“Crumb”, the R. Crumb Documentary

I finally watched this. All the brothers had artistic talent; all could have made some kind of  a living as artists of some kind, but only Robert succeeded. This isn’t a story of garden-variety dysfunction and disappointment; Charles and Maxon were both pretty seriously mentally ill, and completely non-functioning adults.

The comparison to George Sodini is poor; he functioned pretty normally in society and had a mentally demanding job, but ended in murder-suicide due to his personal frustrations. Charles and Maxon were chronically mentally ill and unemployed and don’t seem to have had much everyday cognitive functioning. Robert’s success in life can’t be attributed to fame and fortune; before he became famous he was married, had a kid and worked at a greeting card company, the kind of ordinary work most artists do.

The Crumb family simply seems to have been a fertile breeding ground for mental illness; his mother’s amphetamine addiction being both a cause and symptom. What was going on with his father I can’t say, but if he was involved in combat in the war that is probably a big part of it. There was a lot of combat-induced mental illness among World War II veterans, but it was mostly ignored.

Not everything can be looked at through the prism of social behavior provided by game; some things can’t be fixed, and they can barely even be lived with. R. Crumb dodged a bullet in his family, his brothers weren’t so lucky.

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5 Responses to “Crumb”, the R. Crumb Documentary

  1. schfifty five says:

    “Not everything can be looked at through the prism of social behavior provided by game; some things can’t be fixed, and they can barely even be lived with. R. Crumb dodged a bullet in his family, his brothers weren’t so lucky.”

    I dont know much about the Crumb family, but I must say, you can really knock the wind out of me with your honesty and your humanity. This is such a huge point – one that is conveniently ignored by almost everyone, from where I’ve experienced. I think there is something deeply manly in taking an honest look at life and its cruelty. Particularly its cruelty to those who are insightful, creative, and, well, honest. Without blaming the victim to feel good about oneself, without wallowing in false hope and dopamine-fueled dreams. Omega my ass.

  2. […] Omega Man – ““Crumb,” the R. Crumb Documentary” […]

  3. MQ says:

    I thought Charles Crumb came off as quite intelligent but extremely damaged. Lost in bitterness. Charles was the “near miss”, while Robert made it.

    Against your previous post, I think Robert Crumb had a good relationship with his wife, he did love her and clearly adores his daughter. There’s a great R. Crumb collection called “My Troubles With Women” where he both anticipates and demolishes a lot of the stuff about female nature that the “game” crowd is into. He outlines his stages very clearly — bitter beta, celebrity alpha working out his issues by banging dozens of women, then grumbling but loving husband. The book ends in domesticity (but the sex is depicted as still good); the domestic stuff is cute but I don’t think his daughter will appreciate the depictions of her masturbating as a little girl (“Daddy, Ima trying to fix my twat!”).

  4. Sheila Tone says:

    Both Crumb and Aline did a lot of comic stories about their married life as well (some of it was called “Dirty Laundry.”)

    I think Sophie Crumb was able to handle that — she’s a grownup artist with a child of her own, and she collaborates with her father.

  5. The ideas here is incredibly informative. I have uncovered lots of recommendations.

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