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R. Crumb Sexes Up Bible in Latest Comic

Juxtapoz // Monday, 19 Oct 2009

Browning continues:
“The warning is not just because of the relentless sex that peppers the story, but also, as Crumb explained at a press conference in Paris, because of the "violence" and "nastiness" of the story:

"[It's about] ruling elites, victimizing people in sadistic ways, which is human beings at their nastiest. They have power over others, and they derive pleasure from inflecting pain on other humans. That's about as nasty as people get," he said.

French publisher Jean-Luc Fromental, who's been a Crumb fan since he was a kid, says that at first he couldn't imagine what Crumb would do with the Bible.

"To me, only way Crumb could get to this was through blasphemy," he says. "Gradually the pages came in, and [I] understood the nature of what he was trying to do, which is to reread the whole text from a humanistic point of view without changing a single word, without adding a single written commentary to the whole thing, but using only his graphic art."

Crumb spent four years working up his illustrations, during which time he studied both ancient and modern translations of Genesis and also researched parallel Babylonian and Sumerian myths. But as fellow cartoonist and French resident Gilbert Shelton sees it, the brilliance of Crumb's Genesis is in the art.

"His technique is rich, rich as any draftsman I know," says Shelton. "[The images are] just fascinating in their clarity. He's an artist's artist."

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