Weirdos: Seattle’s Alternative Comics Culture in the Context of R. Crumb’s Underground


This slide lecture was originally presented on Thursday, April 17, 2008 at the Frye Art Museum in Seattle in conjunction with the exhibit “R. Crumb’s Underground.”

To experience this interactive slideshow, click the “play” button below to begin the streaming MP3 audio. (You can also download the MP3.) At the first tone signal, click on the first slide thumbnail image below. As you listen, advance to the next slide whenever you hear the tone by clicking on the right side of the slide image. If you would like to read the text of the lecture (in a slightly abridged format), it begins below the slide image thumbnails and continues on the subsequent pages.

Stream the lecture audio here (25:50):
{audio}images/stories/artists/interviews/02%20Weirdos%20slide%20lecture%2004_17_08%202.mp3{/audio}

Click here to download the complete audio of this event (8.9 MB MP3)

{slimbox album=|weirdos| title=|"Wild Peoples" by Lynda Barry, The Rocket, July 1983|}images/stories/artists/interviews/weirdos/the_rocket_jul_1983_lynda_barry_cartoon.jpg{/slimbox} {slimbox album=|weirdos| title=|A Life in Hell strip by Matt Groening, 1987|}images/stories/artists/interviews/weirdos/life_in_hell_1987.jpg{/slimbox} {slimbox album=|weirdos| title=|Black Hole by Charles Burns, 2002|}images/stories/artists/interviews/weirdos/black_hole_burns_2002.jpg{/slimbox} {slimbox album=|weirdos| title=|Comical Funnies by Peter Bagge (front cover by John Holmstrom), 1980|}images/stories/artists/interviews/weirdos/comical_funnies_cover_1980.jpg{/slimbox} {slimbox album=|weirdos| title=|Music for Mechanics, a Love and Rockets collection, cover by Jaime Hernandez|}images/stories/artists/interviews/weirdos/music_for_mechanics_1996.jpg{/slimbox} {slimbox album=|weirdos| title=|The Rocket, August 1986, cover by Gilbert and Jaime Hernandez|}images/stories/artists/interviews/weirdos/rocket_aug_1986.jpg{/slimbox} {slimbox album=|weirdos| title=|The Rocket, January 1990, cover by Ashleigh Roffloer (aka Triangle Slash)|}images/stories/artists/interviews/weirdos/rocket_jan_1990.jpg{/slimbox} {slimbox album=|weirdos| title=|The Rocket, January 1991, cover by Don Martin|}images/stories/artists/interviews/weirdos/rocket_jan_1991_don_martin_cover.jpg{/slimbox} {slimbox album=|weirdos| title=|The Rocket, February 1992, cover by Scott McDougal|}images/stories/artists/interviews/weirdos/rocket_feb_1992_cover.jpg{/slimbox} {slimbox album=|weirdos| title=|Zap #13, front cover by Victor Moscoso, 1994|}images/stories/artists/interviews/weirdos/zapp_1994.jpg{/slimbox} {slimbox album=|weirdos| title=|The Rocket, July 1983, cover by Lynda Barry|}images/stories/artists/interviews/weirdos/rocket_jul_1983.jpg{/slimbox} {slimbox album=|weirdos| title=|"The Last Supper" by Harvey Pekar and R. Crumb, untitled strip by Ron Hauge, The Rocket, July 1983|}images/stories/artists/interviews/weirdos/rocket_jul_1983_crumb_pekar.jpg{/slimbox} {slimbox album=|weirdos| title=|"Sammy the Household Horror" by Charles Burns, The Rocket, July 1983|}images/stories/artists/interviews/weirdos/rocket_jul_1983_burns.jpg{/slimbox} {slimbox album=|weirdos| title=|"Foyce" by Gary Panter, "Why… it’s… the ‘Emerald City’ Streets" by Payton Williamson, "Jo Bell and Isabelle" by Michael Dougan, and "So You Want to Be a New Wave Cartoonist" by Matt Groening, The Rocket, July 1983|}images/stories/artists/interviews/weirdos/rocket_jul_1983_panter_dougan_etc.jpg{/slimbox} {slimbox album=|weirdos| title=|Weirdo #15, front cover by R. Crumb, 1985|}images/stories/artists/interviews/weirdos/weirdo_crumb_cover_1993.jpg{/slimbox} {slimbox album=|weirdos| title=|The Rocket, March 1991, cover by Peter Bagge|}images/stories/artists/interviews/weirdos/rocket_mar_1991_crumb_bagge_cover.jpg{/slimbox} {slimbox album=|weirdos| title=|Misfit Lit exhibition catalog, cover by Daniel Clowes, 1991|}images/stories/artists/interviews/weirdos/misfit_lit_1991.jpg{/slimbox} {slimbox album=|weirdos| title=|Hate #8 by Peter Bagge, 1992|}images/stories/artists/interviews/weirdos/hate_bagge_cover_1992.jpg{/slimbox} {slimbox album=|weirdos| title=|Jim Vol. II #1 by Jim Woodring, 1993|}images/stories/artists/interviews/weirdos/jim_cover_1993.jpg{/slimbox} {slimbox album=|weirdos| title=|The Stranger, November 8, 2007, cover by Jim Woodring|}images/stories/artists/interviews/weirdos/stranger_jan_2007_woodring.jpg{/slimbox} {slimbox album=|weirdos| title=|Weirdo #28 ("Verre D’Eau"), front cover by R. Crumb, 1993|}images/stories/artists/interviews/weirdos/verre_deau_1993.jpg{/slimbox}

Thank you all for coming tonight. I promise this will be worth the price of admission. And not a penny more.

I also want to thank Mary Jane for reading the flattering introduction I provided her. Very convincing. As she mentioned, I serve as curator and events coordinator at Fantagraphics Bookstore & Gallery, which is a lofty title I assigned myself for my current position as a clerk in a comic book shop. Actually, the label curator implies a level of sophistication that I’ve never possessed. Incorrigible ingrate maybe, or impertinent miscreant. Once, in the course of a dismissive review, former Stranger art critic Eric Fredericksen referred to me as a malcontent curator. Blissfully unaware that this wasn’t intended as a compliment, I had business cards printed: Larry Reid, Malcontent Curator. Following an extended period of unemployment, I reverted back to curator… or comic shop clerk, as the case may be.

Enough about me. The topic of conversation tonight is Weirdos. No not me…

By now you’ve all seen the exhibition “R. Crumb’s Underground.” I want to thank the Frye Art Museum for hosting this comprehensive survey by what is arguably among the most accomplished and important artists of the last half of the 20th century. It’s our rare pleasure to be able to experience this astonishing body of work. Tonight I hope to demonstrate a direct correlation between Crumb’s legacy and the internationally recognized alternative comics and graphics of the Pacific Northwest. As we will see, the relationship between Crumb’s cartooning and Seattle’s comics is both conceptual and tangible. Beyond the obvious influence that Crumb conveyed on contemporary comic art, his presence in Seattle is profoundly felt.