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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. (c) Copyright 2010. Library Journals LLC, a wholly owned subsidiary of Media Source, Inc. No redistribution permitted.
From Booklist, Copyright © American Library Association. Used with permission.
*Starred Review* Those who know Crumb only as a transgressive underground cartoonist or the eccentric subject of a Terry Zwigoff's hit documentary film may be surprised by his latest project, a faithful, unabridged adaptation of the first book of the Bible. But fans who have followed Crumb's career closely know that his recent output includes faithful adaptations of Kafka and other literary works. His version of Genesis, however, is the most ambitious and sustained work of his lengthy career. From the Creation story to that of Joseph and the sons of Israel, virtually nothing is missing, for the entirety of the text (mostly in poet and Hebraist Robert Alter's translation) is given, which dictates a rather caption-heavy presentation. Although such dramatic sequences as those of Noah's Ark and the destruction of Sodom and Gomorrah make for the most exciting passages, Crumb's vivid visual characterizations of the myriad characters, pious and wicked, make the most striking impression. His distinctive, highly rendered drawing style imparts a physicality that few other illustrated versions of this often retold chronicle have possessed. The centenarian elders show every one of their years, and the women, from Eve to Rachel, are as solidly sensual as any others Crumb has so famously drawn--Flagg, Gordon Copyright 2009 Booklist
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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.) (c) Copyright PWxyz, LLC. All rights reserved