Finally! An adult version of one of the world’s most widespread and debated books gets inked. Esteemed artist and illustrator Robert Crumb greets this project with open arms; a graphical adaptation of all 50 chapters of Genesis. Crumb is known for his distinctive drawing style, critical and satirical views of mainstream America, and involvement in the underground comic scene, often depicting content forbidden in conventional publications. Some feel Crumb is a wonderfully unlikely candidate to breathe new life into the founding narrative of privilege and authority in the Judeo-Christian world. To his defense, Crumb’s goals were not to be comedic or ironic but rather to interpret this sacred text completely through his own style of illustration. As he states in the introduction, “there was no monkeying around with the text.”
Crumb has done a fantastic job of delivering all 50 chapters without deviation or abomination. To maintain authenticity, the entire book is drawn with ink and remains in black and white. Crumb refrains from delving into the typical grotesque and pornographic illustrations for which he is known, a challenge which he met with grace — despite his daring and explicit past. There is indeed some fine artwork here; G‑d’s endless white beard and flowing mane depict a sense of enlightenment and mightiness, his re-construction of Noah and his arc is masterful, and Abram’s haunted sleep when the Lord tells him his seed will be scattered for 400 years is powerfully delivered with perplexing dread.
Reference the back of the book for Crumb’s personal comments and observations on each chapter.