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The Life And Death Of Fritz The Cat h/c

The Life And Death Of Fritz The Cat h/c back

Robert Crumb


Page 45 Review by Stephen

He da man! He da cat wit’ da hat! He’s hung up, strung out, uptight, outta sight! He’s whatever he needs to be to get laid. He is, in fact, one long list of learned behaviour, regurgitating what’s expected of him by his peers whilst incapable of articulating anything beyond the buzzwords of the day.

“Something’s calling me out there, Winston! And my soul is heedin’ the call…! I gotta go! The soul of a poet is forever cursed with the quest to see what’s over the hill! To discover all that is hidden behind the next bend in the road!”

Truly, he is going to “bug out”, dragging lost-suffering girlfriend Winston with him.

“Ahh, Winston! My love! At last we’re zoomin’ down that ol’ lonesome highway! Ahh, it’s wild!”
“Yes, it’s marvelous!”
“Marvelous, my ass! It’s exalting! Elating! That cool night wind blowin’ past the window… Man!”
“I’m hungry… Let’s stop someplace…”
“Th’hell with stoppin’… I just want those miles t’keep flying by!”
“I’m hungry!”
“Okay! Okay! Let’s dig one o’ those little greasy truck stops… I’d like ta talk with those truck drivers… ‘n’ hear what they gotta say about life on the road! Yeah… I bet they got wild stories of the road… drivers.. trucks… hijackers… yeah!”

Needless to say reality fails to match the irresponsible idiot’s vacant daydreams. “You’d be completely lost without me,” warns Winston, and he is. Abandoning her in a broken-down car in the middle of nowhere, it’s not long before he’s a bum, “ridin’ the rails” and imagines that to be romantic too. It isn’t. A wannabe revolutionary, at one point Fritz burns his books to liberate himself from learning; also, his flat, thereby liberating a whole tenement full of friends and neighbours from anywhere to live.

It’s satire, of course, Crumb ripping the piss out of so-called sensitive souls dissing all others as phoneys. You know what I mean. It’s rife in any subculture: cliques looking down on others as impostors for not wearing the right ankh or whatever. In the secret agent escapade the satire extends to America’s fear of communist infiltration and the prevalent reduction of the Chinese, proclaimed by our monarch’s main man to be “slitty-eyed bastards”, to cartoon villains unable to pronounce the letters ‘L’ or ‘R’. I confess laughing out loud at the names Captain Stin Ki Chin Ki and Tung Nchiki but then I’m equally prone to laugh when Harry Enfield sends up all manner of English class caricatures like Wayne and Waynetta Slob and Tim Nice But Dim. You can disappear up your fundamental orifice worrying about stuff like that.

It’s beautifully drawn, even the earliest material. Fritz’s face is as expressive as all get-out, though you may be surprised at how dainty Crumb’s line is mid-period. One thing, however, remains consistent throughout and once more it’s Winston who hits the juvenile nail on its dream-addled, sex-obsessed head.

“Oh you’re such a child! Such a self-centred, egotistical child!”

Fritz the Cat: leading sex kittens aplenty right up the garden path. Or into the bath. Or into a pond. Oh god, that’s his sister.
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