A few weeks ago, the inimitable R. Crumb was a guest on our show, talking about his most-recent project, The Book of Genesis Illustrated. (If you didn't get a chance to listen to the segment, you should.) During the show, Chris, a listener from Ohio, asked Crumb about why he decided to illustrate the book:
I'm unclear as to the motivations for coming up with the book because, you know, you make some references at being comic bookish, but then you're, you know, you're talking about - you're not necessarily, you know, a Western religion. ... Did you write it out of like - this is going to sound harsh - mockery of Genesis or what was kind of your motivation?
In his answer, and throughout the interview, Crumb said that he wanted to tell the story with pictures as literally as possible:
There's no mockery in it, there's no attempt to satirize it or to make fun of it or ridicule it at all. I did it as a straight illustration job. And why I did it? The reasons are quite murky, you know? I'm not sure ever why I do anything precisely, you know. It's hard to nail down precisely.
I've been very interested in a long time in ancient stories. I've read a lot of ancient mythological stories of Sumer and Babylon and all that stuff, and then I kind of start comparing the Genesis stories to these other stories from that region. And I just - and the more I got interested, the more I thought, well, this might be interesting just to make a comic out of - without, you know - at first, like I said, I had worked up these kind of satires on Adam and Eve and wasn't satisfied with that. So I saw that this - just illustrate it as its written, you know, do a - refrain from making fun of it, don't put any visual jokes in because that will distract people from the text.
I stumbled across this video earlier today. Ricky Gervais, one of my favorite comedians, gives his take on Genesis. I think it's a pretty good — and yes, irreverent — exegesis. If you have a sense of humor, watch it. If you'll be easily offended by a guy poking some fun at a religious text, Barrie's got a great post on girls being girls.