Noted by KEN JOHNSON in the Times,
Loaded as they are with sex, violence, hallucinatory visions and miracles, the stories of Adam and Eve, Cain and Abel, Lot and his daughters, David and Goliath (not to mention Bathsheba) and many others seem custom-made for Mr. Crumb’s bawdy sensibility and earthy draftsmanship.
Mr. Crumb may be irreverent, but in his attention to every detail of word and image he is as devout as any medieval manuscript illuminator. Scanning the 207 drawings on gallery walls is not the best way to take in the epical narrative, but it is good to see them in the original, undiminished by the inferior reproductive quality of the $24.95 book published by W. W. Norton. The inks are blacker, the pages whiter and the artist’s touch visibly subtler.
The real thrill, however, is in how Mr. Crumb’s richly hatched, firmly delineated drawings bring to unruly, comical life people and events that often seem puzzlingly abstract in the Bible, from the seven days of Creation to the happy death of Joseph at 110 in Egypt.
We especially like one phrase in Crumb's introduction where he says about his veneration for the text, "I believe it is the words of men. It is, nonetheless, a powerful text with layers of meaning that reach deep into our collective consciousness, our historical consciousness, if you will... " Honest and simple words. The kind of reflection that comes before and after a few years of hard work.