Iconic books are texts revered as objects of power rather than just as words of instruction, information, or insight. In religious and secular rituals around the globe, people carry, show, wave, touch and kiss books and other texts, as well as read them. This blog chronicles such events and activities. (For more about iconic books, see the links to the Iconic Books Project at left.)

Tuesday, October 20, 2009

Weird Testament: The Bible Gets the R. Crumb Treatment

I've been waiting for Crumb's "Genesis" to come out and thinking about teaching it next semester to my "Pop Culture/Pop Religion" course. He's not the only one who has put parts of the Bible in comic form (as McKee notes in this good write up), but what Crumb does do is raise the prickles between words and images. I'm a fan of his drawing skills and styles, but the almost "literalism" he uses here makes one wonder again whether all of this must remain literary.

Weird Testament: The Bible Gets the R. Crumb Treatment RDBook ReligionDispatches

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1 comment:

Jim Watts said...

What fascinates me is the cultural distinction between art, even "pop art," on the one hand, and religious art and publishing on the other, that gets played out in the media coverage of Crumb's book. As a comic-style illustrated Bible, it belongs in the same category with the Manga Bibles that we've covered before (here and here). In fact, in comparison with these, Crumb's work looks like a throw-back. The Bible-as-comic was exploited by Christian evangelicals long before any secular artists got interested, as the continuing industry of comic tracts (e.g. by Jack Chick) reminds us. And secular artists don't even have a chance at cornering the market on most irreverent or scandalous visual reinterpretations of the Bible, since that market was cornered almost 40 years ago by David Berg of the Children of God. So my question is: how is Crumb's Genesis anything but a cultural anachronism?