by: Kelpie Wilson, t r u t h o u t | Book Review
I confess that I am one of those feminists who finds a lot to like in the work of Robert Crumb. If his early work in the underground comics movement expressed a "sexual rage" as he calls it, well those were the times to get it all out of your system. Besides, how could I not love an artist so appreciative of the real bodies that women have - big butts, thunder thighs and all?
So, it came as a surprise to learn that this warrior of the id and defender of the flesh has produced an illustrated version of Genesis. That's right, the Bible. What would he do with it? Obviously, Crumb would portray the cruel and jealous God of the Old Testament as some version of the cynical, abusive Mr. Natural, holding secret orgies in Heaven with Devil Girl, and he would base his Abraham on Flakey Foont, Mr. Natural's pathetic sycophant.
But that's not how Crumb did it. On this one, he played it (mostly) straight. And why not? If you have never read Genesis from start to finish, you might not be aware that the stories are as full of sexual perversity and surreal plot points as any comic book. Genesis has lust, inebriation, nudity, polygamy, harlots, men pimping their wives, masturbation, penis cutting, sex with a 90-year-old woman who gives birth, sodomy, incest and a father who offers his virgin daughters up for strangers to rape.
That's a lot of great material for an artist like Crumb, and the genius of his Genesis is that he portrays it all - every word and every illustration is given equal weight. That's not how they taught it to us back in Sunday school. Our Bible coloring books had only selected scenes: Noah and his animals, but never Noah lying passed out drunk and naked in his tent. And even when we outgrew the Sunday school cookies and punch and graduated to wafers and wine, we still never heard about Abraham selling his wife Sarah to Pharaoh in exchange for cattle, gold and slaves. It was a kind of scam for the couple, and they did it more than once, targeting King Abimelech of Gerar next and getting cattle, sheep, slaves and land in return.