Jan 02, 2010 | Comments 5
Yes…there is was before my eyes it and it was true: “The Bible Illuminated: R.Crumbs Book of Genesis”. I think this is the third sign of the apocalypse.
Robert Crumb, the father of underground comics illustrating the Bible? Was this the same man in which I had just finished watching confess in his documentary his secret masturbation sessions to pictures of Bugs Bunny. Is this the same man often criticized for being overtly sexual, violent, racist and misanthropic,? Was this the same man who’s lust for beefy legged ladies has now illustrated all fifty chapters of America’s most sacred book. The answer is yes and it doesn’t surprise me. Crumb does what he wants and how he wants to do it. That is what makes him great.
Who would have thought that a comic book artist would one day be showing the Armand Hammer and be revered by all. I am continuously amazed how quickly society changes and what they place importance on. What next homelessness?
As I entered the gallery space, seeing the work all lined up like a row of cars on the 405 freeway was somewhat overwhelming at first, I wasn’t sure that I was committed to reading every panel. There was a lot to take in. Each of the framed drawings were the same size and all in black and white. Which parts would I read first? So I took my queue from arrows and started where I was at, at the beginning.
It is difficult to explain how beautiful these drawings are. Crumbs masterful execution truly captures the emotion, drama and mythic journey’s of these stories. The fearful look of Noah’s face when God is talking to him, or the confused look on the child face who is about to be executed by his father by the order of God. Each page could have been a show on it’s own. I admire his discipline in the consistency of the work . Not one panel is inferior to the next. His choice of not using color also gave the pages a timeless quality. It doesn’t surprise me that it took four years to complete this project.
As I progressed to each panel I found myself hooked and couldn’t stop reading. It was probably the most I ever read from the Bible in my life out of free will. Several hours had passed and I found that I had read most every panel and completely engaged in the stories like never before. I had been raised a Catholic and have had many sessions of Bible Study, Sermons and Nunery in my life. I have also seen many pieces of art that depict biblical characters in many different forms, but none have I found a collection like this that was so accessible and illustrated so completely in such an entertaining artistic style.
I also think it is important to acknowledge the fact that Crumb states he is not a believer that the Bible is the word of God. I think this allows him more freedom to illustrate it so truthfully, enabling to tell the story in more of a journalistic style rather than through the eyes of one who fears God’s wrath. The stories were vibrant, full of emotion and drama and devoid of fluff. Even the begat’s sections were interesting. If I didn’t know it was the bible, I would have thought it was Crumb Epic.
I left inspired.
You can see the show online
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