Drawn Together: The Collected Works of R. and A. Crumb

Overview

Rumored for years, Drawn Together finally charts the daily exploits and erotic craziness of this “First Couple” of comics.
Who could have imagined that in 1972, when Aline Kominsky, a Long Island escapee and bodaciously talented artist, broke her foot one rainy fall day, it would result in the most unique collaboration in comics history? Laid up in her house, she was persuaded by R. Crumb, her nerdy, neurotic boyfriend, to pass the time drawing together a “two-man” comic. The ...

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Overview

Rumored for years, Drawn Together finally charts the daily exploits and erotic craziness of this “First Couple” of comics.
Who could have imagined that in 1972, when Aline Kominsky, a Long Island escapee and bodaciously talented artist, broke her foot one rainy fall day, it would result in the most unique collaboration in comics history? Laid up in her house, she was persuaded by R. Crumb, her nerdy, neurotic boyfriend, to pass the time drawing together a “two-man” comic. The result is a jaw-dropping yet tender account, not only of the joys and challenges of a legendary marriage but also of the obstacles faced by struggling female artists. In Drawn Together, our foremost male-female cartooning couple recall their success at shocking America with Weirdo Magazine, the life-altering birth of their precocious daughter Sophie, and their astonishing move to the safe haven of France. With an irresistible introduction and a striking four-color section, Drawn Together becomes a graphic cause-célebre and a must-have for any comics devotee.

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Editorial Reviews

Publishers Weekly
Since the 1970s, pioneering underground comics creators R. Crumb and Aline Crumb (nee Kominsky) have been drawing comics together, their distinct art styles sharing the same panels. All these works—stand-alone comics as well as shorts featured in Weirdo and the New Yorker—are now collected together in one volume. Semi-autobiographical, the stories reveal sordid details about the romantic relationship of the Crumbs, from their active (and somewhat violent) sex life in their youth to their still deviant sexual life in their sixties. Plagued by self-hatred, the creators spend most of each panel in dialogue with each other about how awful the world is, how self-deprecating they are, or how much they want to have sex. The best moments are when the Crumbs draw themselves discussing the panels they’ve already drawn together, or make notes about each other’s drawings. The thematic cohesion, despite the two very different styles, is an achievement, one further enhanced by guest illustrations from daughter Sophie and cameos from Art Spiegelman and Charles Burns. A must for Crumb fans, but these somewhat self-indulgent looks at a quirky couple may be an acquired taste for others, regardless of the high level of cartooning. (Oct)
QUIETUS
“Drawn Together brims with life… one can’t help but be charmed by the Crumbs…. A wonderful creation… offers much more than even its considerable bulk suggests.”
Booklist
“Starred review. If his drawing is wonderfully detailed, volumetric, and fluid—the justly most famous and admired comics style of our time—hers is flat, messy, childishly exuberant, an avatar of the art brut manners of such of her peers as Linda Barry, Roz Chast, and Nicole Hollander. That contrast between them becomes yet more grist for their endless, self-conscious, ludicrously frank (often literally unbuttoned; this is adult comics, folks) yattering on sex, art, parenthood, guilt, fashion, collecting, shopping mania, the Jews and the goys, France and the French, him being more famous than her, blah blah blah. And gloriosky! It gets funnier as the years pile up. The last long story here, “A Couple a’ Nasty, Raunchy Old Things,” is as hilarious as the best routines of George and Gracie, the Bickersons, and The Honeymooners.”
Flavorwire
“[One] of the 50 sublime coffee table books for the true sophisticate.”
Library Journal
Cartooning couple Aline and Robert Crumb have drawn together, in both senses, throughout 35 years of marriage while supporting each other's individual artistic careers. Drawing themselves into each panel, the couple has produced numerous improvisational cowritten comics since the 1970s, in addition to contributing reportage for The New Yorker about the Cannes Film Festival and a Crumb family reunion, among other topics. Whereas all stories integrate uncensored confessional comedy into usual and unusual daily events, earlier stories wander unexpectedly into freewheeling fantasy. Later stories are tighter in plot and offer more subtle insights into the couple's emotional and sexual relationship. Their somewhat Bohemian saga has much to offer readers, both as broad satire and as sometimes surrealist testimony about a successful, if perhaps unusual, marriage. The final episode about senior sex, designed to shock, also shows their mutual fondness. VERDICT Using very adult imagery and language, the Crumbs sound off in sometimes hilarious excess about themselves, each other, sex, art, fame, France vs. America, and everything else. His detailed draftsmanship is complemented by her simpler and more self-mocking approach. For fans of candid confessionals with gravitas. [For more from Aline Crumb, read Martha Cornog's Q&A with her at ow.ly/g36tF.—Ed.]—M.C.
Kirkus Reviews
A scrapbook from the first family of American cartooning, containing collaborative strips that date back to the mid-1970s. The title serves a dual purpose, underscoring the claim, made throughout the book, that the authors are "The World's Only Cartooning Couple," as the two-headed cover proclaims, but also indicating the qualities that drew them together and keep them together. In a flyer for the aptly named Dirty Laundry Comics, Robert Crumb dubs them "the John and Yoko of Underground Comics!!" There are some parallels. In both cases, he had a wider following, and some fans have suggested (as these panels admit) that she was horning in, co-opting his work by capitalizing on his renown. In both cases, he proved to be his wife's strongest defender, suggesting that, if anything, she is carrying him. "Aline, I can't do this without you," he writes in one of the four-panel "The Crumb Family" strips (changes of pace from the longer, more elaborate narratives that dominate). "If I tell stories about my life it just comes out grim & sad." Not only does her presence provide comic relief, but the two of them present her as the stronger, both physically and emotionally. And then there's the sex (and there's plenty of it). "I go where the butt goes," he reflects while she beams, "So nice you're actually moving to a remote village in a foreign country just to satisfy an impulsive whim of mine!!" Generally, each of them draws themselves, though the panels make note of occasional reversals. The collection documents the changes in their lives as they've grown older, had a daughter (now a published cartoonist herself), moved to the south of France, and received more attention than they'd wanted through a couple of films (a documentary on the Crumb family and the adaptation of American Splendor, the acclaimed bio-pic of friend and collaborator Harvey Pekar). From the bathroom to the bedroom, they respond to the question of just how open and honest a marital comic can be. Not the most ambitious Crumb work, but there's a lot of love here.
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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780871404299
  • Publisher: Liveright Publishing Corporation
  • Publication date: 10/8/2012
  • Pages: 272
  • Sales rank: 793,367
  • Product dimensions: 8.80 (w) x 11.40 (h) x 1.30 (d)

Meet the Author

Born in Philadelphia, R. Crumb is the author of numerous comic works and one of the pioneers of underground comics. His books include Kafka, The Complete Crumb Comics (17 volumes), The R. Crumb Sketchbook (10 volumes), R. Crumb Draws the Blues, The Book of Mr. Natural, The Book of Genesis Illustrated by R. Crumb, and many more. He lives in the south of France with his wife, the artist Aline Kominsky-Crumb.

Aline Crumb is an American underground comics artist and the author of Need More Love: A Graphic Memoir. She lives in southern France.

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