Basil Wolverton's Bible: the putting the grotesque into the Old Testament


21 Responses to “Basil Wolverton's Bible: the putting the grotesque into the Old Testament”

  1. Tdawwg says:

    That looks way cooler than the Barry Hoser Bible of a decade ago.

  2. Ugly Canuck says:

    Violent, isn’t it?

  3. Anonymous says:

    moment of obligatory pedantry:

    it’s Revelation with no “s,” not Revelations, at least if we’re talking about the New Testament eschatological hallucination and not whatever pamphlet the post mentions.

  4. Anonymous says:

    I was raised in that church, but was an atheist (at age 11) before they threw us out because my mother wore makeup. My uncle is still a deacon there and he was the guy behind our expulsion – nicest thing he ever did for the family I think. I remember these as a child and I really enjoyed the strange illustrations a LOT more than the stories. I wish I still had the books.

  5. takeshi says:

    OK, normally I don’t like correcting people, but you’re a sci-fi writer and I always appreciate your posts. It’s Revelation. Singular. That one really annoys me, sorry.

    I’m going to read the Hell out of this.

  6. nanuq says:

    It’s hard to imagine what Wolverton could draw that could be any more grotesque than what’s already been written in many parts of the bible.

  7. eti says:

    I hear Boody Roger’s bible was far weirder and had to be destroyed lest total anarchy result. ;)

  8. Anonymous says:

    Wolverton’s always been amazing. I’ve enjoyed his work for decades.

    I like the buildings in the picture in the post — remind me of the buildings in the Desert Punk anime.

  9. 3lbFlax says:

    It really is a brutal book for the most part, and it’s hard to look at it and accept that Wolverton was approaching it from an angle of faith. It seems very frank in that regard – there’s no sugar-coating. Most Ark stories for kids will focus on the Ark itself and its inhabitants, in my experience, but Wolverton wants us all to realise that almost everyone in the world drowned in terror.

    It’d be a piece of cake to add captions that turned it into a powerful anti-Christian book, but that’d be boorish. It is what it is – the truth, as Wolverton saw it, in all its raw and terrible glory.

    I can’t decide if that’s better or worse for kids than sugar-coating. I guess it treads a fine line of trauma between jolting them into thinking about the whole thing critically and shocking them into a state of unquestioning awe.

  10. continuedfraction says:

    My mother joined that church when I was about four and read the Wolverton Bible to me as a child– I absolutely loved the pictures. The bible was in 6 gray volumes. After leaving that church, my mother threw them out to my chagrin. I managed to score 4 of the 6 volumes when the church reprinted them in the 1980′s.

    I note that the print quality in the Fantagraphics version is better than in the church’s 1980′s reprint; one can see more of the detail in Wolverton’s art. Also, there was a huge amount of text in the Wolverton Bible that is not present in the Fantagraphics printing. There was roughly one picture for every three pages of text. I believe (but don’t know how to verify) that the text was also by Wolverton.

  11. pigsnot says:

    I just ordered a copy. That is the second book I have bought because of BB

  12. Matt Staggs says:

    I’d love to have this and Barry Moser’s Bible as well.

  13. Tdawwg says:

    Dunno, Staggs, if you got the Hoser Bible, you’d someday take off the dust jacket to see, in huge letters on the spine, “The HOLY BIBLE by Barry Hoser.” An incredible embarrassment: vanity projects shouldn’t generally draw attention to themselves as such.

    Skip Hoser, most of his illustrations suck anyway. His woodcuts are often too dark and heavy for my taste: Hoser’s Bible’s nowhere as good as, say, his Moby Dick woodcuts, or his delicate, haunting watercolors for Allen Mandelbaum’s Dante translations. Wolverton FTW!

  14. George Curious says:

    And while you read, make sure you’re listening to Wormwood: Curious Stories From The Bible, by The Residents for extra added WTF? value.

  15. Lyddiechu says:

    wowzers! my husband was raised in this church (he kept kosher more strictly than i ever did, and I’m a jew!), and if this is the kind of family bible they had around the house when he was growing up it sure would explain a lot about him!

  16. Matt Staggs says:

    @ #7. Um, you lost me.

  17. Tdawwg says:

    My main point was that Hoser’s Bible is a vanity project with sucky illustrations. And no verse divisions, making it rather hard to use as a reading or reference Bible. It just kind of sucks all around….

  18. jfrancis says:

    Scriptgirl (who does weekly script purchase reports on youtube) had a genius take on Passover as a Hollywood-style Christmas comedy: a guy accidentally kills the Angel of Death with his ox cart and has to ‘save Passover’ by taking on the Angel’s grisly responsibilities. I LOL’d. :D

  19. buddy66 says:

    Wolverton was no weirder than his spiritual leader, Herbert W. Armstrong, whose ubiquitous radio preachments poisoned the airwaves for decades. It was a perfect marriage of grotesques.

    • Anonymous says:

      I absolutely agree with your comment, buddy66! I was brought up in Herbert Armstrong’s fear-based cult and I can’t agree more! I have, even at my age, had nightmares about Basil Wolverton’s drawings, to which I was first introduced to some 40 years ago. Not appropriate for children, at all.

  20. devophill says:

    I wonder why they didn’t include any color illustrations? I know they exist, I’ve seen them.

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