Wednesday, 1 April 2009

From Genesis to Depravation

I let out a whoop of joy on hearing that a much loved figure from my distant youth, Robert Crumb, the veteran hippy underground cartoonist, is to release a comic version of the Book of Genesis (I know, the original is pretty funny anyway, but bear with me here).
His publisher, Jonathan Cape, says it will be a "scandalous satire" which "presents a complex, even subversive, narrative that calls for a significant re-examination of both the Bible's content and its role in our culture". See more at .
For the benefit of younger readers, Crumb was one of the original underground comic cartoonists way back when. Impressively, he is one comic book artist who never worked in the mainstream. I guess chain-toking characters like Devil Girl, Fritz the Cat, and Mr. Natural were a tad too radical for DC Comics.
His characters even got a disdainful mention or two back in the 1971 Schoolkid Oz trial – a 'free speech or obscenity' case that predates even the Gay News trial caused by Mary Whitehouse.
Much later, Devil Girl was used to promote an unlikely chocolate bar, whose wrapper proudly warned:
"7 Evils in One! 1-Delicious Taste; 2-Quick, cheap buzz; 3-Bad for your health; 4-Leads to hard drugs; 5-Waste of money; 6-Made by sleazy businessmen; 7-Exploits women."
Crumb himself wrote the text which went underneath the display boxes, telling startled retailers:
"A word to wholesalers and retailers of the Devil Girl Choco-Bar. It may seem to you the depths of marketing ignorance to state in bold letters on the package 'IT'S BAD FOR YOU', but think about it... this is a brilliant strategy in consideration of kids today; a stupid, know-nothing generation of brain-dead morons who want nothing more than to be 'BAD'. We're certain this morally bankrupt horde of 'slackers' will eat up this low-grade product as fast as you can place it on your candy counter. The sharp, up-to-date business operator will not fail to perceive the beauty - and reap the profits - in the hook 'IT'S BAD FOR YOU!'"
Oh, go on, you gotta love the guy!
The book will be published simultaneously in the US and the UK on 19 October.
I can’t wait to see if this turns into another Danish cartoon saga, and to see how long it takes before some fuming Christofascist claims Crumb wouldn’t dare do that with the Koran.
Actually, he would, and if Genesis takes off he probably will!

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