Though I brought up Lynda Barry’s postlapsarian personalities and R. Crumb’s adaptation of Genesis in the same lecture, I really should have forced the connection between the two: the Fall! Crumb’s book was published in 2009 by Norton and based on Robert Alter’s translation of the text (also published by Norton). Here are my scans of the first two pages, which are less corpulent and detailed than the many stories of husbands and wives that follow. If we’re thinking about the primacy or inescapability of the word in Barry’s comics, then the abstract white and black patterns that Crumb uses to show how “God divided the light from the darkness” could almost be an allegory for these wordy comics themselves: white text spaces separate from darker image spaces.
-Go to Boing Boing to read Chapter 19 (the story of Sodom).
-Read Jeet Heer’s review of the book in Bookforum.
-Read Vanessa Davis’ comic review of the book in Tablet.
–The Paris Review Art of Comics No. 1 interview with Crumb (2010):
Genesis is obviously a graphic novel, but the cover is like a fifties comic-book cover.
It’s a Classics Illustrated! I had to argue with them to let me call it “illustrated.” They wanted to call it The Book of Genesis According to R. Crumb but I preferred “illustrated by.” I wanted a humbler position. It’s an illustration job, OK? Illustration has a bad name in modern culture because for decades artists who were “mere illustrators” were considered inferior to fine artists.