R. Crumb Opens Up

Portrait of R. Crumb by Christian Lessenich (CC)

Portrait of R. Crumb by Christian Lessenich (CC)

A new R. Crumb interview is a rare thing indeed. Enjoy his telephone conversation with Deborah Vankin of the LA Times, interspersed with background yells from his wife, Aline Kominsky-Crumb:

DV: What comics are you reading these days?

RC: All I read anymore is investigative journalism. You name it. Scandalous political stuff, the pharmaceutical industry, all that crap. I’m fascinated by that stuff. There’s many heroic underappreciated investigative journalists. Celia Farber, Jon Stauber – “Toxic Sludge Is Good For You” is a great book. Naomi Klein – Jesus, I read her latest book and found that really impressive. “The Shock Doctrine.”

DV: “Genesis,” which was a success both critically and commercially, is behind you, what are you working on these days?

RC: Aline and I are working on a collaborative book together. It’s from WW Norton. Since “Genesis” sold well, they’re up for anything I’m involved in. We did stuff for the New Yorker over the years, short pieces, and before that we did comics together. Mostly it’s gonna be a gathering up of older stuff that we did for the New Yorker. And we’re doing one new story.

DV: Is it autobiographical?

RC: Yeah, yeah, kinda. It’s about getting old and failing. Aline says it’s about senior sex.

[At this point Aline yells in background: “It’s not a pretty sight!”]

DV: But you guys have been married a long time now. You must have a good thing going. Any advice?

RC: It’s been a long time, we got married in ’78. If you’re jealous it’s doomed. Doomed. The two people have to respect each other and give each other room to breathe.

[Another yell from Aline: "Slack on the leash!"]

DV: You left the U.S. 19 years ago — how’s life in France?

RC: It’s good, life is good here. Good quality of life. All I can say is: You can keep Los Angeles. No, seriously, what’s not to like? You’re not constantly bombarded … there’s some room to breathe from that constant corporate propaganda that America is saturated with. You don’t know how saturated you are with that…

[continues in the LA Times]

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