If you missed last month’s sit-down with Al Jaffee of Mad magazine, here’s a chance to make up for it: Robert Crumb, another blazingly irreverent and influential cartoonist, is coming to New York for a very rare public appearance.
As if the art show of his wife and daughter’s work wasn’t exciting enough, the notoriously press-shy Crumb is traveling from his perch in rural France for a reunion of Zap Comix, the influential comic book he spearheaded shortly after his work started appearing in the East Village Other. If you’ve seen Crumb’s ubiquitous “Keep On Truckin'” image or are familiar with the bearded chouffe-like man by the name of Mr. Natural, then you know Zap Comix.
On Feb. 20 at 8 p.m., five members of the Zap Collective (Crumb, Gilbert Shelton, Robert Williams, Paul Mavrides, and Victor Moscoso) will reunite for the first time in 25 years, to celebrate Fantagraphic’s five-volume compilation The Compete Zap Comix, due out in December. Check out the 60-page preview excerpt below — it includes Crumb’s intro, in which he recalls founding Zap Comix while “burning up with LSD-inspired visions” and having a falling out with his fellow Zapsters when they declined to collaborate with other artists outside of the “Magnificent Seven” (now down to six, with the death of Spain Rodriguez).
Zap was first sold by Crumb out of a baby carriage and later in the head shops of San Francisco, but this talk is taking place in far tonier environs — at the 92nd Street Y’s Kaufmann Concert Hall. Tickets are $30, which is about $4,000 less than issue #1 is going for on eBay right now.