Monday, October 20, 2014

Crumb 1994, Genius and Insanity.

Who is Crumb? A comics artist who has OCD, disgust women, and do drugs. He has two brothers that both of them have mental disorder. He got a mother spoiled her children, and a father treated them arbitrary. The childhood is full of anxious and sexual repression. Crumb was drawing his bizarre mind all his life. What can I say? Wholly freak. His comics can be recognized as annals of human beings’ desire and instinct. He showed everything in his comics: the obsession of strong muscle and ass women, icon family actually is incestuous, and the fantasy to have sex with a woman without head. It is so distorted but real. The image he showed us is so powerful to express his emotion and conflicted. On the one hand he reveled in release of angry and desire, on the other hand he dislike himself so much.

I always believe that people have a nice faith of the world in the beginning; the sky will always blue, innocent girl and kind boy will together in the end, and hero will always save the city. But we cannot see anything about these in Crumb’s comics. Actually, sensitive children grow up in the suffering situation, they become cynical and extreme. Most of time, when people discuss Crumb, they say Crumb is an artist enjoy condemn the social abuses, but actually this is him. Racial discrimination, sexism, praise violent and eroticism … But he is such an honest and humor person. He said that “I can avoid these topics, but why? Those are what I am thinking. I never loved any women, if there is one, she is my daughter.”

In the movie, Crumb’s two brothers are actually made me feel so sad. Compare Robert Crumb himself, his two brothers are also talent artists. But they got swallow by the darkness. The older brother Charles Crumb still lived with his mother, and probably did not go out for a long time. He was more obsession in his inside world than Robert Crumb, he used medical to keep the emotion stable. He already gave up painting for a long time, even writing the ambiguous word anymore. I was shocked by his work actually; it seems so different and amazing. The work also showed that he gradually became crazy and depressed. He killed himself after the movie finished. Meanwhile, the younger brother, Max Crumb was also made me unforgettable. He was an isolated sage. He punished himself every single day to cleanse his soul. He seat on the bed made by nails, and eat cloth. When Robert Crumb went to see his younger brother, he became a conversable man. I have to say after I saw this movie; one thing I really understand is that genius and insanity only have a blurry line between them.

Normally, I do not like documentary. But the “Crumb 1994” changed my mind. I only read Crumb’s The Book of Genesis Illustrated. Compared to his other book, this book is too serious to him. I do not think I will like his other work, and the only feel I have is in a fog. A thin, myopic, and old man with a head of evil ideas is actually adorable. His hat looks like funny and strange. His two brothers probably are more crazy (genius) than him. His son is the most “normal” person in this whole movie. His daughter is so cute and always cries when she saw her father’s comics. In the end I want to say this documentary made me feel pretty happy. Yes, I really feel happy after I saw all those miserable family story and dark comics. I do not know why. I think it is actually Crumb bring to us; he drew gloomy stories with humor.


  1. I think your analysis of the documentary could really benefit from a clearly defined thesis. It would be interesting to look more into the connections between Crumb’s childhood environment and the people and situations which he cartoons. There certainly are parallels between the dysfunction that he draws and that which he experienced in his own life. You could explore how he feels about women in real life and how that comes out in his work. In fact, you could look deeper into how this opinion of women formed when he was young and examine how that sort of situation is echoed in his comics.
    You also seem intrigued by the mental health of his brothers. I believe it would be interesting to explore their relationship and the way they treated each other in their childhood. Their deprave acts (e.g. smashing the truck Robert wanted to play with) may linked to the actions of Crumb’s characters.

  2. Kat's advice is good, and I don't have much to add. The fundamental issue here is that you aren't making an argument. The topics which interest you are fine, even good, but you needed a way to make connections between the documentary and the book, and then to make an argument about those connections. For instance, as Kat says, you are interested in the role of mental illness in the film. Good! Knowing that Crumb has some ugly background there, how does that help us to understand Genesis. For example, could we understand the story of Abraham through a lens of mental illness? How does his younger brother's odd, mystical behavior relate to Crumb's portrayal of religion? There are possible connections here, but you need to make them!