Sophie Crumb: Evolution of a Crazy Artist

By Leroy Douresseaux
November 15, 2010 - 14:23

Sophie Crumb: Evolution of a Crazy Artist cover image

Sophie Crumb is the daughter of legendary Underground Comix artist Robert Crumb and alt-cartoonist, Aline Kominsky-Crumb.  Sophie is also a cartoonist and comic book creator, having worked with her parents on Dirty Laundry Comics and on her own series, Bellybutton Comix (both published by Fantagraphics Books).  Now, Sophie has her first art book/retrospective in Sophie Crumb: Evolution of a Crazy Artist.

According to a press release for Evolution of a Crazy Artist, Sophie’s parents saved thousands of her drawings from the age of two, because “they saw in Sophie’s work a level of talent and sophistication that could not be ignored.”  Together, father, mother, and daughter culled just over 250 of those drawings for Evolution of a Crazy Artist.  They divided the work into six chronological sections that, in theory, would allow the reader to follow Sophie’s development as an artist from childhood to adulthood.

From what he writes in his introduction to this volume, R. Crumb wants this book to not only reveal Sophie’s artistic development, but also her psychological development.  He writes, “…to track the development, the evolution, of a given human being through the medium of drawing, starting from very early childhood.”  I have to give R. and Aline credit, because going through this book, it is obvious they selected drawings and pieces that do hint at both their daughter’s artistic and psychological development.

Here, is the problem.  Some may see Sophie Crumb: Evolution of a Crazy Artist as a vanity publication – a book that exists merely to take advantage of R. Crumb’s notoriety.  After all, this book would likely not exist if Sophie were not Crumb’s daughter.

I think, however, that Sophie is quite talented and has major potential both as a cartoonist and comic book creator.  Several years ago, Fantagraphics Books sent me the first copy of Bellybutton Comics (and set up an interview for me with Sophie).  Bellybutton Comics #1 obviously revealed the influence of R. Crumb on Sophie, but overall, her influences seemed to come from all over the place.  Her work in Bellybutton Comix was as much European and feminist, as it was Underground Comix.  Most of all, she simply seemed independent, a fresh voice who would use familiar styles and iconography, but in a way that was so different from what anyone else was saying.

You can see that independent streak in Evolution of a Crazy Artist, but the book is what it says it is – an evolution of or a look at an artist’s development.  For all the images that this book offers, however, it really doesn’t show her talents as a cartoonist and comix creator.  I think people already familiar with Sophie’s work will want Sophie Crumb: Evolution of a Crazy Artist.

As nice as this book is, I’d rather more Sophie comix.


Last Updated: August 31, 2023 - 08:12

    RSS       Mobile       Contact        Advertising       Terms of Service    ComicBookBin

© Copyright 2002-2023, Toon Doctor Inc. - All rights Reserved. All other texts, images, characters and trademarks are copyright their respective owners. Use of material in this document (including reproduction, modification, distribution, electronic transmission or republication) without prior written permission is strictly prohibited. Toon Doctor ® is registered trademarks of Toon Doctor Inc. Privacy Policy