Saturday, August 17, 2013

Bookplate Signed and Numbered by R. Crumb

Using a signed and numbered bookplate as a substitute for a printed limitation page strikes one as an intentionally unimpressive way to create a limited edition book. Many limited editions use expensive and exquisite materials to create fine examples of the bookmaker's art. The limited edition of Volume 5 of R. Crumb's Sketchbook, on the other hand, differs from the standard trade edition only by the presence of a bookplate, and not an especially appealing one at that.

Crumb, as a counterculture icon, faces a dilemma. He might not be comfortable being associated with a lavish, limited-edition book which some might consider elitist. He does wants to be commercial, but he deliberately wants his commercialism to feel a bit crass and perhaps self-mocking. Hence we find the relatively cheap bookplate adorning the limited edition book.

R. Crumb, Sketchbook, Volume 5: Late 1967 & Early 1968, Front Cover.
The R. Crumb Sketchbook, Volume 5
Limitation bookplate No. 245 of 400 signed by R. Crumb.

Mr. Natural, Fatback & Thin Gruel, Little Girl

Crumb deliberately may choose sketchbook cover images for their inappropriateness or offensiveness.

Boing:  The Magazine that Flips You Out! and Gingerbread Princess

Mickey Mouse, Abie the Agent

True Congestions, "If Ya Wanna Be a Top Banana, Ya Gotta Start At the Bottom of the Bunch!"

"I'm a physical being!"

R. Crumb's Funny Book, One Way

Street Corner Comics, The Grabbies are Coming!

Holy Toledo Comics

Fun Fact:  R. Crumb is never mistaken for David Mamet

True Romances

Back Cover

R. Crumb, The R. Crumb Sketchbook, Volume 5: Late 1967 & Early 1968, Front Cover

March 17, 2014 Update:

Note:  See my previous posts on R. Crumb here if you dare.


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