Comic Book Cats, number five: Fritz the Cat

Comic Book Cats, number five: Fritz the Cat from R. Crumb’s Head Comics, written & drawn by Robert Crumb, published by Viking Press in 1968.
Robert Crumb is one of the influential underground comic creators of the 1960s. In recent years both the man and his work has been the subject of a certain amount of criticism due to his depictions of sexual violence and attitudes towards race relations. Nevertheless, his work is still well-regarded by many. Howard Chaykin recently stated, “I regard Crumb as being one of the great transgressive artists of the 20th century, along with Judy Chicago and Pablo Picasso.”
One of Crumb’s most famous creations was the anthropomorphic feline Fritz the Cat. Looking at the Fritz stories from a 21st Century perspective, yes, those aforementioned problematic qualities are definitely present. I’ve never been a huge fan of Crumb, but I do find some of his work entertaining. I suppose he can be regarded as an acquired taste. As like to say, your mileage may vary.
On the opening pages of this tale, Crumb utilizes Fritz and his two colleagues to lampoon the wannabe intellectuals of the counterculture, with the trio arguing over which one of them is more “sensitive” and then having them using their pretensions to culture & spiritual awareness to pick up teenage girls. Events eventually lead to an orgy in a bathtub that is crashed by an army of potheads before being broken up by the police.
This untitled story was originally done in 1965. It finally saw print three years later in the softcover book R. Crumb’s Head Comics. I scanned this from a reprint of the story collected in The Complete Crumb Comics Vol. 3 published by Fantagraphics in 1988.

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