The Book of Genesis Illustrated by R. Crumb (Limited Edition)

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Overview

A signed and numbered limited edition, slipcased and with a signed print: from the Creation to the death of Joseph, here is the Book of Genesis, revealingly illustrated as never before.
This eagerly awaited graphic work retells the first book of the Bible in a profoundly honest way. Peeling away the theological and scholarly interpretations that have often obscured its most dramatic stories, R. Crumb—using the actual text word for word—has imagined the Bible as it really was. ...
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2009-11-09 Hardcover New Number 232 limited edition-bn8-a-16.

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Overview

A signed and numbered limited edition, slipcased and with a signed print: from the Creation to the death of Joseph, here is the Book of Genesis, revealingly illustrated as never before.
This eagerly awaited graphic work retells the first book of the Bible in a profoundly honest way. Peeling away the theological and scholarly interpretations that have often obscured its most dramatic stories, R. Crumb—using the actual text word for word—has imagined the Bible as it really was. Now, readers of every persuasion—Crumb fans, comic book lovers, history buffs, and believers—can gain astonishing new insights from these harrowing, visceral, and even juicy stories. Crumb’s The Book of Genesis reintroduces readers to Adam and Eve’s Eden, Noah’s Ark, Sodom and Gomorrah, and the Pharaoh’s Egypt. Using clues from the text, Crumb fleshes out the parade of biblical originals: from the sensitive dreamer Joseph to the crafty Jacob, to the still-fetching Sarah, to God Himself. The result, four years in the making, is a tapestry of extraordinary detail, the finest work of Crumb’s legendary career. This special signed and numbered limited edition is slipcased and includes a signed print.
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Editorial Reviews

David Hajdu
The prospect of Crumb's doing the Bible might seem at first a stunt, an all-too-obvious mash-up of the most sacred and the most profane…Crumb's book is serious and, for Crumb, restrained. He resists the temptation to go all-out Crumb on us and exaggerate the sordidness, the primitivism and the outright strangeness (by contemporary standards) of parts of the text…Crumb luxuriates in the carnality of Genesis without playing it for gratuitous shock or comic effect.
—The New York Times
Publishers Weekly
Far removed from the satirical reimagining some might expect from the father of underground comix, Crumb's long-awaited take on the first book of the Bible presents the artist's own sensitive, visually intense reflections. Where most visual adaptations edit down their prose sources, Crumb has, strikingly, included every word of the Book of Genesis within his first major book-length work. His humanistic visual response to this religious text imbues even briefly mentioned biblical characters with unique faces and attitudes, and his renderings of the book's more storied personalities draw out momentous emotions inspired by the book's inherent drama. Throughout, Genesis is a virtual portfolio of Crumb's career-long effort to instill fluid cartoon drawing with carefully rendered lifelike detail. Some might miss Crumb's full stylistic and tonal range, but the source's narrative sweep includes moments of sex and scandal that recall the artist's more notorious comics. Indeed, this monumental visual adaptation's basic strategy may subvert simply by demanding a reconsideration of its source, one that continues to motivate the complex cultural struggles that have, for decades, preoccupied this master cartoonist's landmark work. (Oct.)\
Library Journal
This is the Bible that distressed 19th-century English philanthropist and man of letters Thomas Bowdler: not stories for sweet-faced kiddies, but sex and blood. Every verse in Genesis is here, unabridged, and treated—as Crumb puts it—to a straight illustration job. They're a conniving and licentious crew, these folk, and the Almighty had His hands full in weeding out the best of the lot as Future Fathers of the Covenant. It's all about seed and sons, and while the men squabble over flocks and wives and land, the women squabble over progeny and baby-daddies. Crumb folded in a good bit of domestic life as well as battles and blessings, working from the King James Version, Robert Alters's recent translation of the Five Books of Moses, museum collections in England and Europe, and swords-and-sandals epics. Zondervan's manga Genesis, pitched to children, is heavily expurgated, but Crumb's is the real deal and deserves its "adult supervision recommended for minors" label. VERDICT We could not expect less from the patriarch of underground comix—themselves notorious for sex and violence and deals gone sour. Indeed, Crumb's muscular, detailed black-and-white seems ideally suited to Old Testament scuffles and seaminess. Recommended for adult collections, especially in academic libraries.—M.C.\
Kirkus Reviews
The Book of Genesis as imagined by a veteran voice of underground comics. R. Crumb's pass at the opening chapters of the Bible isn't nearly the act of heresy the comic artist's reputation might suggest. In fact, the creator of Fritz the Cat and Mr. Natural is fastidiously respectful. Crumb took pains to preserve every word of Genesis-drawing from numerous source texts, but mainly Robert Alter's translation, The Five Books of Moses (2004)-and he clearly did his homework on the clothing, shelter and landscapes that surrounded Noah, Abraham and Isaac. This dedication to faithful representation makes the book, as Crumb writes in his introduction, a "straight illustration job, with no intention to ridicule or make visual jokes." But his efforts are in their own way irreverent, and Crumb feels no particular need to deify even the most divine characters. God Himself is not much taller than Adam and Eve, and instead of omnisciently imparting orders and judgment He stands beside them in Eden, speaking to them directly. Jacob wrestles not with an angel, as is so often depicted in paintings, but with a man who looks not much different from himself. The women are uniformly Crumbian, voluptuous Earth goddesses who are both sexualized and strong-willed. (The endnotes offer a close study of the kinds of power women wielded in Genesis.) The downside of fitting all the text in is that many pages are packed tight with small panels, and too rarely-as with the destruction of Sodom and Gomorrah-does Crumb expand his lens and treat signature events dramatically. Even the Flood is fairly restrained, though the exodus of the animals from the Ark is beautifully detailed. The author's respect for Genesis isadmirable, but it may leave readers wishing he had taken a few more chances with his interpretation, as when he draws the serpent in the Garden of Eden as a provocative half-man/half-lizard. On the whole, though, the book is largely a tribute to Crumb's immense talents as a draftsman and stubborn adherence to the script. An erudite and artful, though frustratingly restrained, look at Old Testament stories. Author events in New York, Richmond, Va., Los Angeles, San Francisco, Austin\
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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780393075939
  • Publisher: Norton, W. W. & Company, Inc.
  • Publication date: 11/9/2009
  • Edition description: Signed, Limited, Slipcased Edition
  • Pages: 224
  • Product dimensions: 8.90 (w) x 11.60 (h) x 1.20 (d)

Meet the Author

Born in Philadelphia, R. Crumb is the author of numerous comic works and one of the pioneers of underground comics. His books include Kafka, The Complete Crumb Comics (17 volumes), The R. Crumb Sketchbook (10 volumes), R. Crumb Draws the Blues, The Book of Mr. Natural, The Book of Genesis Illustrated by R. Crumb, and many more. He lives in the south of France with his wife, the artist Aline Kominsky-Crumb.
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Customer Reviews

Average Rating 3.5
( 39 )
Rating Distribution

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(18)

4 Star

(5)

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(7)

2 Star

(5)

1 Star

(4)

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See All Sort by: Showing 1 – 20 of 40 Customer Reviews
  • Posted December 5, 2009

    more from this reviewer

    I Also Recommend:

    From an R. Crumb fan

    I came to R. Crumb later in life as I was too young to see Fritz the Cat and Mr. Natural (my favorite). I saw a documentary on his life and became interested in his unique story.

    "The Book of Genesis Illustrated" is a great example of his work. The meticulous effort that went in to create it is impressive in its scope and attention to detail. I have never had any interest in the Bible whatsoever, but have come to understand why the lessons in this book have become such powerful influences on world culture and our common sense of morality.

    The emotion Crumb is able to convey through his illustrations turns the book of Genesis into both a heartfelt and dynamic story. The analysis by biblical scholars provided as footnotes are also helpful in clarifying some of the often mysterious aspects of the text.

    2 out of 3 people found this review helpful.

    Was this review helpful? Yes  No   Report this review
  • Posted December 12, 2009

    An engaging way to read the first book of the bible

    I've been surprised by how meaningful and down to earth R. Crumb has made the Book of Genesis.

    1 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted May 6, 2010

    The Book of Genesis Illustrated by R. Crumb

    In a way Crumb has been doing biblical stories all along and that he has now completed the book of Genesis it all seems to come together. The confused, conflicted and frequently brutal characters of the bible go perfectly with Crumb's style. More than any reverent illustrator, Crumb has brought some human reality to the characters of Genesis although Crumb is sometimes baffled by the way they act and the strange inconsistencies of the stories. His footnotes will help you along with understanding the historical origins these stories came from. Here's to hoping that he can somehow get to more books.

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  • Posted May 5, 2010

    A Bible for Atheists!

    As a lifelong atheist (74 years old) I can't help but applaud Crumb's take on Genesis. It's brillaint and actually fun to read. It accuately captures the word and the total sillyness of this influencial and destructive tome Crumb's illustrations combine with the actual old testements' words to place this work in the correct genre it justly deserves-the comics! Highly recommended for a fun read. Not to be taken seriously!

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  • Anonymous

    Posted April 19, 2010

    Illustrated, comic-book style, Genesis

    The drawings, the visual comic-book narrative, are excellent, as one would expect from a masrter such as Crumb. The choice to use the whole text of Genesis, without editing, makes this version more valuable than just on account of the powerful and magnificent drawings. The commentary at the end is, however, amateurish and worthless, finding publication and massive circulation only because it piggy-back rides on the drawn version of Genesis. Crumb is not only not a biblical scholar, he does not even have the research know-how required for a sophomoric start at it. The result is an anachronistic, agenda-driven text. Fortunately, it is all at the end and can be ignored.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted March 20, 2010

    An Incredible Achievement

    Anyone who has any interest in the Old Testament Bible should own this work. R. Crumb, his reputation notwithstanding, has made the Book of Genesis come to life in a way I would not have thought possible. Almost word-for-word, largely based on the King James version, nothing left out, nothing added. His artistic license is held in firm check--this is not a parody or an insult to your beliefs, folks. If anything, it shows the good with the bad, the exciting with the mundane, exactly as written. The overall artwork is stunning, and every person from Adam and Eve to Joseph and his brothers are presented as unique, real, believable individuals. God appears as the Old Testament, "Charlton Heston" portrayal most of us grew up with. I expect there will be people who will be very uncomfortable with this portrayal, but there will be little or no basis for criticism. Scenes involving violence and sex are featured in a matter-of-fact manner. Where there are contradictions, Crumb has presented a very useful appendix to explain them (and the sources for his interpretation), as well as frequent (but not disruptive)asides as to where the origin of a name or term may have likely originated. In short, a magnificent, respectful, unbiased, and scholarly work by an alleged non-believer. A very worthwhile investment. I'm hoping that he will continue with the project as long as possible.

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  • Posted March 12, 2010

    Book of Genesis

    This book is very good. The pictures are very good. One word of caution is that some of the pictures would not be suitable for young children due tot he graphic nature of some of the drawings. Overall a different tool to explain Genesis to children compared to reading straight from the bible.

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  • Posted January 23, 2010

    How to get them to actually read Genesis

    I bought this book as a collectors item, (1st printing, hardcover, R Crumb! yes!). However when I received it I found myself drawn by the illustrations into the actual text. Crumbs, anabashedly, realistic depictions of events make the text much more compelling than the sanitized illustrations that I remember from Sunday School in my youth.
    A good addition to anyone's permanent library.

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  • Posted January 16, 2010

    I Also Recommend:

    Sunday School Seems Brighter....

    While the subject matter is debatable mythology, The artwork brings a different perspective to the minds eye. This was my Xmas gift to friends and family last year. Most remember R Crumb from the Zap Comix & Mr. Natural Hippy era. Although the art work is the same, all dialog is word for word the King James dogma. The church y folks were taken aback expecting a prank, until they read passages. Quiet disorientation soon afterwards. I can imagine those that read Zap Comix expecting some S.Clay Wilson style chapters. Sunday school will never be the same.

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  • Posted January 15, 2010

    I Also Recommend:

    An Artist's Challenge

    Shaking us out of conventional thinking is one of the important things an artist can do. R. Crumb has done just that with his illustrations for the Book of Genesis. He has applied his well-known style and mannerisms to sacred text, but only after a probing personal investigation into its meaning. This apostle of the '60s approaches Genesis with utter seriousness, and his illustrations offer a remarkable commentary. One of the unexpected benefits of Crumb's approach comes with the genealogies. Each person named in these lists receives an individual portrait, reminding us that every individual is significant, even those of whom we know no more than their names. Crumb's work is challenging and brave, and it will surely spark discussion.

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  • Posted January 3, 2010

    A must for biblical scholars or underground comix fans

    The headline says it all. There has never before been a book which brings these two elements together. With Robert Alter's superlative translation and Crumb's honest illustration this is a wonderful addition to almost any library.

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  • Posted December 27, 2009

    A masterpiece of the cartoonist's art

    R Crumb illustrates The Book of Genesis, following the excellent Alter translation (with a few understandable exceptions that he explains in his introduction and notes.) I would say "faithfully following," except that Crumb makes it clear that he is treating Genesis with the reverence that it is owed as a piece of world literature rather than as the revealed word of God. His style -- detailed, messy, human -- meshes wonderfully with the text. The people look as if they could have been living in the harsh world of ancient times -- or in the Garden of Eden, as appropriate -- rather than as if they were snatched from a shopping mall and dressed in funny outfits. The women in particular are substantial, while appropriately sensual. And Crumb learned how to evoke the world of Biblical times by showing his first drafts to people educated in the subject and amending. All in all an immense labor, and a wonderful book.

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  • Posted December 27, 2009

    more from this reviewer

    Somewhat dismayed

    I found the concept interesting, to say the least. However, I find the execution of the project to be racist and anti-Semitic. The characters are drawn with all the stereotypical racism portrayed for centuries by the most vile anti-Semites. Yet the reason for my dismay is that a publisher like Norton would market this kind of product. Ugh!

    0 out of 4 people found this review helpful.

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  • Posted December 16, 2009

    R. Crumb should do this for the whole Bible!

    R. Crumb should do this for the whole Bible. If he did maybe there would be a revitalized movement to understand and read the Bible. His drawings and attention to detail are amazing. But then what else would you expect for R. Crumb?

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    Posted January 25, 2010

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    Posted February 6, 2010

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    Posted November 30, 2009

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    Posted December 15, 2012

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    Posted December 4, 2009

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