Weighing in for the Beat’s end-of-year industry feature, Abrams Executive Editor Charlie Kochman predicts that the “biggest story in comics in 2009” will be “the long-awaited publication of Robert Crumb’s Book of Genesis, an adaptation of the Bible story, which Norton will be publishing in Fall 2009. I had the privilege of seeing some of the pages in France two years ago, and the scope of the work has haunted me ever since.”
The Comic Book College Weeklies blog carries corroborating commentary from Denis Kitchen, who acted as the book’s agent, that The Book of Genesis According to R. Crumb is “coming from W. W. Norton probably late 2009.”
The most recent update on the rcrumb.com website, dated “Winter 2008,” reads:
This winter Robert hopes to complete the Genesis project. He’s on page 190 and has about 14 pages left, with the cover, introduction and various small pages related his agreement with Norton Publishers. It’s been an tremendous undertaking, and a commitment which has taken him four years to complete.
The only visible image from the work in progress is available as part of a photo-comic produced by Phoebe Gloeckner in 2005 for Indy Magazine, edited by Bill Kartalopoulos, the author of this website.
Todd Hignite’s book In the Studio, published by Yale University Press, also featured sketches relating to the project, which are available via the publisher’s website.
In a 2005 public interview with Robert Hughes at the New York Public Library, partially transcribed at Time‘s website, Crumb briefly discussed the challenges of drawing the character of God:
He has a white beard but he actually ended up looking more like my father. He has a very masculine face like my father. My problem was, how am I going to draw God? Should I just draw him as a light in the sky that has dialogue balloons coming out from it? Then I had this dream. God came to me in this dream, only for a split second, but I saw very clearly what he looked like. And I thought, ok, there it is, I’ve got God.
AllBusiness reports that foreign rights to the book have been bought by Jonathan Cape in the UK, and reports elsewhere that additional foreign rights have been purchased by “publishers in Germany, France, the Netherlands, Italy and Brazil.”