" I'll try being nicer if you'll try being smarter."
in in the year 2000 Fantagraphic Books
published a remarkable 17-edition series
nearly everything that artist Robert
Crumb had ever drawn. It was called,
enough, The Complete Crumb. I
love everything about them except the,
thankfully few, comics in which
his wife, Aline Kominsky Crumb,
was co-artist. To put it gently, they
hurt my head when I look at them.
One of the stories, written in the early
80s, featured the famous Mr. Natural.
He was having
discussion with Doctor Wanowsky, an old
friend, when they stopped to have
On the menu was boiled cabbage, something
both considered a delicacy.
About this time a fan of Mr. Natural
showed up. At first he was humble and
contrite but Mr. Natural, in his own
peculiar way, soon showed the young man
that hero worship was a fool's game.
With his eyes opened the young man began
to assert himself and began playing loud
rock music and trying to get Mr. Natural
and his friend to smoke pot with him.
They declined. The doctor left in a huff
and Mr. Natural bid the lad a hasty farewell,
but not without first gifting him his
his very own, very special mantra...
Owa Tagoo Siam. (Repeat until the
manifestation of cosmic awareness.)
When I first read this story when it
was first published (What? You don't
have your very own first-edition copies
of Zap Comics?) I was on the
young man's side. To me, Mr. Natural
and the Doctor
were perfect examples of a couple of
loony old turds.
Now, having read it again twenty-five
years later, I thought "Mmmm. Boiled
Yeah, I'm old.