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R. Crumb

Cartoonist

Born: 30 August 1943
Birthplace: Philadelphia, Pennsylvania
Best known as: Creator of Mr. Natural and "Keep on Truckin'"

Name at birth: Robert Crumb

Robert Crumb is a leading figure in the history of American underground comics. As a child he spent hours creating elaborate storybooks with his brothers (a group effort reminiscent of the childhood creations of Emily Brontë and her sisters). In 1968 he began publishing Zap Comics, the series often credited with spurring the underground comics movement in America. Crumb's cartoon "Keep on Truckin'" -- an image of big-footed hipsters in a cheerful strut -- became a popular counterculture symbol, popping up on posters and T-shirts (most produced without Crumb's consent). He also drew a famous album cover for the band Big Brother and the Holding Company (featuring Janis Joplin). Other Crumb characters include Flakey Foont, Angelfood McSpade, Devil Girl, and the irascible, bearded Mr. Natural. Fritz the Cat, Crumb's comically randy feline, was the star of an X-rated 1972 movie by animator Ralph Bakshi. Crumb, a 1995 documentary by Crumb's friend Terry Zwigoff, brought the cartoonist renewed notoriety and made him a mainstream figure.

Extra credit: Crumb's second wife, Aline Kominsky-Crumb, is also a cartoonist... Like Woody Allen, Crumb is a musician on the side: he performs old-time jazz in a band called the Cheap Suit Serenaders... Among cartoonists inspired by Crumb is the popular artist Dan Clowes.

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