"....feed me the southside of Chicago."
R. Crumb's illustrated comic of the Book of Genesis comes out today. While most anything having to do with grown adults and comic books generally gives me the dumb chills, I imagine the Crumb project should be illuminating. Sometimes merely telling a thing in type vs. showing a thing through a combination of type and visual art can make all the difference.
Take for example these shots of a very blasted JT high-kicking over BM's head while she squats like she's in a rap video shot at Abu Ghraib. What? Yeah. Real creepy and random. Had I simply told you a story about this 4AM moment down on Chicago's southside this past July, it probably wouldn't have resonated. And in my retelling I probably would've forgotten to say anything about the eggs, bread, cigs and bananas painted on that beautiful yellow ghetto market wall. But look at it. That shit is aaaammmaaaazzziiiiinnngggg. That crate of eggs moves the photo from merely being weird to being wildly awesome.
Anyway, back to R. Crumb. Clearly, the world can benefit by having an illustrated adult version of Genesis. Drawing attention to the sex, violence, and supernatural shenanigans inherent in the Book of G, (for that is primarily its schtick), will likely cause the thumping horde to howl, "BLASPHEMY!" But fuck it, Genesis is what it is. Everybody gets born, everybody craves a bonejob and shelter from the storm; everybody wants a bit of bread for their tummies and a pile of gold coins; everybody screws everybody over to get it; and everybody dies a horrible death. God is an angry god. God is a vengeful god. God is a jealous god. Blah to the blah, blah, blah... Welcome to the world according to Genesis.
Crafting visual representations of the stories within the text doesn't alter the text. On the contrary, it should cause at least a few people to see the text more literally for what it is, rather than for what they'd prefer it to be. "Let there be light," and all that jazz. The Old Testament is a miserable, pain place full of misery and painful pain. Duh. R. Crumb deserves tremendous respect for taking the time to do this. That no one had done so before him is the only thing that might actually be shocking about it.