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excellent writing
exceptional art
historical bonus 2
total score 8
The People's Comics
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fritz the cat
Fritz the Cat
1st Printing / September, 1972 / 28 pages / Golden Gate Publishing
This all-Robert Crumb book is famous among underground comic fans for the story about Fritz the Cat getting murdered with an ice pick. Crumb had created Fritz as a young boy and the character became wildly popular after Fritz the Cat was published in 1968, but he was keenly disappointed by Ralph Bakshi's X-rated film Fritz the Cat in 1972, and quickly killed the character to prevent any additional films (it didn't work).

Beyond "Fritz the Cat, Superstar," the insightful "Confessions of R. Crumb" provides plenty to chew on. Crumb conveys a dreadful world filled with appalling people, mundane exercises, inescapable forces and compulsive obsessions, and how living on this planet fucks us up from the day we're born. As Crumb related in The R. Crumb Handbook, "I hate the way the human psyche works, the way we are traumatized and stupidly imprinted in early childhood and have to spend the rest of our lives trying to overcome these infantile mental fixations. And we never ever fully succeed in this endeavor." Crumb provides the opportunity for readers to take the first step towards addressing their own trauma: by facing its origins and its ramifications, laid bare in The People's Comics.

The back cover features an early contribution from Harvey Pekar, almost four years before the birth of American Splendor
There are seven printings of this comic book, the 1st by Golden Gate Publishing Company and the latter six by Kitchen Sink Enterprises. The 1st printing (unknown copies) has a 50-cent cover price and the Golden Gate logo on the front cover. The 2nd and 3rd printings (5,000 copies each) both have 75-cent cover prices but are identified on the inside front cover (the 2nd printing states "54321" and the 3rd states "5432"). The 4th printing (5,000 copies) has a $1.00 cover price. The 5th has a $2.00 cover price, the 6th has a $2.95 cover price and the 7th has a $4.95 cover price, but it is currently unknown how many copies were produced for each printing (likely to be about 5,000 copies). The latter six printings feature a Kitchen Sink logo on the cover.
Robert Crumb - 1-27, 28 (art)
Harvey Pekar - 28 (script)