Thursday, August 9, 2018

R. Crumb: Bible of Filth Hardcover – December 12, 2017 by R. Crumb (David Zwirner Books)

What a beautifully produced little book, from the quality hard cover to the red endpapers, gilt page edging, genuine bible-thin pages and red satin bookmark ribbon. Then there's the art, covering Crumb's best sexual fantasies, oddities and perversions from 1968 onward. A version of this book was first published in France in 1986, then updated by a Dutch publisher in 20017. Now an American publisher has had the cajones to bring it out in the U.S. Sure, these drawings don't conform to Antioch University sexual standards, but personal fantasy never has. These ironic and revelatory single page drawings and strips come from one highly talented man's fevered imagination. Most would keep them secret, but Crumb has been willing to share his fantasies for the edification of everyone who's ever wondered "Am I normal? Are there others out there like me?" f

One of America’s most celebrated cartoonists, R. Crumb helped define cartoon and punk subcultures of the 1960s and '70s with comic strips like Fritz the Cat, Mr. Natural and Keep on Truckin’. The open sexuality of his work, paired with frequent self-deprecation and a free, almost stream-of-consciousness style, has made Crumb into a global voice and a renowned contemporary artist.

Originally published in France in 1986 by Futuropolis, the first edition of Bible of Filth was never distributed in the United States because of its graphic sexual content, which included some of Crumb’s most explicit comics from underground magazines such as Snatch, Jiz, Zap, XYZ, Big Ass and Uneeda. This revised and expanded English edition, published by David Zwirner Books, contains all the original pieces from the 1986 volume, with over 100 pages of additional material. Organized chronologically, there are comics from 1968 to 1986 that were omitted from the first edition and an entirely new selection of work from after 1986.

Printed on bible paper and bound in leather, with gold debossing and edging, this volume looks and feels like a traditional bible, with no outward suggestion of what it contains. This revised and expanded Bible of Filth is the perfect introduction for newcomers, while retaining its status as an important collector’s item for Crumb enthusiasts around the world.

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