R. Crumb's Book of Genesis excerpted in The New Yorker

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R. Crumb's upcoming "The Book of Genesis" was excerpted in The New Yorker this week. It looks amazing.

At first, he thought about doing a take-off of the story of Adam and Eve, and then a friend suggested he do the whole of Genesis. Crumb accepted the challenge, but the text seemed to him so bizarre that he quickly realized he couldn't sustain a satirical approach. He resolved to use the words of the Bible unabridged: "I did it as a straight illustration job."

Pre-order R. Crumb's Book of Genesis on Amazon.

UPDATE: You can see a poor-quality scan of the excerpt here.

R. Crumb's Book of Genesis excerpted in The New Yorker


  1. I would love to read the article, but that would mean I have to register at the New Yorker site.
    It’d be better, privacy wise, if I bought it at the newsstand. (I probably won’t do that either.)
    I wish you wouldn’t link to articles that require registration.

  2. Sweet! I’m sure the subscribers to the New Yorker in your audience will love this article. Thanks Mark!

  3. Or order it on Amazon (or, better, wait for it to come to your local bookseller), you buncha jackasses.

    Boing Boing links to books, comics, etc without excerpts all the time. How is linking to a book plus a behind-a-registration-wall excerpt that much worse?

  4. On the internet for a decade and you people still don’t have a crap email address for just such an occasion?

  5. Genesis is particularly difficult to understand, so I have a lot of respect for anyone who can properly illustrate it. A dense heap of metaphor and myth is mingled in with the primary message of the text, but the main thrust of it can’t be understood without considering these elements, so one can’t just slough them away and oversimplify to a simple set of literal images. It is one of the most arcane pieces of text I have ever read, and its message is probably elusive to more than just myself, as plenty of religious scholars seem to totally miss the point as well.

    And, as an aside, it must be impossibly hard to come up with interesting illustration for the long, meandering genealogies. How do you illustrate that aside from including a page with a family tree on it?

  6. “Hurr, print media needs to create a sustainable model online. — Wait, I need to spend money for that?!”

  7. excellent #9 thanks for the single click access!

    Hmmm… Adam and Eve look very Crumb like, which is no surprise. Just look at all those Europeanized-white Jesus pictures out there. Each new artist recasts his subjects. Eve as a Crumb-woman is fine by me!

  8. it took this comic to open my eyes: genesis, a story i’d never given a second thought to, is so bizarre and cruel; but it’s so savvy about psychology. told effectively, it punches you in the gut and has you on the run indefinitely.

    there’s something about crumb’s dense, psychedelic penstrokes. i don’t think i’d trust anyone else in the world to illustrate such a powerful allegory of the strangling grip of self-consciousness. everything is so solid and menacing in his drawings, it’s hard to tell whether it’s god or the landscape itself that’s going to punish adam and eve. crumb doesn’t give you one friendly vista to pause on; if he did, you might regain the composure to wonder what adam and eve’s crime was, at its root.

    scares the daylights out of me to think about what was in that tree.

  9. Not quite a parallel but it’s interesting to see how another underground comix pioneer treated the Bible with his art. I discovered Rick Griffin when he was drawing for Surfer magazine. His art was the most authentically psychedelic of all the 60s poster illustrators. His conversion to Christianity was unsettling to me back in the day, but it seems to have been sincere and lasting. Anyway, I’d love to see his illustrations for the Book of John. http://www.christiancomicsinternational.org/griffin_pioneer.html

  10. That’s very cool about Rick Griffin, I enjoyed his 60’s concert posters immensely.

  11. So this is how it went.His Nibs decided to create
    Man.He scooped up some soil,fashioned it,blew life
    into the rudimentary nostrils and voila,Adam! Eve
    on the other hand was the product of Adams’s rib.
    Thus unless His Nibs selected rare Kaolin for his
    masterpiece and bearing in mind the abundance of
    soils,from yellow clays to rich black loams,it is
    not too great stretch of the imagination to posit
    that Adam was of another hue than white.Conversely
    Eve sprang from an ivory-hued rib.So for those of
    you that thought A@E were waspy,you are half right
    Now about about YHWH’s beard and that gargoyle
    representing The Opposer.There you see Da Vinci and Hieronymous Bosch.Shame on you Mr Crumb if you
    were poor you might be accused of plaigerism.But I
    must admit that the gluteus maximus were exactly
    according to the original design.I know I was there!

  12. rick griffin’s work looks beautiful. i’d never seen it before.

    looks like bible comics are up to a pretty high standard. even jack chick has a certain, creepy charm. who knew?!

  13. #26
    Mr. Crumb will speak at the University of Virginia, Richmond on October 27th and at the Hammer Museum in Los Angeles Oct. 28…he’s still in LA on the 29th so possibly still at Hammer. He’ll be speaking at the the San Francisco Jewish Community Center on Oct. 31st. Apparently Art Speigelman will also be speaking at these events as well as his wife, Francoise Mouly, an art director at the New Yorker.

  14. Robert Crumb is actually doing something that’s already been done and with more substance. Paul John Farrell brought out the book Illustrated Stories from the Bible (that they won’t tell you in Sunday school) about 4 years ago. He didn’t limit himself to Genesis and so the stories in that book are even more embarassing for believers. Still, Crumb’s book, taken together with Farrell’s constitutes a good one two punch at those who take the Bible too literally.

  15. If you want to see a really exciting contemporaray version of Biblical art, check out The Comic Torah comeing soon to Amazon and other irreverent outlets of facinationg books.
    All five books of Moses, G-d is a green woman, Moses is Black, and the Land of Israel is truly a beautiful woman.

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