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The Book of Genesis Illustrated
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The best place to witness Crumb's genius. Largely stripped of the sociopolitical context that has made his comics so controversial over the years, Genesis’ portraits of ancient men and women struggling to survive shows that his primary interest lies in chronicling the physical and mental experience of being human. — Thrillist.com
Starred Review. Crumb’s vivid visual characterizations of the myriad characters, pious and wicked, make the most striking impression. His distinctive, highly rendered drawing style imparts a physicality that few other illustrated versions of this often retold chronicle have possessed. The centenarian elders show every one of their years, and the women, from Eve to Rachel, are as solidly sensual as any others Crumb has so famously drawn. — Booklist
To say this book is a remarkable volume or even a landmark volume in comic art is somewhat of an understatement.... stands on its own as one of this century’s most ambitious artistic adaptations of the West’s oldest continuously told story. — Paul Buhle (The Jewish Daily Forward)
It’s a cartoonist’s equivalent of the Sistine Chapel. It’s awesome. Crumb has done a real artist’s turn here—he’s challenged himself and defied all expectation. ... I’ve read Genesis before. But never have I found it so compelling. By placing it squarely in the Middle East—and populating it with distinctively Semitic-looking people—Crumb makes it come alive brilliantly. — Susan Jane Gilman (Morning Edition, NPR)
[A] beautifully drawn and relentlessly faithful rendition of the first 50 chapters of the Bible by an apostle of the 1960s and sometimes profane progenitor of underground comics. Crumb has produced what could be the ultimate graphic novel. — David Colton (USA Today)
About the Author
Born in Philadelphia, R. Crumb is the author of numerous comic works and one of the pioneers of underground comics and arguably one of the most famous cartoonists in history. His books include The Book of Genesis Illustrated by R. Crumb, and many more. He lives in the south of France with his wife, the artist Aline Kominsky-Crumb.
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In March of '09, some online articles were calling this upcoming work "subversive"... Not so. There's no intent to be comical here...or to insult Judeo-Christian theology. It seems, in every sense, to be a legitimate illustration of the Book of Genesis. And, I found it beautiful, because Crumb's attention to visual detail is beautiful.
Crumb relies on two sources for the translation including the King James version, and more so, Robert Alter's "The Five Books Of Moses". So, sure, there may be some disagreement in translation for individuals who are version specific. I would suggest we look past that and just enjoy the book for its merits and Crumb's talent.
One should be aware that a few panels may be considered "steamy" for younger children. Some nudity appears and, for instance, when in Chapter 19 it is written that Lot's daughters gave their father wine to drink and then lay with him, Crumb illustrates it. It is my belief, however, that Crumb's intent here is simply illustration, not subversion.
At any rate, it is an amazing work of art, not to mention a book of many important stories.
My only complaint is that Crumb admits in the forward that he did alter the text in a few places, but does not annotate those sections. Very minor issue, and one that I could find the answer to with some comparitve research, if it was that important.
A final thought - Crumb is not doing this book out of any reverence for the Bible, however, there is no hint of irony in the book, or the feeling that he is trying to turn the mirror on Christians (although that may have been his intent). It is not likely to renew your spirituality if you are a Christian, nor offend you if you are familiar with some of the more seedy stories in Genesis. It is simply a work of art and should be enjoyed that way.