Headless Chicks and Well-Hung Dorks at the Public Library

Reality bites: R. Crumb
photo: MQ Publications

R. Crumb once said, "When I was five or six, I was sexually attracted to Bugs Bunny." Obviously a precocious lad, he was soon creating homemade comic books; by his mid-twenties, Crumb was world famous for underground comix featuring muscular babes having contorted, gooey sex with his myopic, skinny (though massively endowed) alter ego. Occasionally, amid the high jinks—the strips are often uproarious—the ladies literally lose their heads. According to Time magazine art critic Robert Hughes, when Crumb "draws that little monster Mr. Natural doing things that you or I would not normally contemplate doing with a headless woman . . . it is an acknowledgment that these kinds of fantasies actually do dwell in homo sapiens.” (Crumb's wife shrugs—"He depicts his id in its pure form [but] he's not like that as a person—he gets it out in his artwork.") Despite such graphic exhibitionism, the cartoonist rarely appears in public, so his sit-down with the acerbically brilliant Hughes to discuss The R. Crumb Handbook (just out from MQ Publications) should animate the staid halls of the NYPL. Who knew those august marble lions were every bit as cool as Fritz the Cat?

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