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Arts and Culture

God Gets the R. Crumb Treatment

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Posted on Oct 19, 2009
Book of Genesis
usatoday.com

Drawing God is an age-old challenge, but ultra-quirky illustrator R. Crumb was up for it—although it took a lot of white-out to do the job, which seems fitting somehow. Crumb tackled the first 50 chapters of the Old Testament in his latest creation, simply titled “The Book of Genesis Illustrated by R. Crumb,” and lo, it is good.  —KA

USA Today:

“Should God just be a bright light? Should I use word balloons? Should God be a woman?” Crumb says the answer came to him in a dream.

“I ended up with the old stereotypical Charlton Heston kind of God, long beard, very masculine. I used a lot of white-out, a lot of corrections when I tried to draw God.”

With a mixture of anticipation and anxiety, the art world has been awaiting Crumb’s long-rumored illuminated manuscript, a four-year, monastic-like effort to adapt every word of the first book of the Bible in distinctive pen and ink.

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Tony Wicher's avatar

By Tony Wicher, November 1, 2009 at 5:22 pm Link to this comment

I just got it. Crumb did a fantastic job! What else could get me to read the whole book of Genesis non-stop? I couldn’t put it down!

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Anarcissie's avatar

By Anarcissie, November 1, 2009 at 10:51 am Link to this comment

ardee:
‘As one who grew up in a Yiddish speaking household I am aware of what you may not know. The term ‘Goyim’ and its shortened ‘Goy’ is a pejorative spoken with reduced volume, exactly as one might use the ‘N’ word or its many equivalents. It has no place in the light of day.’

A few months ago is I encountered a woman who told me that I should not use the word Jew because it was pejorative; I should say something like “Jewish person.”  I think my Jew(ish) colleagues would have been astounded to hear this; they of course refer to themselves as Jews on the rare occasions when they have reason to notice ethnicity, religion or culture.  When I mentioned this she said, “Well, how would like to be referred to as a goy?  I told her I would be unimpressed one way or another, as it is merely a fact (unless you believe, as some used to, that the Irish are one of the lost tribes of Israel).  The word, plural goyim, simply means “people” in Hebrew—that is, the peoples of the Earth, most of whom don’t happen to be Jews.  I’ve seen the term goyish, occasionally decorated with Yiddish grammatical endings, in various places, where it seems to be faintly contemptuous, like “white-bread” or “square”, but not really vigorously nasty, and certainly not on the level of the famous ethnic curse-words.  Perhaps it’s about like gringo.

Although I once did see a Mexican woman slap her (grown) son’s face for using the word gringo in polite company.  Language is quite a minefield.

Did you ever read Lenny Bruce’s diatribe “Is there a n——r in the house?”  It’s right at the beginning of one of his books.  A heroic effort, but it didn’t work, I guess.

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By ardee, November 1, 2009 at 3:50 am Link to this comment

Ardee, I am sorry to hear that you have had your American citizenship revoked.  Don’t be so upset, many cultures have names for those not of them.

Hee, still a citizen actually, and Outraged should be upset at his loss of respectability and truthfulness, not to mention having no shred of honor , running away after lying….

The term in question is as impolitic as the ‘N’ word actually, thus merits objection. If decent people do not stand against bigotry and hatred it will never disappear.

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By DaveZx3, October 31, 2009 at 11:43 pm Link to this comment

I am curious as to how Crumb found out what God looks like.  Or did he just make it up, like everyone else does?  It is a curious habit of men.

I heard God is writing a rebuttal.  It will be called Crumb Gets the God Treatment, and it will show the picture of a jackass on the cover.  Don’t blame me, I just heard that somewhere. 

Ardee, I am sorry to hear that you have had your American citizenship revoked.  Don’t be so upset, many cultures have names for those not of them. 
I have a name for all those who have names.  It is called “bigot”

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By ardee, October 25, 2009 at 6:10 am Link to this comment

Night-Gaunt, October 24 at 6:06 pm

As one who grew up in a Yiddish speaking household I am aware of what you may not know. The term ‘Goyim’ and its shortened ‘Goy’ is a pejorative spoken with reduced volume, exactly as one might use the ‘N’ word or its many equivalents. It has no place in the light of day.

This has nothing whatever to do with the illegal and immoral actions of the nation of Israel, NG, and I puzzle at your inclusion thereof.

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By GoyToy, October 24, 2009 at 3:36 pm Link to this comment
(Unregistered commenter)

Night-Gaunt: Thank you, because I told Ardee a little while ago that I was not going to respond anymore.

What if I’d chosen “Gaijin” (I hope I’ve spelled it correctly) for my name on this site? Isn’t gaijin the word Japanese use for a foreigner, and I believe the word actually translates as “barbarian.”

But Ardee is really bothered by this GoyToy handle—even though I’ve explained I selected it because I am opposed to the Zionist enterprise, and I do not conflate all Jews with the Zionist enterprise.

Again, thank you, and bye….Hope Ardee won’t miss me too much because I may be out of pocket, as “they” say.

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Night-Gaunt's avatar

By Night-Gaunt, October 24, 2009 at 3:06 pm Link to this comment

Don’t be so upset Ardee the explanation fits and it should be no big deal here. There are plenty of other cultures who have a general name for all those not of them. From Navajos to Romany though none of them have a country, like the Jews, with nuclear weapons and are forcing out a local indigenous population to fit their own living space expansion mandated by their god, are they?

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By ardee, October 24, 2009 at 1:23 pm Link to this comment

GoyToy, October 24 at 10:19 am

problems? The problem seems to be your complete and utter ignorance…

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By GoyToy, October 24, 2009 at 7:19 am Link to this comment
(Unregistered commenter)

Ardee: Gosh, where are you getting off on all this Hitler nonsense? Hitler and I just don’t go together. You do have a way of jumping to conclusion without knowing zilch.

Please, whatever problem you, kindly go work it out. End of conversation. Bye!

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By ardee, October 24, 2009 at 6:34 am Link to this comment

GoyToy, October 23 at 11:44 am

Why not change the name to “HitlerYouth”, it wouldnt really be insulting now would it?

Are you really this dumb?

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By GoyToy, October 23, 2009 at 8:44 am Link to this comment
(Unregistered commenter)

Ardee: Yes, I am quite aware that goy/goyim is a derogatory term for non-Jews. That is precisely why I use it—because I am opposed to the entire Zionist enterprise. Just as an FYI, I was not born Jew, nor was I adopted by a Jewish family, I am NOT a Jew, and will not convert to Judaism (and I don’t mean any disrespect to the Jewish faith). So relax.

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By ardee, October 23, 2009 at 3:30 am Link to this comment

GoyToy, October 22 at 5:10 pm

Respect is such a subjective concept apparently. Where is, for example, your own respect for artistic license? Where is your understanding of humor and respect for the humor of others? Where in fact is your respect for yourself with that silly sobriquet you use?

‘Goy” , short for ‘Goyim’, is a Yiddish term and a derogatory referral to non Jews.

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Tony Wicher's avatar

By Tony Wicher, October 22, 2009 at 11:27 pm Link to this comment

Oh, boy, I just have to have it!!!!!!!

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Night-Gaunt's avatar

By Night-Gaunt, October 22, 2009 at 9:50 pm Link to this comment

He was too weird and repulsive for the Bible. Fortunately you can find it on the internet and printed! Now if only R. Crumb would have done some of the other books left out like the Books I & II of Edras—-now that I would salivate over.

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By GregDiablo, October 22, 2009 at 9:22 pm Link to this comment

Nice job, Crumb; I really enjoyed and savored your herculean effort on this job. 
Especially loved the incest scene; that page looked like something out of WEIRDO
in an alternate universe. 

I was raised a Catholic as well, and this is first time I’ve gotten through Genesis,
actually.  And I’m an atheist now.

Always wondered what happened to Enoch…

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Night-Gaunt's avatar

By Night-Gaunt, October 22, 2009 at 8:48 pm Link to this comment

Are you saying that because he isn’t devote he doesn’t have integrity for his work? Have you looked at it yet to see if your prejudice is founded? Or is it because he drew it as it is written in all its beauty and ugliness that is usually overlooked by embarrassed rabbis and reverends? Don’t be disingenuous. Too many believers are that way that I have met. Blinders firmly in place to ignore those sections they find impure, obscene and un-Christian.

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By GoyToy, October 22, 2009 at 2:10 pm Link to this comment
(Unregistered commenter)

Shame on Crumb. Respect for other peoples’ belief, regardless of whether one believes in a divine (God) or not, is just fundamental human decency. Maybe that’s really at the foundation of our problems—our lack of manners, treating others with decency and courtesy, etc. Crumb deserves no respect because he obviously doesn’t have any respect for others.

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By tomack, October 22, 2009 at 12:49 pm Link to this comment

Too bad it’s not Adults Only as some of Crumb’s lesser known stuff was (or was it?), that would be a hoot.

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By Eso, October 22, 2009 at 3:25 am Link to this comment

bachu. FYI, John came before Jesus and still uses his legs to walk the Earth, while Jesus (once a disciple of John) sits in Heaven on his hands and goes nowhere.

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By nikto, October 21, 2009 at 5:01 pm Link to this comment
(Unregistered commenter)

The Bible is ok, but really,
MOBY DICK is a way way better book.

Both books have similar themes, but The Bible is sophomoric, immoral and contradictory.

Herman Melville is a far, far, far superior writer to ANY of the folks who contributed to The Bible.

God agrees.

Read Moby Dick INSTEAD of the Bible!!!!!

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By Rgyle, October 21, 2009 at 1:17 pm Link to this comment

It’s only fitting that the creator of Bo Bo Bolinski, Angelfood McSpade, Whiteman,
Fritz the Cat, Potatoes Browning, Mr. Natural and my favorite the “(hubby peering
out window) See if there’s anything good on…(wife frozen in chair) Why bother?”
DESPAIR comic book, would finally do the old testament.

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Night-Gaunt's avatar

By Night-Gaunt, October 21, 2009 at 11:53 am Link to this comment

I use to own some “Classic Comix” and have fond memories of them. Maybe one day… but then I also like the original Marvel from their inception to at least Christmas 1984 and “Turok: Son of Stone” & “Space Family Robinson” to the early 1980’s at least.

As for R. Crumb, the problem with some of you is that he did as the Bible said and copied it without censorship, unlike the preachers and newspapers do. Plenty of sex, rape, incest, murder, torture and all that good wrath of God-type stuff. Unexpergated in its X-rated purity!

I hope I can get it one day as one skeptic artist mythologist to another. I have been reading the mythologies of Egypt, Summerian, Akkadian, Assyeria, Hittite, Hellenic, Semetic and so on which are very interesting.

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By Amon Drool, October 20, 2009 at 11:08 am Link to this comment

anar…your comment sent me down memory lane.  my parents started buying classic comics in the 40’s and saved them.  in my 10th grade english class, we hadda do book ‘reports’ every 2 weeks…boy, did they come in handy then.

the particular classic comic that i most remember was their adaptation of victor hugo’s “the man who laughs.”  the disfigured face, permanently contorted into a bizarre grin ala nicholson’s joker, of the lead character was (at the time) alarming and also very compelling.  i just wiki’ed the plotline and found that the story itself is based on historical truth.  young children were sometimes mutilated in the hope that they could be sold off at a profit to circuses.  i recently took a shot at a ‘nietzschean’ commenter here who i thought had used the phrase ‘life’s theater of cruelty’ a bit too blithely.  now i’m startin’ to think….

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By richard roe, October 20, 2009 at 10:04 am Link to this comment
(Unregistered commenter)

Hey, maybe now that it’s in comic book form Christians will actually read the Bible.

It worked for Scientology. 

Of course, I’m curious, does Crumb depict Lot getting drunk and sleeping with his daughters as is written in the book of Genesis? 

I always loved how that part of the story of Sodom and Gomorroh was conveniently left out; destroy 2 entire cities but spare the drunken, incestuous guy because he’s “morally superior”.  Funny stuff!

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Misfiteye's avatar

By Misfiteye, October 20, 2009 at 9:18 am Link to this comment

Bullshit begets Bullshit.

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Anarcissie's avatar

By Anarcissie, October 20, 2009 at 5:35 am Link to this comment

I believe Crumb is doing a good old Classics-Comics thing, in which case what we have is not God God but the character is a piece of literature, Genesis.  This character is correctly represented as an old guy with a beard, impressive magical powers, and a bad temper.  And lots of White-Out.

Are Classics Comics still around?  I may be showing my impressive antiquity here.

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By ardee, October 20, 2009 at 4:59 am Link to this comment

Shheeesh, I just knew the first comments woudl be from those who never, ever get it. I think Jesus would laugh his ass off.

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By Howie Bledsoe, October 20, 2009 at 4:52 am Link to this comment
(Unregistered commenter)

Bachu
How do you know Crumb is making fun of it? 4 years of hard graft seems pretty dedicated. Also, the kids dying right now in the mid east are probably not doing it for god. Thay want an education, a bit of extra money and a new experience. Crumb was also very much against Vietnam war so I dont see why he would change his tack.  Also, it´s not Crumbs fault that greedy bastards got us into this mess.

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de profundis clamavi's avatar

By de profundis clamavi, October 19, 2009 at 10:53 pm Link to this comment

Thou shalt make no graven image.

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By bachu, October 19, 2009 at 8:37 pm Link to this comment
(Unregistered commenter)

How dare Crumb make fun of religion when his countrymen are fighting and dying in two different wars in the name religion, not to mention the billions that are taken from the American tax payers and given to Israel also in the name of religion.

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