I'm not so happy that the interviewer described Crumb as "perhaps the most influential cartoonist of his or any generation," since, even though he's a great talent, I wouldn't consider him the most influential. There are many other candidates for that position. No Joe Shuster, no superheroes. No Jack Kirby, no Marvel Universe. And as Cortney Skinner just pointed out to me, can you imagine a world with no Walt Disney?
But that wasn't what so horrified me I felt compelled to set the issue down and come tell you about it. No, what disturbed me was one of the things Crumb had to say in answer to a question about which art supplies he uses. His response caused smoke to erupt from my ears and nostrils, and I had to stop and vent.
When asked what kind of paper he used, Crumb said:
Well, I use the old Strathmore vellum surface paper, which is the best paper you can get in the Western world for ink line drawing. It has a good, hard surface. I have it mailed from the New York Central Art Supply in New York. For a while I was using this old Strathmore paper from fifty years ago that some guy sent me, it had bad comic art on one side, hacked-out comic work from 1959, 1960, but the paper is superior to anything you can get now. It just holds the ink better. I ran out of that and now I use this new stuff that's not quite as good.
I don't often go WTF, but Crumb—WTF? Say it ain't so!
Alas, I fear that it is.
Can any Crumb experts out there attest to validity of this statement? And—assuming it's true—can you let the rest of us know what original mainstream comics artwork is now hidden on the flipside of Crumb drawings?
Oh, the humanity!