The Inspiration for Mr. Natural?
Don Fiene writes in the R. Crumb Checklist (Boatner Norton Press, 1981)
that "I would...like to report briefly on one discovery I made during my research that no writer on Crumb has yet metioned. The discovery concerns influence-specifically, a source (or inspiration) for Mr. Natural. ...I came upon Harvey Pekar's 1970 article in which he suggests that Crumb had borrowed Mr. Natural (that is, his physical appearance) from Prof. O. G. Wottasnozzle in the"Popeye" strip."
"I disagreed with Pekar. I thought the most likely source was the "little hitchhiker", who wore a long white beard and a smock and always kept asking the question: "Nov shmoz ka pop?"
"I found solid evidence that Crumb had been thinking about the hitchhiker as early as 1966...For instance, in the third panel of "Hey Boparee Bop",... Av and Gar say the words "Smock hock d'pop!"
"...in the strip "Av 'n Gar", a character identified as "the local acid head" says "Shmock hock d'pop"
"Finally, in a drawing published for the first time in The Complete Fritz the Cat, p74, but drawn probably in 1966 or 1967, Fritz, as the "Evil Hypnotist" says: "Nov shmoz k' pop."
(Not to mention, Crumb
actually has Natch saying this on the back cover
of The Coffee Table Art Book, which is the image I
use on the Character Main
(Museum Curator note: If you have this Fritz strip, and can send me a scan of the afore mentioned panel, can you please send it to me by email at firstname.lastname@example.org, please? Thanks)