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The Book of Genesis [Hardcover]

R Crumb
4.6 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (10 customer reviews)
List Price: CDN$ 29.50
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Book Description

Nov. 13 2009
From Creation to the death of Joseph, here are all 50 chapters of the Book of Genesis, revealingly illustrated as never before.

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 women 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.

Frequently Bought Together

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Product Details

Product Description


[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"

About the Author

Born in Philadelphia, R. Crumb is the author of numerous comic works and one of the pioneers of underground comics. He lives in the south of France with his wife and daughter.

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Customer Reviews

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Most helpful customer reviews
5.0 out of 5 stars Crumb is the man April 29 2014
Format:Hardcover|Verified Purchase
He's good. He's always good. Takes a good man to turn the Book of Genesis into a Crumb comic. So they got Bob.
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5.0 out of 5 stars The Bible - unexpurgated! March 28 2014
Format:Hardcover|Verified Purchase
Quite a lot more detailed in the narrative than I had expected from a cartoon,
but with Crumb, I should have known he wouldn't stint on anything, least of all
a faithful depiction of all the details. It would be a mistake I think to offer this to a child
as an illustrated version of Genesis!
The book arrived in good shape, was well packaged and exactly as advertised.
I'm very pleased all round.
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Format:Hardcover|Verified Purchase
I had so much trouble reading the plain text bible genesis. This was way easier and more easy to engage with. R Crumb does a fine job at explaining and interpreting the old testament. The first 50 pages blows you away. The artwork is fitting and objective. This is a must own.
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5.0 out of 5 stars A work of considerable ingenuity May 12 2013
By S Svendsen TOP 500 REVIEWER
Format:Hardcover|Verified Purchase
It took Crumb over four years to complete the 201 pages of Genesis. It begs curiosity why the publisher Norton chose to give Crumb the assignment of adapting his talents to retelling and illustrating Genesis, the first book of the Jewish Talmud (and the Christian Old Testament). This is an artist who for half a century has become renowned for his visual satiric portrayal of the contemporary life of weirdos, potheads, misfits, wastrels and humanized animals—obsessive sexual proclivities included. Fans enjoyed his outrageous exaggerations poking fun at every human foible and self-indulgence. His fans could count on getting rewarded with the unexpected.

Bluntness and crassness has been de rigueur for Crumb. Sentimentality and nuance were not easily detectable in the storylines. Artistically his males were recognized for their lankiness, large kneecaps, sharp elbows, owlish eyes and slouching postures. His females were rendered with formidable calves, posteriors and jowls; their erect poking nipples became Crumb trademarks. Was the publisher counting on Crumb’s somewhat disreputable notoriety to kick-start demand for the book? It should be noted that Complete Crumb Works, published by Fantagraphics Books, now number seventeen volumes; there are also several other compilations in print, like The Crumb Compendium, Mr Natural and Sweeter Side of R Crumb. These have proven to be popular and many have been reprinted two or three times. Norton likely chose Crumb for a number of reasons which all added up to a profitable proposition.

Being a fan and collector of R Crumb (and his wife Aline Kominsky Crumb) I bought this book primarily to add it to my collection.
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1 of 2 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars God works in mysterious ways Sept. 15 2010
By Daniel Jolley TOP 50 REVIEWER
I must admit I did a double take when I saw that this illustrated version of the Book of Genesis sprang from the pen of R. Crumb. For those who aren't familiar with Crumb's work, he's pretty much the father of underground comics, an artist whose provocative work has earned him great notoriety and more than a few charges of racism, sexism, and misogyny from his harshest critics. The women in his artwork tend to be rather buxom, overly sexual, and submissive to the men around them, while his depiction of blacks and other minorities oftentimes seem to be rooted in stereotypes. Of course, any great artist is going to have his detractors, and it must be said that Crumb's true genius lies in his satirical and sometimes subversive take on popular culture. Eschewing mainstream comic book culture and the publishing industry that drives it, he has more than earned his place as a cult hero and countercultural icon of the twentieth -- and now the twenty-first -- century.

Simply put, R. Crumb was one of the last artists I would ever have expected to take on the illustration of a significant portion of the Bible. Even more surprising is the fact that his approach to this illustrated version of the Book of Genesis is not of a satirical or hypercritical nature. This book was a serious effort that involved four years of effort, a great deal of research, and surprisingly serious reflection on Crumb's part. As an agnostic, he approached the Book of Genesis as a work of literature with deep roots in the public consciousness, and he strove to provide a literal presentation of the story (including all of the "begots"). I find a great deal of irony in that last point.
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