Wednesday, October 17, 2012

An R. Crumb Sketch of Mr. Natural

Mr. Natural is easily my favorite character by underground comic artist R. Crumb, not that I'm all that conversant with the many facets of his work. The phenomenon of souvenir sketches drawn on first day covers must originate with collectors, who apparently believe that a sketch done on a postal rarity must be more desirable than one done on a blank sheet of paper. Modern first day covers are ubiquitous and not terribly valuable. The only examples where I could conceive of the pairing of a cover with a sketch being truly desirable is when the commemorative stamp and the cover are somehow related, for example an Al Hirschfeld drawing on an FDC with a Hirschfeld stamp. By this standard, I don't think Mr. Natural appearing on a National Parks Centennial stamp quite qualifies, although perhaps it was a reasonable effort on someone's part to make a connection. By the way, I don't imagine the Postal Service has plans ever to issue a stamp commemorating the work of R. Crumb, but wouldn't that be something, eh?

The eBay listing below has a narrative about Mr. Crumb asking to verify this work and then giving the sale his blessing. It would be interesting to know what sort of documentation exists of this interaction.

R. Crumb, Sketch of Mr. Natural, 1972


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