Book Review: The Book Of Genesis Illustrated By R Crumb

Having grown up in church for as far back as I can remember most Bible stories are at minimum familiar, at worst, rote. Having heard some stories 50 or 60 or even 100 times in a lifetime, it’s hard to approach them as fresh. With all of the preaching, teaching and Sunday School lessons, the initial story often gets obscured. Getting a  view,from someone whose life experience doesn’t include church can often be refreshing. Especially if the new eyes actually follows the text. Such is the case with The Book of Genesis Illustrated by R. Crumb

R Crumb’s previous work includes the the x-rated cartoon Fritz the Cat. Not exactly an Evangelical pedigree. Nonetheless, Crumb goes through great pains to stay with the text. His illustrations are very detailed and stay with the action. That being said, this is not a children’s Bible. Some of the illustrations are graphic and takes the text at its word.  He doesn’t Bowdlerize the text as what often happens in even illustrated adult Bibles.

This brings me to one of my pet peeves. Too often, we Christians blunt the text of the Bible.  In order to make it more palatable for those with delicate constitutions we deny the graphic nature of the text, Crumb doesn’t have the Christian sensibility that at times can cause some subtle censoring. God put what He did into the Bible so that we would see that it was relevant. That it does apply to us. And, most of all, that we would see ourselves for what we are:sinful people who need a Savior.

The success of Crumb’s version is that he takes it seriously without the religiosity. He doesn’t satirize , sanitize, or demean the text. The downside is that Crumb’s style is a little rough. Let’s put it like this: If you like Kinkade,you probably won’t like Crumb.