companion piece to hang along side it in his office. Interestingly, Crumb's original intention was for this art to run on the back cover and a portrait of Joplin to run on the front. But Joplin loved the the comic strip art so much, (she was an avid underground comics fan, especially the work of Crumb, and already at that point in her escalating career, had the power to hire her own cover artist), she decided to run it on the front. It's arguably the SECOND most famous album cover ever, after Sgt. Pepper. One amusing side note: bending no doubt to pressure, Crumb wore his hair for a time at it's longest in '68, which I try to show. Joplin was also encouraging him to "loosen up" and wear "hippie clothes and beads" but he just couldn't go that far.

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