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.
One thing really come to my mind is the attitude Crumb towards to woman. 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.” He never covered up how he thinks about women. I read his “the Book of Genesis illustrated”, and those women in his book are really not my type to enjoy. In the beginning I thought Crumb vilified those women to fulfill his personal poor taste about women, since he showed too much negative attitudes to women in his previous books. But after I finished read the book I got some new ideas about Crumb. His “the Book of Genesis Illustrated” did not simply transfer the words to images, He actually gave his mind inside his whole book by those images. Yes, I know Crumb disliked woman, but the Genesis seems having the same idea with him. In the beginning, god created Adam and Eva. But the truth is God created Adam and he thought Adam seems so lonely to be along, so he created Eva with Adam’s bone. It seems like when god created the world, women became were some kind of accompaniment for men. In the Garden of Eden, it is also Eva eta the forbidden fruit first, and she gave it to Adam. God punished Eve, “I will terribly sharpen your birth pangs! In pain shall you bear Children! And for you man shall be your longing, and he shall rule over you!” I see this as the beginning of the male chauvinism. The story gives us a directly first influence that woman is trouble. Eva could not resist temptation and she tempts Adam to make the same mistake with her. But if we consider this in another way, Eva is so brave to try new things, even if god said “you eat from it, you are doomed to die.” Men are more willing to believe woman are stupid and weak than they are brave. So the story came up to Adam take care of Eva after they got kicked out from the Garden of Eden. What a responsible man! It is the initiate of the male chauvinism, after that Genesis start to consolidate the man’s power, and restrain women with more and more rules. In the patriarchal society, women even became men’s personal properties.
How ironic it is. The Genesis, a book people believed thousands of years. The beginning of the most powerful religion --- Christianity have the same idea with an underground cartoonist. Crumb is a crazy artist, his miserable childhood and insane family caused he has such a distorted view of the world. 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. Crumb and his brothers are genius or insanity, but we know their attitudes are dark and negative most of time. The way they judge the world comes from an unhappy family and odd childhood, but people wrote Genesis are not. Why do they have such a similar idea about women? In the Chapter 19, Zoar’s daughters made some stupid decisions about “keep alive seed from their father”. They made their father drunk and had sex with them. When I read it, I can only say it is just ridiculous. And in the Chapter 39, there is a story about Joseph and his Egyptian master’s wife. She wanted to lie with Joseph since he is so handsome, but he refused her. He said “How could I do this great evil, and give offense to god?” And because of he always refused her, one day she find a way to revenge. “She seized Joseph by his garment, saying lie with her. And he left his garment in her hand, and he fled and went out.” She told the master “The Hebrew Slave came into me, whom you brought to us, to trifle with me.” The garment is the evidence to prove what Joseph done. There are many stories in the Genesis to show us women are ridiculous and evil. It is no doubt that those women’s behaviors are not one hundred percent correct, but the hostility is too obvious to us. It is probably the reason why Crumb used such a very different way to draw the Genesis. It not even likes his work anymore. Why did he change the way he draw the comics? Why so serious? In my personal idea, the way he mocked to the world in the Genesis did not just focus one thing or one piece anymore, the whole book showed an ironic attitude by this serious style.
After I read the Genesis, I decide to rethink the attitude about this world deep inside my heart; I find that there are so many negative prejudices in my mind. I cannot accept a homosexual friend; I hate Taiwan said they did not belong to China; I choose to ignore that the truth is I have nothing when I mocked other people; I desired money, but I showed how I love my spirit world; I do not like the poor, but I always tell people how kind I am; I like beautiful woman, but I tell other people the personality is the most important. I just realize I am such a dishonest man with so many opposite attitudes in my mind. When I judge Crumb as an underground indecent crazy cartoonist, he actually showed himself without hide to the world. The movie showed me a self-contemptuous Crumb with ambitious to tell the world his feeling about this world. All his works showed a ridiculous, dark, and crazy world. The violence and sex are all around his comic book. He is just not good for children. Those negative attitudes hurt. In the beginning, I believe that people have a nice faith of the world; 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. In his My Trouble with Women, he said “Around the age of 16 I begin wasting my god-given talent drawing pictures of sexy women the way I liked ‘em … trying to capture the shape of the magnificent female ass of my dreams. I used these drawings to masturbate, and then I’d tear’em up in little pieces and flush’em down the toilet ...” He keeps mocked himself by those jokes and showed his attitude through all these words and images. Most of good things are made up by people to cover how cruel and dark the reality is. When we grow up and parents do not protect us anymore, we can finally find the real society does not as good as Grimm’s Fairy Tales.
When the first time I into the Crumb’s world, I realized I will never go back. It is simple, no matter how wonderful the fairy tale is, we still live in the reality and we have the right to know the truth. We need to figure out our attitude to this chaos world. Crumb showed his attitude, it’s time for us.
Robert, Crumb. The Book of Genesis Illustrated. W.W. Norton & Company, Inc. 1996.
Robert, Crumb. My Troubles With Women. Last Gasp. 2003