I was about fifteen and my idol was Eric Drooker. He was in the eleventh grade, the first boy in school to have an earring, to wear black Danskins and clogs and eyeliner and modeled himself on David Bowie. We would hang out at his place in the East Village and talk about comic books and girls and listen to Frank Zappa records. Over his bed, Eric had a bookcase full of underground comics in individual plastic sleeves. Before long, I shared his obsession with Robert Crumb.
Crumb was bold, scandalous, loved old records and voluptuous women’s bodies, hated the hypocrisy and materialism of American culture, and drew like an angel. We studied his crosshatching and adopted his spelling and his politics. It’s an obsession I’ve continued to feed for thirty years, though my Crumbiana is all dog-eared and well thumbed rather than in pristine collector’s condition.
Eric went on to publish his own graphic novels and draw covers for the New Yorker and I’m sure people keep his work in plastic bags of their own now. You can check some of it out here. My own path was more humble.
However ….when we talked to Crumb tonight (he and his wife Aline are visiting NY from their home in the South of France), Patti asked him, “What was the best butt you ever saw?” which threw him into a paroxysm of revery and he waxed eloquent about Serena Williams. To me, he said “I love Everyday Matters. Thanks so much.” and my fifteen-year-old self died and went to heaven.
Now, I wonder, is his signed copy of my book in a plastic sleeve?