Robert Crumb was born in Philadelphia in 1943. As a kid, he started drawing homemade comic books, together with his brother Charles, for the amusement of himself and his family. One of the characters he invented back then was Fred the Cat, named after the family’s pet. Eventually, Fred became Fritz the Cat, one of Crumb’s best-known characters.
Crumb left home in 1962, getting a job as a greeting card artist in Cleveland, Ohio. At the same time, he continued his comics, sending one to the public gallery section of Harvey Kurtzman’s Help! Magazine. Encouraged by Kurtzman, Crumb moved to New York to work for Help! Unfortunately, this magazine folded just after Crumb returned from an eight-month stay in Europe. Crumb stayed in New York for a while, making comics trading cards for Topps Gum, among other things, and then returned to Cleveland.
In January 1967, Crumb moved to California, where he did some comics for a magazine called Yarrowstalks. His work was so well received they asked him to do a whole comic book, and soon the first issue of Zap was ready. The publisher however disappeared with all of the original artwork. Crumb, who had not only saved xeroxes of his work, but was already halfway with the next issue of Zap, found Don Donahue and Charles Plymell willing to publish it. So it is that the material for the second Zap comic was published as Zap #1, after which the older material for the first issue was printed as Zap #0. All of these have become collector’s items.
Zap Comix became a success, and soon other artists, like Rick Griffin, Victor Moscoso and S. Clay Wilson, started contributing their work. Interest in Crumb’s work resulted in Head Comix, a collection of his comics published by Viking Press, and a Fritz the Cat book by Ballantine. When animator Ralph Bakshi turned to Crumb to make Fritz the Cat into an animated movie, Crumb eventually agreed, but soon became exhausted with the pressure and left it to his wife, Aline Kominsky, who signed the contract. Crumb hated the film so much that he killed off Fritz once and for all in a strip in The People’s Comics.
Eventually, Robert Crumb and his family moved to France, where they still live today. The creator of unforgettable characters such as Mr. Natural, Mr. Snoid, Angelfood MacSpade and Devil Girl still has a tremendous production, which has been collected in many albums. Especially worth mentioning is his outstanding comics biography, as well as The Complete Crumb series by Fantagraphics, with each volume introduced by the artist himself. In 2009, he published his illustrated graphic novel version of the ‘Book of Genesis’.
In recent years, Crumb has been the subject of many biographical and bibliographical works and has established himself as the great name in the underground comix scene.
other SPECIAL GUESTS
Aline Kominsky-Crumb (USA)
Gilbert SHELTON (USA)
Lora FOUNTAIN (USA)
Roberto DISO (Italy)
Sylvain CORDURIÉ (France)
Dražen KOVAČEVIĆ (Serbia)
Leonid PILIPOVIĆ (Serbia)
Živorad RADIVOJEVIĆ (Serbia)
Vladimir KRSTIĆ LACI (Serbia)
Antonio ALTARRIBA (Spain) Guest of the Cervantes Institute, Belgrade
Andriana RUŽIĆ (Serbia)
Zoran ĐUKANOVIĆ (Serbia)