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A 'Handbook' to Robert Crumb

R. Crumb, a pioneer of underground comics, got his start drawing illustrations for greeting cards.
R. Crumb, a pioneer of underground comics, got his start drawing illustrations for greeting cards.

Underground comic book artist Robert Crumb began drawing comics more than 40 years ago. Crumb, creator of Zap Comix, is the artist behind such 1960s and '70s icons as Mr. Natural, Fritz the Cat, and Keep-on-Truckin.

Despite the frustrated and obscure qualities of his cartoon alter-ego, Crumb has enjoyed a renewed fame in recent years. In the 1990s, he was the subject of an award-winning documentary by director Terry Zwigoff. Now a new book, The R. Crumb Handbook, written with Peter Poplaski, offers a visual biography of Crumb's life. It also includes a CD of his musical performances with various groups.

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Combine an intelligent interviewer with a roster of guests that, according to the Chicago Tribune, would be prized by any talk-show host, and you're bound to get an interesting conversation. Fresh Air interviews, though, are in a category by themselves, distinguished by the unique approach of host and executive producer Terry Gross. "A remarkable blend of empathy and warmth, genuine curiosity and sharp intelligence," says the San Francisco Chronicle.