- Hardcover: 224 pages
- Publisher: W W Norton; Signed, Limited edition (Oct. 1 2009)
- Language: English
- ISBN-10: 0393075931
- ISBN-13: 978-0393075939
- Product Dimensions: 23.1 x 3 x 29.5 cm
- Shipping Weight: 1.3 Kg
- Average Customer Review: 12 customer reviews
- Amazon Bestsellers Rank: #4,242,299 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)
Book Of Genesis Illustrated Signed And Numbered Limited Edtn, The Hardcover – Oct 1 2009
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About the Author
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.
Top customer reviews
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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. Having also read various translations of Genesis numerous times I was very curious how Crumb would present this work of significant cultural and religious value. I was not disappointed. The man proves that he is a genius with the pen, a capable scripter (he used three sources to collaborate the text) and serious researcher of historical relevance. The detail is remarkable. His human figures are Crumb-like but much better proportioned than in his cartooning. His ability to draw distinguishable differences between characters (especially in the “begats”) shows patience and skill but I would have liked to see some happy faces—it is like these men were posing for passport photos, being prohibited from smiling. As far as the text goes, it is qualitatively a mixed bag, but close enough to be respectful to the original Hebrew for most Jews and Christians. I was glad he did not use a contemporary, colloquial, translation which would have ill suited the historical raiment and settings.
The work has received mixed reviews. Fact is if a hundred people start to read and look at the book they already have opinions and prejudices about Genesis that will flavour their judgement of Crumb’s output. Are they theologians? Then they will nit pick about how it was scripted and how creation, the flood and sinful acts are depicted. Are they atheists? Then they may complain about the work being dragged out, boring and repetitive. Are they historians? Then they may find fault with costumes, architecture and mythology. Are they comic book aficionados? Then they will present how Crumb failed to create dramatic effect and visual excitement. The book is Genesis as interpreted by Crumb. It is not intended to be neutral, unbiased or inoffensive. For many it will be too literal but if Crumb had introduced major improvisations he would have been berated by those who regard Genesis as the true Word of God. This book will probably not please—and may shock—many church-going Christians but for others I think it may help to provoke some serious thinking about how Genesis and the Old Testament have contributed to mold Western culture and civilization for three thousand years. The stories in Genesis deserve to be considered both in their religious and non-religious contexts and also in their literal and figurative interpretations.
For an interview with Crumb and numerous reviews, refer to The Comics Journal #301
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.
Natural Law, Science, and the Social Construction of Reality
I have always been a fan of Crumb's work. He has a fantastic imagination and the drawing talent to make it work. The idea of illustrating Genesis is, at first glance, somewhat weird, but then, that is Crumb's stock in trade.
The whole text is here, so what makes this version of Genesis different is, of course, the illustrations. Crumb illustrates the WHOLE story. This is not a version of the Genesis with a few illustrations. But like today's graphic novels, the whole story is illustrated, frame by frame, conversation by conversation.
What this does is to make the story come alive. God here is portrayed very much as a Greek deity, which is probably historically accurate. Crumb's people are somewhat larger than life, given his exaggerated style, but given the nature of the story being told, such an approach is perfectly appropriate.
While I am not religious, the book of Genesis still is important as it forms so much of the basis of our culture. And presenting it in a graphic manner, it is presenting an old story in new clothes for a new generation.
The over all presentation is also great. The cover looks very much like the comics of the 1950s with an exaggerated front cover, and the leading cast of characters depicted on the back.
This book is for fans of graphic novels, and for people who would like a new look at Genesis.
In the Illustrated Genesis - he joins the ranks of Durer and Dore; so finely wrought are the compositions, so psychologically forceful are the figures, so cunning the draftsmanship that the work does honour to both the artist and the bible.
Expectations of a darkly satirical read are not surprising, they were mine as well - but I was wrong and glad I was. The unique character of this work is that EVERY aspect of the 50 chapters is depicted from the most well-known stories - Adam and Eve, The Tower of Babel, Noah, Abraham and Isaac, Jacob and Sarah, Joseph and his brothers etc, to the lesser known ones, moments that have perhaps never been depicted before. Crumb is respectful of the text throughout and his exhaustive research shows in the rich historical detail. There is always an artist's perspective at work here however, and the idiosyncratic style of Crumb is never absent. Women are "Crumb" women however they differ from one another. The figures of God and his messengers are solemn and majestic.
A uniquely fine biblical offering, and a masterpiece of illustrative art from a great genius. I heartily recommend it to anyone.
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