I recently got a copy of Robert Crumb’s illustrated book of Genesis for review. I’m not going to print my whole review here, it’s going elsewhere, but I am going to give a quick/short form review as I know lots of people will be interested in the book.
Of course Crumb is a justly famous artist, his mastery of pencil and pen is amazing, and the artwork in this version of the Genesis text is incredible.
Moreover he doesnt take any liberties with the text, it’s basically ‘as is’ (albeit with the mandatory additions of chapters, and the occasional Crumb footnote).
It’s a beautifully illustrated book, and the illustration is very well researched, adding a new dimension to the text in places.
My only grumble with the book is that in my opinion Crumb has over-sexualised some of the female characters. I think he does this to try and emphasise their power and importance, but I think the pneumatic breasts and rounded buttocks which appear clothed and unclothed as the the stories demand, are at times unneccesarily exagerated.
Textual literalists may also complain that while Crumb doesnt add or subtract from the words, he does add some new layers of meaning (although well researched of course) via facial expressions and background contexts in certain scenes.
In all, an excellent book, really beautifully drawn. There are issues surrounding sexualisation, and in my opinion this is a consistent issue with Crumb, but if you can ignore that, then there is the real possibility that this will open up the ancient and awesome book of Genesis in a new way for the reader, and that is always welcome.
Parental advisory: contains sexual and violent content.