R Crumb and Peggy Orenstein on Disturbing Art

Peggy Orenstein: When I was about nine or ten, my brother used to collect Zapp comics. And when I saw those, they really, deeply, deeply terrified me. I was deeply upset. And I look at them, and thought, on some level, *this* is adulthood? This is what adult women are? This is what I grow up into? And it was horrifying.

Robert Crumb: Oh, my God!

Peggy Orenstein: And, I wonder if you think about the effect on people who read it, or what you’re validating for boys…

Robert Crumb: I just hope that that, somehow, revealing that truth about myself is somehow helpful. I don’t know, I just hope that it is, but I *have* to do it. Maybe I shouldn’t be allowed. Maybe I should be locked up, and have my pencils taken away from me, I just don’t know. I can’t say, you know? I can’t defend myself. It was like my daughter Sophie was watching “Goodfellas,” we got a videotape of it, and the violent part horrified her so deeply that she started getting a stomach ache, and I shut it off and wouldn’t let her watch it. Although I think it’s a great movie, a truthful movie, and I got a lot out of seeing it. But it’s obviously not for a kid. And certain harsh realities of life… you gotta, kinda, protect your kids a little bit from that. They don’t understand a lot of things yet, you know? Not everything is for children, and not everything is for everybody.

From the movie: