Crumb faces the press — UPDATED

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Is there a living cartoonist besides Robert Crumb who could hold a press conference just about a comic book? For two hours? And sit in front of a picture of God and look great doing it? Crumb recently faced questions in Paris about GENESIS, his towering interpretation of the first book of the Bible:

The 66-year-old hero of underground comics who wowed the 1960s with “Fritz The Cat” and “Mr Natural”, said he took up the challenge 40 years later of creating another white-haired long-bearded figure “to illuminate the text of Genesis by illustrating every single thing that’s in there.”

“It hasn’t been done before I think,” he said. “There are hidden stories that are very strong.”

The lanky gray-haired Crumb, in grey suit and waistcoat for the two-hour media conference, poked fun at the Almighty hero of the book but said he had reneged his Roman Catholic upbringing to become a gnostic “on a spiritual quest”.


Crumb will be doing some events in conjunction with the book’s release. Does anyone have the schedule?

Speaking of GENESIS, at SPX, we had a fun conversation with Carol Tyler and Douglas Wolk in which we imagined what it would be like if EVERY book of the Bible got a comics adaptation. Can you imagine who would do what book? Tyler said she’s been told she’s perfect for Ruth, and suggested Justin Green for one of the Gospels. We like Jim Woodring for Ezekiel and Todd McFarlane for Revelations. Who do YOU think should draw what book of the Bible?

UPDATE: Douglas has his own suggestions at Comics Alliance:

This weekend, at SPX, Carol Tyler mentioned that someone had suggested she should draw the book of Ruth; Chester Brown has already done Mark and part of Matthew. Anyone want to suggest cartoonists particularly suited to other books of the Bible? Joe Matt on Job, anyone? P. Craig Russell’s Song of Solomon?

Comments

  1. I should draw the Gospel of John. NO, really — my mother would finally appreciate me being an illustrator if I did!

  2. Tom Spurgeon says:

    Al Columbia already did part of the Book of Revelations, and it was the best comic the year it came out.

  3. John Tebbel says:

    Howabout the ten books not the bible that would make great comics. Oh, sorry Jesus. Just kidding, heh, heh.

  4. Torsten Adair says:

    Just finished The Book of Genesis. Well done, a little sex here or there, and fabulous notes in the back!

    I’m not a Bible thumper (the only book I read completely was the Song of Solomon, because it is naughty), BUT it’s “The Revelation”. And, yes, McFarlane would be interesting. (Although… Alex Ross already did it.)

    Song of Solomon: P. Craig Russell
    Proverbs and Psalms: either a multitude, or present it as text with spot illustrations from non-comics illustrators.

    The Letters are another problem. There’s no narative, just philosophy and self-help advice.

    Exodus: Frank Cho, with perhaps Gerhard assisting with the background architecture?

    Mike Allred adapted the Book of Mormon, so assign him one of the historical books, perhaps the story of Elijah/Elisha. (Hmm… superman = moses, elisha = batman) Although… I want a gory scene where Jezebel gets devoured by the wild dogs!

    Charles Vess… whatever he wants.

    Kyle Baker already adapted the story of David. He would be good for the laundry list of “do this, we’ll punish you thus” in Laws or Deut. His style is also good for the Samson story.

    Some books would probably be best if split between artists. Each gets a story.

    What of the Apocrypha?

  5. Like to see Jill Thompson do one of the New Testament books. I like her compositions and her way of seeing colour and shapes.

  6. Okay… I’m a non-fiction comics nut, so here are some tomes to read while you wait for the All-Star Jahweh collection:

    The picture Bible 089191224X
    Outrageous tales from the Old Testament 0861660544 (pbk) (Warning: You’ll burn in Hell for reading this. But it’s got Hunt Emerson and Neil Gaiman and Kim Deitch and…)
    King David (Kyle Baker) 1563898667
    Proverbs & parables 0966511808
    Jonah and the whale 0836206894
    Picture stories from the Bible : the New Testament in comic-strip form (M.C. Gaines) 0345340302 (pbk.)
    The Acts of the Apostles : the New International version 0899002005
    DC Treasury edition of stories from the Bible (C-36) (Cover by Joe Kubert, interior art by Nestor Rodondo. Covers the greatest hits of Genesis.) (Also, DC published “Picture Stories from the Bible” back in the Golden Age.)

    Metron Press, an imprint of the American Bible Society, adapted Samson (9781585166473) in the Image style, as well as publishing “Testament”, an anthology of Bible stories.

    If one would like the historical viewpoint of all this, Larry Gonick’s Cartoon History of the Universe does an excellent job of examining Christianity and other religions.

    A quick look at Wikipedia shows at least 80 books in the OT, NT, and Apocrypha.

  7. As already noted, the Epistles would be impossible to adapt without resorting to talking heads, and the same applies to books such as Deuteronomy (more sermons), Numbers (the first third is just what it says on the tin: a census dump), Leviticus (“____ is an abomination”, later, rinse, repeat), Proverbs and Psalms (again: just what it says). Turning to the Apocrypha sounds like lots of fun, but some of those books are no better: the Gospel of Thomas is just lots of sayings and lectures, and the Gospel of Judas – while sounding juicy – is mostly just Jude and Jesus talking, so you’d need someone really good at ye olde talking heds.

    I vote for Chris Ware on the Book of Job, Lamentations, or Ecclesiastes.

    Although I’d love to see PCR do Song of Solomon (or just about anything), I think Greg Land would be a more interesting choice.

    Kirby would have been an appropriate choice for just about any book, alas.

    I have some thoughts about illustrating the canonical and infancy Gospels, but I’ll keep them to myself (he added cryptically).

  8. Synsidar says:

    Crumb’s Web site and blog both offer a list of tour stops, without specific dates:

    In late September he will hold a two day press event in Paris, and in the middle of October start his press tour of the US in New York City. From there he is headed to Richmond, Virginia. From there he attends an event in L.A. where all 200+ pages of the original art which comprises the book will be shown at the Hammer Museum. From L.A. he goes up to San Francisco where he will do some interviews but also take some time off to visit friends. In the middle of November he goes to the University of Texas in Austin to finish the tour.

  9. The Beat says:


    Robert, in accordance with his agreement with W.W. Norton Company (the publisher of his latest book), will spend much of this autumn promoting Genesis. In late September he will hold a two day press event in Paris, and in the middle of October start his press tour of the US in New York City. From there he is headed to Richmond, Virginia. From there he attends an event in L.A. where all 200+ pages of the original art which comprises the book will be shown at the Hammer Museum. From L.A. he goes up to San Francisco where he will do some interviews but also take some time off to visit friends. In the middle of November he goes to the University of Texas in Austin to finish the tour. Upon his return to France, he looks forward to beginning the new book he and Aline plan to do together. ”

    Wow, sounds like he really wants people to come out!

  10. Synsidar says:

    Crumb might prefer to let his work speak for itself — but after spending four years on the book, according to W.W. Norton’s fall catalog, he could be a little tired of the thing. The catalog mentions “off-the-book-page features”, which could be interesting.

    SRS

  11. Synsidar says:

    Some artists should take on the lost books of the Bible, where the juicy material is. One guy’s description of the “Infancy Gospel”:

    It presents Jesus as divine, yet also having the personality of a five-year-old boy. For example: “When the Lord Jesus was coming home in the evening with Joseph, he met a boy who ran so hard against him, that he threw him down; To whom the Lord Jesus said `As thou hast thrown me down, so shalt thou fall, nor ever rise.’ And that moment the boy fell down and died.” (I infancy, Ch. XIX, vv. 22-24)

  12. Ahem:

    http://store-locator.barnesandnoble.com/author-events/R-Crumb/2125345

    R. Crumb in Conversation with Francoise Mouly
    Friday October 23, 2009 7:00 PM
    Union Square
    33 East 17th Street, New York, NY 10003, 212-253-0810

    Special Instructions
    A limited number of pre-signed copies of The Book of Genesis Illustrated by R. Crumb will be available for purchase at this event. Strict limits will be enforced.

    Call the store on Thursday, to see if there are any restrictions regarding how many copies he will sign, if he will sign anything else, and if there is a limit on how many books he will sign.

  13. And don’t forget that Giffen/Hampton adaptation of Genesis that first appeared in PENTHOUSE back in 2000… (I thought they were gonna do the whole Book, but stopped after that first Chapter.)

  14. Synsidar says:

    The material by Giffen and Hampton that appeared in Penthouse was collected and republished by IDW in THE BIBLE: EDEN.

    EDEN front cover

    A pastor who reviewed EDEN didn’t quite know what to think:

    This vision of the Bible is no-holds-barred. It is printed for an audience that I have yet to discern. The publisher’s Web site calls this “the original tale of innocence, temptation and lust.” This is a strange way to describe this story; of all the sins that this story portrays, lust is not one I readily think of.

    What it misses is the story’s ability to explain to us how we got to where we are. The story lacks context, which is important for the uninformed reader.

    The comic’s cover says, “Everyone knows what happened in the Garden of Eden.” Based on research by George Barna and others, that is not true. Many in our culture do not know the story of the Garden of Eden or what it means.

    As beautiful as this comic is, it lacks some of the elements needed to make it part of the cultural discussion about faith and spirituality. The Bible: Eden misses the storytelling mark. Without the needed context, it’s just a group of pictures.

    The pastor thought that IDW intended to continue the series. It would be interesting to see if Giffen and Hampton could change their direction.

    SRS

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