“The Complete Crumb Comics Volume 10: Crumb Advocates Violent Overthrow” can best be described with several words: brilliant, audacious, politically-motivated and at times extremely stupid. The comic strips have a wide range of topics since they are a compilation of Robert Crumb’s work from 1973 to 1975. The only problem with the book is that some of Crumb’s work is just not good or funny at times. However, a majority of it provides enough thought provoking laughs to make it a worthwhile read.
“The Complete Crumb” is a continuing series of books that detail the artist’s work since 1958, when Crumb was an innovator in the underground comic scene. One comic strip even details Crumb, himself, being sickened by his drawing, which is actually funny.
Most famous for his comic, “Fritz the Cat,” which inspired a 1972 movie that he personally despised, in spite of the sad truth, that the film, while offensive, handled the subject matter slightly better than Crumb’s disorganized approach to it.
What works in volume 10 will make you laugh and what doesn’t will leave scratching your head, wondering what drugs Crumb was on when he conjured up these ideas. His drawings are crude, sick, but always well-drawn and fleshed out. Overall it is something that is, aesthetically, its own.
The best part of the book has Frosty the Snowman, his friend, Stoopid jerk and Tuffy plotting to throw dynamite-filled snowballs at the Rockefeller mansion. The strip is commenting on how the government is overrun with people looking out for their own interests, but what makes it so funny is that Frosty is beloved. The snowman would never bomb a mansion for political reasons, since throughout the strips he is always so happy. Overall, it’s some funny stuff.
Artist Aline Kominsky is prominent in the first 60 pages of the book as she and Crumb create a comic strip that deals with sexism. These are hysterical to read since, while dealing with the subject matter, the premise places more emphasis on poking fun at those who do not practice what they preach.
“What Gives?” is another amazing highlight where two aliens (One looks like Mike from “Monsters Inc.”) crash land on Earth, but are disgusted at our use of nuclear weapons and our brain dead notions of making money.
“Modern America” is a hysterical, illustrated rant on everything Crumb hates in America and –come to think of it – he doesn’t like anything. It is offensive, crudely drawn, but lot of truthful fun.
The book also has a ton of colorful covers that illuminate his work and show us his perversely deranged universe. We are even treated to a sample of his work, featuring one of the greatest poet-writers of the last century, Charles Bukowski, who wrote beautiful stories about life in the gutter, effectively matching Crumb’s drawing sensibilities.
Of course, a book this wacky and out there has to have a few unfunny drawbacks. A strip called “Mr. Natural Meets ‘the Kid’” makes absolutely no sense whatsoever and the punch-line will leave readers perplexed. “You Can’t Avoid the Void” is drawn so confusingly that you will have no clue what is going on and finally, “A Bug Story” is a laugh-less mess from start to finish.
The book comes off extremely racist at times also, so be forewarned it has something to offend everyone (Even Crumb himself).
Despite “The Complete Crumb Comics Volume 10: Crumb Advocates Violent Overthrow’s” flaws, it represents the counterculture in which it was created and serves as evidence of what the ’70s were all about. But, Frosty does save this book from mediocrity and one can only hope that next time he attempts to teach the government a lesson, they listen.
Fight the powers to be Frosty.