The June, 8 issue of the New Yorker contains an excerpt from R. Crumb’s long-awaited new book, an illustrated version of the Bible, with an introduction by Françoise Mouly. The story is the well-known tale of how God created heaven and earth, and how man and woman betrayed God’s trust by eating the fruit of the Tree of Knowledge.
The art is quintessential Crumb – bearded old guys and well-toned, muscular women. But what’s even more interesting, is that he has started from the literal text, not a contemporary rewrite or interpretation. This renders the result more direct, more primitive, and, in my opinion, much more appealing.
The Bible seems to be quite in demand these days. On my daily commute, I’m currently listening to David Plotz’ audio version of this Good Book, in which he annotates his attempt to actually read the Bible from cover to cover. Highly recommended, if only for Plotz’ wry remarks when he again finds totally un-PC cruelty, paternalism or just plain bad editing.
(artwork © R. Crumb)