book review: the book of genesis

In 2009 Robert Crumb illustrated the Book of Genesis. His introduction to the book dispels any thoughts that he’s trying to do some sort of parody or anything. It’s a pretty straight-up version of the entire text of Genesis (he does mention that he uses a couple of translations, but mostly the King James), illustrated in comic book form.

It’s kind of weird reading it this way because of the pacing (and also weird to be reading bible-stories in any form, but whatever). The panels of a comic train you to think of time in different ways, so you focus a bit more on who each of these people are in the “Echlehem begat Afinepek begat Khelipetev begat…” chunks. There are a lot of lists of descendents and while he didn’t give headshots of everyone there were a lot of them. And the choice of what he illustrated draws your attention to different things that you’d gloss over just reading the text.

There’s also a fair amount of nudity and nobody is very attractive, because they’re all drawn in a very R. Crumb kind of style.

It was an interesting experience, and did highlight how strangely the bronze-age people behaved (the story of Joseph and his brothers after he becomes the Minister of Finance for Egypt still makes very little sense) in one of the more influential and old myth-cycles the world has seen.

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