Monday, October 20, 2014

Crumb and the Revealing Film

The film Crumb was released in 1994 directed by Terry Ziwigoff. The film is like an onion. Each Layer of his life was peeled away as the film revealed more about his family and childhood. It also explained that it is possible that art, and his comics are his therapy and way he made it in this world to survive. The film is disturbing, and it is obvious Crumb copes with his past through his work. To me his work is explained through the film.  In addition Crumb’s work of Genesis is an onion as well. He peels away at the stories in Genesis to reveal the truths of what is occurring through imagery.
         While his family can be viewed on the surface as a typical family of the fifty’s, the film peels away these assumptions. The portrayal of his father is quiet interesting, showing how he ruled the household through his tyranny and beatings of his sons. But how his father treated Crumb and his brothers (we do not know about his sisters due to the refusal to be in the film) caused them to react in ways that they retreated inside their minds creating an alternative world. Crumb’s success is due to his drive of revenge. But his revenge is not only towards his family but also to how people saw him when he was a teenager.
         His earlier works reveal that he used people from his past as caricatures. This can specifically be seen in “Keep on Truckin” and “Fritz the Cat.” The fact is that the film specifically shows that his art and comics are a way for him to cope with his past. So while his work Genesis does not use people from his past or present to depict his hurt and need for a therapeutic outlet, he does reveal the truths of what the stories of Genesis are about. Pictures and imagery can bring a story to life. Many can read Genesis from the Old Testament and think nothing of it besides its teachings, and not really understand how it could be absurd. However because Crumb stayed true to the text in the biblical version of Genesis he was able to convey these truths through his imagery holding nothing back.

         For example Crumb has been criticized for the pornographic images in his comic, however Crumb is drawing these frames how they are said, and depicted in the actual text. His realism in Genesis reflects his need to show the peeled onion, and truths that lacked in his typical fifties family. His bleak, raw depiction in Genesis takes famous religious writing and reveal the its peeled onion, and truths that are not usually realized.


  1. I like the idea that Crumb uses imagery to show the realism in his life. I also like the idea that he uses Genesis to cope with his life. However, you don't actually say what he is trying to reveal or cope with. You also give no examples actually showing the imagery. There are no specific passages that you reference and you simply say that he uses imagery but fail to mention what kind or what effect it creates.
    I believe your thesis is: "He peels away at the stories in Genesis to reveal the truths of what is occurring through imagery." But you never actually say "what is occurring." I'm struggling to find a completion to your argument. The idea that he uses it to cope seems good, but it also is disconnected in your essay. I don't think it is ever really tied in to the work as a whole.
    I think you're right that Crumb is trying to reveal something about himself through Genesis, after all that is what the prompt asks. However, you do not actually show what Crumb is trying to do or provide examples. I think you need to explicitly define the "truths" Crumb shows. It seems overall incomplete and I think needs more to be a successful argument and essay. I think it would be better if you focused on a particular idea or concept he is trying to display and then find direct support to prove your argument.

  2. The metaphor of the onion isn’t bad. Or rather, I think it’s a good idea, if you can make it work well, but I’m skeptical whether you can demonstrate that idea in such a short essay.

    The topic of vengeance and tyranny is good - also, note that theme of one brother emerging as the clear leader, while the others remain forever behind. Is Crumb the Joseph/Judah, leaving his many siblings in the dust? However, you’re not really making those arguments, but at most hinting at them.

    The last couple paragraphs do very little. I mean, his literalism is important, as is his history. Clearly you watched the film and you have some ideas beginning to form about how we can understand the book through his life story as the movie presents it. But you’re not doing much of that yet - you’re showing us the vague outlines of what an argument might look like, but the argument itself is missing.