Karnal Komix presents What A World! Starring Two Cats and a Bird, Part Two, 1972 (4) pen and ink with brush on paper sight each sheet 12 3/4 x 8 3/4in (32.3 x 22.3cm)
Exhibition: Lyon, France, Institut d'art contemporain de Villeurbanne, Biennale d'art contemporain, September 12 - December 31st, 2005
Note: This story marks the end of Crumb's six page introduction for Funny Animals, No. 1, Apex Novelties, 1972. In this story, the artist explores the apparently senseless violence of two small male cats as they vent their hunger on an unsuspecting female bird character. Is it a coincidence that Crumb drew these two stories in the same comic book that first published Art Spiegelman's first installment of Maus? We will never know, but with this second story for "What A World," Crumb balances the level of predatory violence and the prowling cats get their cum-up pence.
In their 1970s comics, both Crumb and Spiegelman explored funny-animal themes that were used so innocently in the 1940s and 1950s by artists such as Carl Barks with his Walt Disney characters Donald Duck and his nephews. Crumb and Spiegelman shocked readers when they took the animals out of their non-threatening story lines and brought them into a world of serious adult themes. The artists wanted to dig under the skin of human behavior for revelations that before this time were never expected out of the comic book genre.
Didier Moiselet describes one of Crumbs characters as "the embodiment of even object of all the phantasms of Robert Crumb, where the grotesque and the monstrous are at the most. A fantastic graphism, opposite of the one 'Abstract Expressionist'. Within the art trends, Crumb affiliates himself to the expressionism of Brueghel and to the grotesque of Heironymous Bosch. Closer to us, he refers to himself to Daumier and George Grosz."