Cartoonist Robert Crumb was one of a long and continuing line of artists who used his medium as a form of confessional. In his particular case it was sexual quirks, committed to paper and, in his early career, destroyed in fits of guilt and shame. Then came the sexual revolution of the 1960s and a new-found spirit of free expression and acceptance, which led the American to publish his therapeutic artwork rather than consign it to the dustbin.
In 2007, TASCHEN published a volume of these works as selected by the artist himself, and now a compact (and greatly more affordable) edition is being released. Robert Crumb’s Sex Obsessions, produced in collaboration with the publisher’s “Sexy Book Editor” Dian Hanson, includes celebrated strips such as My Troubles with Women and How to Have Fun With a Strong Girl, along with 60 single page drawings. So what was it that floated the boat of the famously outré Crumb? Physically powerful women were a major kink, especially when subdued by wimpish artistic nerd types. In one of the panels he details a pick-up technique — one which if employed these days would surely end in jail time and a stint on a register. “I made up for all those years of deprivation by lunging maniacally at women I was attracted to… squeezing faces and humping legs… I usually got away with it… famous eccentric artist, you know… they made allowances for my behaviour… I blush with shame at the thought of it.” As well you might, Mr Crumb. As well you might. Robert Crumb’s Sex Obsessions is available from TASCHEN.