Mr. Natural (Fred Natural) is a "comic book" character created and drawn by the 1960s counter culture and underground comix artist Robert Crumb. The character first appeared in the first issue of Yarrowstalks in May 5 1967.

At first appearance, he is a mystic guru who spouts aphorisms on the evils of the modern world and the salvation to be found in mysticism and natural living. He has renounced the material world and lives off anything he can get in exchange for his nuggets of wisdom.
Usually depicted as slightly overweight (although his size varies), he is bald, has a long white beard, and wears a gown which makes him resemble the Old Testament God or a prophet.
Part wise man, part conman, Mr. Natural has strange, magical powers and possesses cosmic insight, but is also moody, cynical, self-pitying, and suffers from various strange sexual obsessions. He is endlessly being accosted by would-be disciples seeking the truth (among them such long-running Crumb characters as Flakey Foont and Shuman the human). He typically regards them with amused condescension and a certain grudging affection, although his patience often wears thin and he takes sadistic pleasure in making them feel like idiots. While he is typically very cool and in control, he sometimes ends up in humiliating predicaments like getting tossed in jail for child molestation or languishing for years in a mental institution. In recent years he has entered into a tempestuous relationship with Devil Girl, another popular Crumb character. Enormously popular during the underground comics fad of the '60s and '70s and still enjoying a cult following today, Mr. Natural has been endlessly merchandised -- as a decorative plastic statue and on bumper stickers, posters, T-shirts, etc.
It may be observed that Mr. Natural might be a metaphor for Crumb himself and his own iconic standing with some in the hippie movement of the '60s and '70s, who identified Crumb as a kind of inspirational leader.
Some cartoon buffs see a strong physical (if not persona) resemblance between Mr. Natural and Mr. Blotto, a character created by Gene Ahern, a syndicated cartoonist of an earlier era. An homage is sometimes read into this. (See external link, below.) Mr. Natural also somewhat resembles an E.C. Segar character, Dr. O.G. Whottashnozzle.
In the film Comic Book Confidential, Crumb says that he was inspired to draw the character when he heard a radio DJ jokingly calling himself "Mr. Natural".
In the '70s, a pornographic film was made featuring Mr. Natural and the Fabulous Furry Freak Brothers. The film was called Up in Flames and was made without the knowledge or permission of Crumb or the Freak Brothers' creator, Gilbert Shelton.



Anonymous said...

Issues 2 & 3 are corrupt / missing images and give errors when I try to read them. Can you fix these and re-upload please?

Thanks in advance.