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The Underground Comix Era climaxed with Arcade — forerunner of both Weirdo and RAW — and this volume of The Complete Crumb Comics features Robert Crumb's typically brilliant contributions to the magazine's first year:
- "Big Ass Topics" (no explanation necessary).
- "Let's Talk Sense About This Here Modern America," a vintage Crumb rant, where Bob takes on everything invented after, oh, 1932 or so. Youth culture — ugh. Pop music — ack. Mass media — arrrghh! "That's right kids, I'm just a crabby old kill-joy!" says R.C. But don't worry; Crumb also sticks it to capitalists, urban sophisticates, modern architecture, freeways and aerosol cans. If the modern rat-race gets you down, you've got a soul mate in Complete Crumb Comics.
- "That's Life!" covers the very short life of country musician Tommy Grady — he was gunned down in 1931, shortly after his first recording, done in a makeshift studio in a Memphis hotel room. This is one of Crumb's earliest blues musician bios, and also a tribute to old record collectors.
- "Frosty the Snowman and His Friends" brings in a little holiday cheer when Crumb has his lovable cartoon characters blow up Nelson Rockefeller's mansion! Fight the Capitalist Oppressor! And... Merry Christmas!
That's not all! Apart from Arcade, Crumb was showing up almost everywhere in the undergrounds, appearing in Zap, Young Lust, and other underground/alternative comics & newspapers during this period. That's where this volume picks up "Mr. Natural Meets the Kid," where the guru struggles with the embodiment of all that is vapid, sappy, and plastic, and "What Gives?" where aliens from outer space bring a message of warning to mankind. But most important of all, a new Crumbological era dawned when he and Aline Kominsky began their famous Dirty Laundry collaboration, a humorous take on the daily life of two cartoon geniuses. In the first 36-page installment, we start off with a little fun & games at the "commune" — yep, this is definitely the '70s — and then we're off on an outer space adventure with Space Commander Timothy Leary from Terra II. Then there's the flash flood, the break-up, and after solo cross-country treks, the reconciliation... Despite the fantasy elements, the depiction of Robert and Aline's relationship is grounded firmly in reality. Here Crumb isn't dealing with one of his fantasy bimbos; there's a limit to what Aline is willing to take from him, and this is probably the turning point where Crumb begins his evolution from the early "crazy, dope-smoking Underground artiste" to the later, more introspective autobiographical artist who will flower in Weirdo. (But we're getting ahead of ourselves here; that's not till Volume 12.) Of course, Volume 10 is rounded out with the usual Complete Crumb Comics odds 'n' ends you can't find anywhere else. Jams with Victor Moscoso and others. Flyers for "R. Crumb's Cheap Suit Serenaders." Full-color album cover reproductions. The Morse's Funnies cover (from a one-copy one-shot anthology by Underground cartoonists in honor of Albert Morse, their agent and lawyer). What more can we say?