The Book of Genesis

The Book of Genesis

Book - 2009
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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.
Publisher: New York : W.W. Norton, c2009.
Edition: 1st ed.
ISBN: 9780393061024
0393061027
Characteristics: 1 v. (unpaged) : chiefly ill. ; 29 cm.
Additional Contributors: Alter, Robert
Crumb, R.

Opinion

From Library Staff

List - Graphic Novels
ChiPubLib_Adults Sep 05, 2013

Legendary artist Robert Crumb illustrated The Book of Genesis in his characteristic cartooning style, and the result was a bestseller.


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biblioanna Feb 24, 2017

Not only a great telling of the story, but an excellent interpretation of the genealogy.

j
Janice21383
Nov 29, 2013

Bronze age folk tales illustrated. R. Crumb, who is capable of sophistication, falls back on his house style. The characters look very much like one another, but let's face it, he has a lot of verses to get through. And to compensate, he puts in his own interpretations -- a look, a gesture, a background -- that fill in the blanks in the story.

k
karolsienkiewicz
Jul 08, 2013

It's fun the first couple of pages, then you feel like getting bogged down in the stories you know very well, put across with the same prohibitive language. It was quite a challenge for him, but it's also quite a challenge for a potential reader. It ended by being displayed framed, page after page, as an "artwork" at Venice Biennale in 2013. Kind of sad.

b
benjaminis5
Apr 04, 2013

odd preference for artwork - seeing patriarchs in the missionary style is unusual and in bad taste. yet it is an alluring read and interesting art work. not for children.

crankylibrarian Sep 19, 2011

R. Crumb is an odd man; even he says so. He's probably the last person you'd expect to produce a thoughtful reinterpretation of one of the seminal religious texts in history yet I found this to be very moving. It’s easy to focus on the buxom women and muscular men, but I love the facial expressions: Abraham’s crafty sidelong glances as he argues with God over Sodom, the sudden bug-eyed look on the faces of the Shechemites when they get the bad news about circumcision. And the tears: Adam and Eve when they’re expelled from Eden, Isaac when he realizes who the “sheep for the sacrifice” is, Hagar’s when she and Ishmael are cast out. I can’t see calling it idolatrous: I think Crumb was trying to depict these stories the way their creators would have seen them.

sit_walk Feb 02, 2010

It's a strange combination, but if you like Crumb's work, you'll probably enjoy this. Strange, strange, strange (but, at the same time, strangely pedestrian).

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