The Book of Genesis

Front Cover
W W Norton & Company Incorporated, 2009 - Comics & Graphic Novels - 224 pages
36 Reviews
Envisioning the first book of the bible like no one before him, R. Crumb, the legendary illustrator, reveals here the story of Genesis in a profoundly honest and deeply moving way. Originally thinking that we would do a take off of Adam and Eve, Crumb became so fascinated by the Bible's language, "a text so great and so strange that it lends itself readily to graphic depictions," that he decided instead to do a literal interpretation using the text word for word in a version primarily assembled from the translations of Robert Alter and the King James bible. Now, readers of every persuasion--Crumb fans, comic book lovers, and believers--can gain astonishing new insights from these harrowing, tragic, and even juicy stories. Crumb's Book of Genesis reintroduces us to the bountiful tree lined garden of Adam and Eve, the massive ark of Noah with beasts of every kind, the cities of Sodom and Gomorrah destroyed by brimstone and fire that rained from the heavens, and the Egypt of the Pharaoh, where Joseph's embalmed body is carried in a coffin, in a scene as elegiac as any in Genesis. Using clues from the text and peeling away the theological and scholarly interpretation that have often obscured the Bible's most dramatic stories, Crumb fleshes out a parade of Biblical originals: from the serpent in Eden, the humanoid reptile appearing like an alien out of a science fiction movie, to Jacob, a "kind've depressed guy who doesn't strike you as physically courageous," and his bother, Esau, "a rough and kick ass guy," to Abraham's wife Sarah, more fetching than most woman at 90, to God himself, "a standard Charlton Heston-like figure with long white hair and a flowing beard." As Crumb writes in his introduction, "the stories of these people, the Hebrews, were something more than just stories. They were the foundation, the source, in writing of religious and political power, handed down by God himself." Crumb's Book of Genesis, the culmination of 5 years of painstaking work, is a tapestry of masterly detail and storytelling which celebrates the astonishing diversity of the one of our greatest artistic geniuses. Nominated for three 2010 Will Eisner Comic Industry Awards: Best Adaptation from Another Work, Best Graphic Album, Best Writer/Artist.

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I really enjoyed the illustrations. - Goodreads
Crumb's introduction and commentary were fascinating. - Goodreads
That he needed to do a lot of research. - Goodreads

Review: The Book of Genesis

User Review  - Andrew Anony - Goodreads

This is borderline being an illustrated novel, as opposed to a comicbook. The drawings are more illustrations of what is occurring in the text and don't impact the story telling. This could be an ... Read full review

Review: The Book of Genesis

User Review  - Megan Thai - Goodreads

I decided to read Robert R. Crumb's version of Genesis as a way to get a comprehensive understanding of the original. Although Crumb originally planned to take a different approach, he decided to do a ... Read full review

About the author (2009)

Robert Crumb was born in Philadelphia on Aug. 30, 1943. In 1962 Crumb got his first real job as an illustrator at American Greetings in Cleveland. The tedious work had him on the brink of quitting until he was promoted to the role of illustrator for the slightly edgier Hi-Brow line. After sending an early Fritz the Cat cartoon to Kurtzman at Help! magazine, Crumb received the following note from him: "We really liked the cat cartoon, but we're not sure how we can print it and stay out of jail." But print it they did. Soon Crumb was working as Kurtzman's assistant at the short-lived Help! The turning point in Crumb's career came in 1965, when he took some LSD. He stopped writing his characters from life and created his most inspired character, Mr. Natural. Zap Comics, consisting entirely of Crumb art, debuted in 1967, with Crumb and his wife selling the first issue on San Francisco street corners. Underground comics are now remembered as an indispensable part of the era, but it was Zap that blazed the trail. Crumb's rambling, hallucinogenic, sexually explicit cartoons became the visual expression of the Haight-Ashbury scene. Particularly memorable was his "Keep on Truckin" image. Keep on Truckin', along with Fritz the Cat and his cover art for Big Brother and the Holding Company's "Cheap Thrills" album, helped make Crumb famous, an icon of the hippie scene. By late 1969 Crumb had joined with S. Clay Wilson, Victor Moscoso, Rick Griffin, Gilbert Shelton, Spain Rodriguez and Robert Williams to create the seven-member Zap Collective, which published copies of the magazine sporadically for the next two decades. Crumb also turned out voluminous work in publications with titles like "Weirdo," "Black and White," "Big Ass Comics" and "People's Comics," in which he killed off Fritz the Cat in 1972, whom he came to despise.

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