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The Book of Genesis Illustrated by R. Crumb Hardcover – October 19, 2009
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From Publishers Weekly
Far removed from the satirical reimagining some might expect from the father of underground comix, Crumb's long-awaited take on the first book of the Bible presents the artist's own sensitive, visually intense reflections. Where most visual adaptations edit down their prose sources, Crumb has, strikingly, included every word of the Book of Genesis within his first major book-length work. His humanistic visual response to this religious text imbues even briefly mentioned biblical characters with unique faces and attitudes, and his renderings of the book's more storied personalities draw out momentous emotions inspired by the book's inherent drama. Throughout, Genesis is a virtual portfolio of Crumb's career-long effort to instill fluid cartoon drawing with carefully rendered lifelike detail. Some might miss Crumb's full stylistic and tonal range, but the source's narrative sweep includes moments of sex and scandal that recall the artist's more notorious comics. Indeed, this monumental visual adaptation's basic strategy may subvert simply by demanding a reconsideration of its source, one that continues to motivate the complex cultural struggles that have, for decades, preoccupied this master cartoonist's landmark work. (Oct.)
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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.”
“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.”
“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
Top customer reviews
I was fortunate enough to get to see the entire book on display in Los Angeles and it is beautiful. The detail is stunning when it comes to things like the individual strands of hair in GOD's beard. Having seen the actual pages I have to say that the book comes close but can't help but pale in comparison. The book pages are just too small to take it all in. I hope a larger edition is released at some point.
Definitely don't let this book pass you by. It is good and as close to the original pages as we are ever likely to get.
Not for young kids because of some of the lewd artwork, but this is a wonderful telling of the amazing stories in one of the most important books in the Bible. Crumb's artwork with the hyper-expressive faces makes it come alive. Loved it! Crumb is still doing some amazing work in his old age. Hope he keeps it up!
Whether you are a true believer or a committed atheist, this book is worth the price; I read it in one day, then read it again and gave it to a friend...