Melotoons nr. 2

series: Melotoons
volume: 2
publisher: Peter Kuper
publish date: 01-02-1976
language: English
coloring: black/white
used condition: good

In 1972, the barely teen-aged Cleveland resident Peter Kuper traded Robert Crumb a collection of 78-rpm jazz records for the right to publish some artwork from Crumb's 1971 sketchbook. The result of that trade was two issues of the amateur, magazine-size publication Melotoons, the first appearing in 1972 and the second in 1976. Melotoons #2 also includes a reprint of Gary Griffith's interesting Cleveland Magazine article-slash-interview with Crumb from 1972.

As mentioned in my review of Artistic Comics, it's always interesting to see Crumb's mind at work, and the often crude sketches in Melotoons do show that off to some degree. But there are a lot of resources that do a better (and much more thorough) job of presenting those insights, chief among them The Complete Crumb Comics series of books from Fantagraphics Books.

Still, how cool must it have been for Peter Kuper, all of 14 years old, trading old records for sketchbook art from Robert Crumb? Kuper went on to a very successful and ongoing career in comics and illustration, co-founding the political anthology World War 3 Illustrated in 1979. He is highly recognized by MAD magazine enthusiasts for taking over Antonio Prohias' Spy vs. Spy comic strips in 1997, resulting in over 150 appearances in the magazine. I had the pleasure of attending Kuper's appearance at the San Diego Comic-Con in 2011, where he was featured on a fascinating panel of long-time MAD contributors (including Sergio Aragonés and Dick DeBartolo).

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