Lot 280 of 340:
R. CRUMB * Illustrated "NOTE" Letter to Marty Pahls, 1961  

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Lot closed - Sold For (Includes Buyers Premium):$4,500
$1,500 - $2,500

R. Crumb Handwritten and Illustrated "Note" Letter to Marty Pahls, 1961

Crumb, Robert





8.5" x 11" sheet folded to form a four-page 5.5" x 8.5" pamphlet, cover illustrated and lettered by Crumb in blue ballpoint pen ("Monday / 11 December / 1961 / SPECIAL AIRMAIL ISSUE"). The three-page text is pencilled in a small, neat hand; the last page is illustrated with a vignette of a minstrel. Very fine condition, original folds, a few small, light spots of soiling. Cover signed "R. Crumb," last page signed "CRUMB."

"The main thing that holds me back is fear... I guess I'm my own worst enemy, as they say."

Marty Pahls was an "intellectual-folknik-literary" Kent State freshman when he met a reclusive R. Crumb in 1958. The two became very close, with Pahls serving as Crumb's lifeline to the outside world. As Crumb reflected in 1989, after Pahls' death, "We developed a strong relationship based on mutual interests, we wrote long letters to each other for years.... He was the first 'outsider' to appreciate the great Crumb artistic genius." -The Complete Crumb Comics vol. 4 [Fantagraphics: 1989].

The letter's cover illustration depicts a bespectacled, bow-tied, hat-wearing 18-year-old Crumb. As he leaves his house he considers his fellow human creatures with a look of comingled perplexity and trepidation. In the letter, Crumb responds to Pahl's invitation to visit and muses about his own social insecurities ("I really don't know what has made me a recluse. Is society to blame or am I? When I go out among people, I get the feeling that I just don't belong... the effort to adjust is painful. Yet I want experience, I want to see life and people and all..."). Crumb concludes the letter by discussing his latest Fritz the Cat story and mentioning some old records he's recently discovered. A revealing missive touching on three of Crumb's four major obsessions: alienation, comics, and old records (all that's missing is women).

The letter is printed in full in Your Vigor for Life Appalls Me: Robert Crumb Letters, 1958-1977 [Fantagraphics: 1998], pp. 181-82.

Consignments Accepted for PBA's Next Comic Book Auction. Golden Age, Silver Age, Pre-Code, Original Art, Interesting Ephemera Sought. Contact [email protected] for details.

PBA COMICS March 26th Comic Book Sale catalogues available. Supplies Limited. Softcover catalogues limited to 200 copies ($45 + $5 postage/handling). Hardcovers limited to 26 lettered copies, dust jackets, special limitation plates ($150). Contact [email protected].


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