Robert Crumb & Home Grown Funnies

Photo 1: "Self Portrait" by Robert Crumb
Photo 2: Cover of Home Grown Funnies #1 (1971)

"On a cold day in January 1967, Robert Crumb was hanging out at Adele's Bar after work, putting off going home, when he ran into two Cleveland hippies, Tim and Skip, who made him an offer he couldn't resist:

They told me that they were about to set out for San Francisco. Skip had an old broken down Fiat. I asked them if they had room for one more. They said sure, come on along. I asked another friend if he'd do me a favor and tell [my wife] Dana that I'd left...

Rents were low, food was cheap, and people got by dealing drugs and living on welfare, he said. "The welfare system at that time in San Francisco was run by very conscientious liberals. They were just eager to put you on welfare". LSD and marijuana were central to the whole hippy experience, he added, which transformed an anti-war, pro-civil rights political movement into a religious vision quest. "LSD was the road to Damascus for the hippies. It knocked you down like a blinding bright light in your face, you know? Showing you something much deeper and vaster than merely rebelling against the political system, or deeply questioning the whole validity of industrial civilization". Stone out of his gourd day after day, he continued drawing obsessively in his sketchbooks. "My comic thing flowered in this fertile environment. I figured it out somehow. The way to put the stoned experience into a series of cartoon panels. I began to submit LSD- inspired strips to underground papers"...
Cavalier magazine exposed Crumb to a national audience in the October 1967 issue with the publication of "Stoned". Of all the men's magazines of that time, only Cavalier seemed to be interested in the counterculture. Columnists Paul Krassner, Al Goldstein, and Lenny Kaye, and contributors Ed Sanders and Charles Gatewood produced a steady stream of fact ad opinion about the emerging political and social movement in Cavalier's pages. Cartoon editor Mike Thaler made "Fritz the Cat"and "Bodé's Broads" part of the mix." (pp. 66 - 67)

"Arguably one of the greatest artists of the 20th century, Crumb downplays the fine art aspects of his work and considers himself primarily a cartoonist:

My intellect is not the highly refined analytical type," he insisted. Ï have had no formal academic training and am born of the lower middle class, so that I tend to be one of these grassroots type deep-thinkers with a rambling drifting intellect making a lot conjectures, daydreaming and stabbing around in the dark".

His most successful work originates somewhere in an unconscious part of his intellect, he said:

What I like is when I see that at times I've allowed my own imagination to completely cut loose and express exactly what was inside of me. That's what I really like about my work. When I look back on my work and study it, I look for that and that inspires me to keep going. To see how I'm able to completely express my subconscious feelings or whatever you would call them

." (p. 271)

- Rebel Visions: The Underground Comix Revolution, 1963- 1975 by Patrick Rosenkranz (2002)

Robert Crumb & Home Grown Funnies
Robert Crumb Self Portrait