If you were to list the five most important cartoonists in the history of comics, the chances are good Robert Crumb would be on the list. If you were to list the five most important editor/publishers in the history of comics, the chances are good Gary Groth of Fantagraphics would be on that list. For a lot of people, they’d each be at the top. So if you are a comics reader and you can think of a better way to spend your afternoon than reading a 13,000 word interview with Crumb by Groth for The Comics Journal, then please, become my personal planner, because your life must be freaking awesome.
The thing is damn near solid gold, but a highlight reel might run as follows:
• The opening letter from Crumb, explaining his decision not to attend a Sydney, Australia arts festival following what appears to have been a really naked act of anti-Crumb yellow journalism by the Rupert Murdoch-owned Telegraph
• Groth and Crumb playing an all-pessimism version of “can you top this?” when it comes to their outlook on the political future of the civilized world
• Crumb revealing that he and his son Jesse are no longer on speaking terms, and his feelings on his daughter Sophie’s drug use
• Crumb on how pot and LSD made him a lousier artist in the early ’70s
• Guest questions from cartoonists Jaime Hernandez, Gilbert Hernandez, Tony Millionaire, Megan Kelso, Drew Friedman, Gilbert Shelton, Jim Woodring, Lewis Trondheim, Kim Dietch, Bill Griffith, Arnold Roth, and Crumb’s longtime nemesis Trina Robbins
• A relatively lengthy debate over whether President Barack Obama has rolled over to corporate interests (Groth’s position) or legitimately fought against them and simply been bested by their power (Crumb’s take)
• Crumb characterizing his late-’60s turn toward raunchy and offensive content as a deliberate attempt to make himself less popular
• Why Crumb’s sexy women seldom find themselves in “serious” stories as opposed to satirical or scatological ones
• Pens vs. brushes
• Early vs. late Janis Joplin
• Whether spending all that time drawing The Book of Genesis was worth it
• The reason he’s not drawing nearly as much as he used to
Depressing, elating, and hilarious in equal measure, it’s your must-read of the day.