April 24, 1994 [Crumb]
I can't blame Hughes: the movie Crumb can be as skin-crawly as some of Crumb's drawings. And it's funny, because Crumb is nearly cute, a winking almost-rascal we forgive as easily as we've turned double-ironic Mr. Natural into pickup mudflaps and snickered at the Cat who likes gettin' it on with the chicks. At this point, Crumb is as old-timey-kooky as Janis Joplin, a brandname we can trust.
--Sort of: Crumb stares pretty long and hard at the weirdness, Crumb's Leon Redbone vibe resembling nothing like a routine, his outsider family barely hanging on to solid ground. But is this such a surprise? Aren't those dense drawings--thick and meaty with thighs and bellies, little nubs and protuberances poking along the surface of too-tight sweaters and baggy trousers--solid reminders that Crumb doesn't want to have anything to do with us? He just wants to keep drawing, whether we dig it or not--even though we do, with some regret (as it should be when one "appreciates" art: It asks for much, and takes without asking the things we try to hold on to).
I have found myself thinking strange thoughts while looking at a Crumb drawing. He finds me where I hide, and crawls in there with me and shows me something he's stolen from his father's dresser drawer. I get it, but for a minute I'm not sure I want it. But he smiles and smiles, not like Fritz but the Chesire Cat, his big square teeth lined up beneath a lounge-lizard mustache that might crawl away any moment. So I look down at what he's brought me, and then promise myself, liar that I am, to look only once more.