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home grown funnies 15th
 
brilliant writing
exceptional art
historical bonus 3
total score 10
Home Grown Funnies
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AVERAGE SCORE 8
15th Printing / late 1980s / 28 pages / Kitchen Sink
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1st Printing January, 1971
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The impressive longevity of Home Grown Funnies (16 printings and 160,000 copies sold in 30+ years) is a testament to the alluring power of Robert Crumb's 22-page epic love story, "Whiteman Meets Bigfoot." In this classic but unusually plotted (for Crumb) tragicomedy, a middle-class family man falls in love with a female Bigfoot in remote mountain territory and forsakes everything to fulfill his destiny with her.

The husband and father in this story is none other than Whiteman, a recurring Crumb character first introduced in Zap Comix #1 and always portrayed as a straight-laced capitalist obsessed with projecting a nose-to-the-grindstone All-American image, even when he is riddled with internal doubt. In "Whiteman Meets Bigfoot," Whiteman is vacationing with his wife and two kids when he is suddenly abducted in a forest by a monstrous Bigfoot (or Sasquatch or Abominable Snowman, all used in the story) and hauled off to a distant mountain range. Whiteman is eventually gifted to Bigfoot's daughter as a husband, and the daughter carries him off into the woods to build a newlywed nest. Whiteman soon tries to escape but is easily recaptured by the athletic and speedy female Bigfoot.

That evening, as Whiteman tries to ward off the chill of a frigid forest night, he snuggles up to the sleeping Bigfoot for warmth and is alarmed at his own sexual arousal. "Jeezus!" he declares. "I seem to be getting an erection!" It's not long before he completely succumbs to his wanton desires and ravages the beefy beast, much to her delight.

The story cuts to six weeks later and Whiteman is still living with Bigfoot in the forest. He has given his mate a proper name (Yetti) and has experienced an epiphany, realizing that his old life sucked compared to what he now had, which was a life free from corporate bullshit and filled with great sex with his sexually insatiable Yetti. But he still feels guilty about abandoning his family and asks Yetti to come with him to the city so he can explain everything that has happened to his wife. Yetti, who doesn't speak nor understand English, has no clue what Whiteman is talking about, but she follows him through the woods for several days until they finally encounter a campground of humans...who promptly overpower Whiteman, knock out Yetti and turn her over to the nearest forest ranger station.

Yetti is quickly incarcerated for scientific study at the Federal Abominable Snowman Research Center and Whiteman has no choice but to go back home to his wife and kids, but he feels no motivation to resume his old life or his old job. Two weeks later, a doctor at the Research Center calls Whiteman and asks him to come in and answer a few questions about the "abominable snowwoman." Whiteman instantly agrees and rushes down to the Center to answer the doctor's questions, but afterwards he demands to see Yetti in her prison-like cell and the doctor reluctantly agrees. Whiteman and Yetti's romantic reunion in the cell inspires both of them to bust out of the Center and head for freedom. But between the gawking stares of strangers and the unexpected intervention of Whiteman's wife, their pursuit of liberty is constantly in peril.

Unlike so many stories in Robert Crumb's first decade of comics, "Whiteman Meets Bigfoot" winds down to a blissful conclusion without any artifice of irony or cynicism. As odd as it may appear on the surface, Whiteman and Yetti were destined for a lifelong romance, and Crumb allows them to live happily ever after.

Home Grown Funnies also presents three other comic stories that merit comment. On the back cover, "The Desperate Character Writhes Again" helps cement one of several aspects of Crumb's personality that perfectly align with the '60s hippies' standard set of values (despite his proclaimed loathing of hippies). This one is that the world's mega-corporations and military power structures are destroying Earth's environment and godammit something has to be done to stop them!

The inside front cover features the one-page "Maryjane," a transparently autobiographical story about Crumb's relationship with his first wife Dana, which illuminates Crumb as the selfish, self-serving bastard that he was in the early years of his rocketing fame.

The lead story in Home Grown Funnies is "Angelfood McDevilsfood in Backwater Blues," a three-page tale that incorporates many of the racist and sexist elements that Crumb often used as ammunition to lampoon a racist and sexist society and/or used in a fruitless attempt to exorcise the darker demons swirling in his soul. He caught plenty of hell from all corners either way. As Crumb would say, "it's just ink on paper, folks!"

The 16th printing of Home Grown Funnies is now sold out, but you can find a newer copy plenty cheap on eBay. It's one of those "required reading" items in any underground comic book fan's collection.
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keyline
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HISTORICAL FOOTNOTES:

There are currently 16 printings of this comic book, all by Kitchen Sink Press. The first 11 printings all have 50-cent cover prices and are not easily distinguished by tells on the front cover. However, they can be distinguished by statements made or not made in the indicia on the inside front cover. The 1st printing does not incidate which printing it is in the indicia, but the next 10 printings do state their printing order. The remaining printings are distinguished by their cover prices. The 12th printing has a 75-cent cover price. The 13th printing has a $1.00 cover price. The 14th printing has a $2.00 cover price. The 15th printing has a $2.50 cover price and adds a banner at the top of the front cover stating "Over 150,000 Copies Sold!" The 16th printing has a $3.50 cover price.

The 1st printing produced 10,000 copies, the 2nd printing was 20,000 copies, the 3rd through 8th printings were 10,000 copies each, the 9th through 11th printings were 5,000 copies each, the 12th printing was 10,000 copies, the 13th printing was 5,000 copies, and the number of copies produced for the 14th through 16th printings is currently unknown (I would presume 5,000 copies each).

In the mid 1970s, "Whiteman Meets Bigfoot" inspired TV commercial director Boyd Jacobson to write an original screenplay for a film based on the comic. The screenplay expanded Crumb's original story and Jacobson persuaded Crumb to do a set of original drawings to illustrate new sections for the movie, which Crumb completed in 1977. Though Crumb was paid one dollar a year by Jacobson for a number of years to retain movie rights to the story, the film was never made. When Crumb finally let the rights expire, he and Terry Zwigoff crafted their own version of the screenplay, only to drop the project when the movie Harry and the Hendersons came out in 1987. Now that nearly a quarter century has passed since Harry and the Hendersons was released, I think the world is ready for a "Whiteman Meets Bigfoot" movie.
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COMIC CREATOR:
Robert Crumb - 1-28
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home grown funnies spacer10 home grown funnies 2nd spacer10 homeg rown funnies-7th spacer10 home grown funnies 16th
1st Printing
50-cent cover, does not state printing on IFC.
2nd Printing
50-cent cover, states printing on IFC.
7th Printing
50-cent cover, states printing on IFC.
16th Printing
$3.50 cover.