Robert Crumb Introduction

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(Contemporary Literary Criticism)

Robert Crumb 1943–

American cartoonist.

As one of the first underground cartoonists, Crumb has found a loyal and appreciative audience for his unusually graphic and violent satires of American life. Several of his works, Snatch for example, were so sexually explicit that they were judged obscene and have therefore suffered restricted circulation. Crumb's champions, however, claim that he is a genius who challenges the inhibitions of his society, and that his work deserves serious attention and respect.

Though his works seem to ridicule many of the moral values of middle class America and to advance the mores of the young and hip subculture as an alternative system, in some ways Crumb shows himself to be politically conservative. His well-known creation "Mr. Natural," a cross between a prophet and a con man, actually mocks those who, in their readiness to be exploited, follow his teachings. Crumb has also been castigated for his depiction of women either as empty-headed sexual receptacles or as intimidating man-eaters. To such criticisms he has answered, "I just draw what I see. That doesn't mean I approve of it."