Book #3 Review
The Book of Genesis Illustrated By: Robert Crumb
I was recommended this book by a colleague I work with at the library at my school. He noticed that I enjoyed reading graphic novels, and suggested I read this one as well. I always like to give things a fair shot, and this was one of those shots that I took. It’s pretty amazing that Robert Crumb was able to put the entirety of the Bible Chapter Genesis in the form of cartoon and still include all the text. When I originally heard of this book, I figured it would be some drawings of people from Bible days running around and having dialogues with one another. There would be some captions and narrations of course, but I figured the book would be written as a story than as a religious piece. Guess I was wrong about that one. Imagine, if you will, that somebody cut out the chapter of Genesis and drew in THOUSANDS OF DETAILED PICTURES and then handed it back to you. Everything is word for word the Book of Genesis, but it’s illustrated.
After getting over the initial amazement that such a thing could be done and that someone would actually seek to do so, I was conflicted about how I felt about the novel. I wouldn’t even call it a novel, because novel implies an original story. This was just cut and paste from the Bible with pictures. I was also really surprised that Robert Crumb would want to even do this kind of project. I learned about him in my graphic novels class and found out that he was a stoner, radicalist, self-proclaimed womanizer. So why he decided to do a piece based off the Bible is beyond me. The womanizer part actually makes sense since the Bible doesn’t really hold women in a good light either. I did some research on the subject and found this article from USA Today that’s an interview of Crumb on the book. He says he was another man just interpreting the text and that he was “inspired to do it”. Forgive me if I think that’s bull.
You might be wondering why I have such hostility against Robert Crumb, a man I’ve never met and who actually is a well-respected cartoonist in the industry. That is a matter of taste. In the article I just linked to, for example, David Colton describes Crumb’s work as “…a beautifully drawn…” piece. If you look at it though, beautiful should be the last word that comes to your mind. The entire piece is done in black and white and Crumb’s style is infamous for his crude lines and squiggly shapes. It looks like a twelve-year old boy wrote the book and gave it to Crumb to publish because of the amateurish style. You see this especially in the depictions of naked women; who else but a twelve-year old is immature enough to think that all women have gigantic boobs?? As you can see, I am not a fan of Robert Crumb and I probably never will be. I suggest reading this book if you’ve always wanted to read the Book of Genesis, but can’t get through all those blocks of text.
If you’re looking for spiritual enlightenment or something creatively done with the text, it’s best to look elsewhere.