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R. Crumb self-portrait
R. Crumb self-portrait


Aug. 10, 2011

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A story about R. Crumb in Australia’s The Sunday Telegraph newspaper aggravated the cartoonist so much that he cancelled his appearance at the annual Graphic festival in Sydney, Aug. 20-21, 2011, which would have been his first visit to the country. The offending article said that Crumb creates “extreme drug-fuelled drawings, depicting incest, rape, paedophilia and bestiality” and quoted child-protection advocate Hetty Johnston calling Crumb “a very warped human being.”

"It was strong stuff and it made me look very, very bad," Crumb told The Australian. "All it takes is a few people who overreact to something like that to show up and cause unpleasantness. I have a lot of anxiety about having to confront some angry sexual assault crisis group."

According to the paper, festival co-curator Jordan Verzar has asked Crumb to rethink his decision, but announced on the event’s Facebook page that the “R. Crumb conversation with Gary Groth and Old Time Jukebox featuring Captain Matchbox” were both cancelled.

“It's a very, very disappointing situation,” Verzar wrote. “There were a legion of people eagerly anticipating his visit and the Graphic team and Sydney Opera House had been working for months to pull together the shows he was involved with and to supply an enjoyable first visit to Australia for him. I sincerely doubt that he will ever make it to Australia now.”

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