Feb 11, 2015

Wed Review (R. Crumb - The Book of Genesis)

This is borderline being an illustrated novel, as opposed to a comicbook. The drawings are more illustrations of what is occurring in the text and don't impact the story telling.

This could be an issue for enjoyability, but I still respect Crumb's dedication to doing a straight-up, no words changed adaption. The illustrations occasionally have some image that is humorous. They also depict the text in ways that the reader wouldn't necessarily imagine. So, we almost get two books here: a nice translation of The Genesis (without the archaic language of some translations, or the watered-down New International Version - the standard edition at most Churches I've had the misfortune of being in)as well as avoiding the two column printing style that's difficult to read.

The reason to buy this book is to get a glimpse into the head of Crumb: we see what he's seeing while reading the book. The first, obvious, occurrence of an interesting illustration of the text is the Garden's serpent being depicted as anthropomorphic; thus, when God condemns snakes to move on their bellies, the serpent loses his arms and legs (as opposed to a more traditional illustration that would necessarily suggest that God either condemned the snake before the snake's actions or condemned the snake to never evolve).

I think many parts of Genesis are insanity. Like Noah living till 950 years old. But it is an interesting historical document (of the history contained in the book, which must be taken carefully; but, more importantly, it's a document of how the ancients understood their own history).

It's an odd state of affairs that a comicbook like "The Action Bible" receives the Christian Book Award, but this book, a more honest rendition of the bible, is overlooked. Crumb's Genesis was beaten out by "The Hole in Our Gospel: What Does God Expect of Us? the Answer That Changed My Life and Might Just Change the World" which is about some rich dude who gets paid to go to a poor country and listen to poor people then tries to help them out financially while pushing Christian ideology on everyone with cherry-picked quotes from the new testament.

I recently checked out the Kingstone Bible comic adaptation. It's written by a diehard Christian writer and starts with Genesis. The very first line was altered (to reflect a more Christian approach to the Old Testament, God is described as happy being alone and he is described as being a being of three parts). It's ridiculous that a non-believer respects the Bible more than all the other religious adapters have. I'd love to read more word-for-word adaptions as I find well-researched illustrations help me understand the physical world the Bible depicts.

I'd also recommend for anyone interested in another Bible adaption to check out The Book of Revelations by Matt Dorff and co


They do a word-for-word adaption of that strange book. The illustrations make the reading more entertaining if not necessarily making the book easier to understand.

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