“We can never see things with the x-ray vision of Superman or the deductive brilliance of Dick Tracy, but we can sure as hell remember what it was like being stomped on by authorities, whether parents, cops or some terrifying ogress of a nun, as little Robert was in his Catholic school nearly half a century ago – and we can share the bloody inventions of revenge set forth in his drawings.
“That’s why Crumb is a genuinely democratic satirist, in the fierce over-the-top way of a James Gillray – hyperbole and aggression relieved by brief intermissions of tenderness. He gets into the domain of shared dreams and does so in a language that doesn’t pretend to be “radically new”. Why on earth should he pretend? If he did, people wouldn’t know what he was drawing about. As he pointed out in an interview 30 years ago: “People have no idea of the sources for my work. I didn’t invent anything; it’s all there in the culture; it’s not a big mystery. I just combine my personal experience with classic cartoon stereotypes.” Rather than fitting him into some notion of an avant-garde, it is better to see Crumb as a dedicated anti-modernist.”