Thursday, June 10th, 2010

Why R. Crumb Will Never Draw for the 'New Yorker' Again

CrumbsFor every freelancer who's ever had a story or a photo or an illustration killed by a capricious-seeming magazine editor, take heart! It happens even to the most famous of us. In the new issue of The Paris Review-edited by TPR managing editor and Awl pal Caitlin Roper!-R. Crumb explains why he'll never draw for David Remnick's New Yorker again.

I was asked by one of the art editors, Françoise Mouly, Art Spiegelman's wife, to submit both covers and comic strips to them. I don't remember how it came about that all the strips ended up being collaborations with Aline. I guess maybe, probably, it was that I didn't feel comfortable doing solo strips for The New Yorker because of all the obvious restrictions and limitations–no explicit sex, etcetera–but, hell, the pay was good, and it's easy to do those strips with Aline without feeling too terribly confined. But I began to feel compromised after an editor there rejected a cover I did for them and would give me no explanation, and so I'm through working for The New Yorker. I refuse to work for anyone under those circumstances, no matter how much they pay. I saw what that did to Harvey Kurtzman's confidence as an artist, and resolved when I was still in my twenties to never let myself get into a trap like that.

I kind of love that.

There is lots of other great stuff in the issue! Including short stories by Colum McCann, Ann Beattie and Geek Love author Katherine Dunn, poems by Jorie Graham and Cynthia Zarin, and amazing photos of Haiti by Jeff Antebi. You may purchase it at your finer local booksellers or on the magazine's website.

11 Comments / Post A Comment

Art Yucko (#1,321)

…but I was so looking forward to the Devil Girl Choco Bar tear-out coupons

DMcK (#5,027)

The New Yorker gets hundreds of drawings and cartoons submitted to them constantly, and rejects a vast majority of them, regardless of whether they're from a fresh-faced new cartooning talent or a veteran who's been a fixture for decades. They simply can't "explain" every last one, so they don't. It may seem harsh, but it's oddly egalitarian too; anyway, that's how they work, and Crumb is being a bit of a prima donna about this if you ask me.

Clip Arthur (#2,024)

What you say makes sense but for one thing: Adrian Tomine gets his work in there all the time. But no R. Crumb?

DMcK (#5,027)

Hmm, good point. No accounting for taste, I guess?

dikwad (#2,308)

If they solicited his work, and it sounds like they did, then they at least owe him an explanation. It's not like he just sent it to them in the hopes that they use it.

theGoldenAss (#4,853)

Crumb sucks. His drawings are infinitely more crude than they are clever. They look like some Midwestern teen boy's fantasy. I know what everyone's going to say, that he's anti-authoritarian and that he challenges the notion of the cartoon. I see that, too, but his cartoons are just too damned unsophisticated to be interesting.

musicmope (#428)

I doubt anyone is going to say that. The hive mind will say he's unrelentingly honest, and spiritually attuned to the Great American Unconscious. And it will be correct. Curious whom you would view to be a sophisticated cartoonist.

theGoldenAss (#4,853)

You're going to laugh, and rightly so, but I think Chris Ware has done some fabulous stuff. Jamie Hewlett is also good, but obviously he's not American.

HiredGoons (#603)

It's just because Upper East Siders recoil from a set of tits that weren't sculpted.

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