Aline Kominsky-Crumb, the underground comics artist known for her frank, feminist works, died on November 29 from pancreatic cancer at her home in France. She was 74. The news, first spread on social media, was later confirmed by sources close to the family, according to Forbes. Born Aline Goldsmith in Long Island to well-off yet dysfunctional parents — the artist’s autobiographical comic Dream House is a brutal look into her upbringing — Kominsky-Crumb relocated to New York City for a stint at Cooper Union. Though she experimented with the countercultural lifestyle and art world of the 1960s, she found the whole affair to be elitist and eventually packed her bags to study at the University of Arizona. Post-grad life for Kominsky-Crumb could be found in San Francisco, where she arrived in the early 1970s and joined a feminist art collective. The group produced Wimmen’s Comix, one of the first feminist comics produced entirely by women, with topics that ranged from queer life to abortion to rape. The artist left the collective over disagreements about works that some found to be too unsparing (her alter ego character Bunch, for example, would sometimes pop pimples or masturbate or pick her butt). So in 1975, she founded a new women’s comic: Twisted Sisters.
Together with her husband and collaborator Robert Crumb and their daughter Sophie, she moved to the south of France in 1990, where she continued to produce comics and paintings. Kominsky-Crumb found mainstream success with her 2007 memoir, Need More Love, which launched a critical reevaluation of her work and earned the artist hard-won acclaim. In her later years, the cartoonist’s work could be found in major galleries and bookstores, with her most recent work, Crumb Family Covid Exposé, published by David Zwirner.