Timeless tales retold with a touch less solemnity than usual.

GENESIS

FROM CREATION TO THE FLOOD

From the Campfire Graphic Novels series

A compressed version of the first nine chapters, in comics format with an occasional mighty KRAK-KOOM! to signal divine displeasure.

From swirling Creation to a post–Great Flood “peaceable kingdom” scene, the three main stories that open Genesis receive theatrically melodramatic treatment. Appearing simultaneously side by side, Adam and Eve—the latter elegantly coiffed and manicured—stand in discreet poses until they eat the forbidden apple (“My work here isss done,” hisses the Serpent—a green lizard-man possibly copped from R. Crumb’s Book of Genesis Illustrated, 2009). KRAK-KOOM! Next comes jealous Cain murdering Abel in fountains of gore. KRAKA-BOOM! Finally, Noah reluctantly leaves his formerly sneering neighbors to drown as rains come pouring down. KRAAAKKKOOOOM! Kumar’s figures and landscapes are drawn and colored with clean naturalism, laid out in easy-to-follow panels that vary in size and placement. God manifests only as oratorical quotes or paraphrases printed in orange all-caps within glowing dialogue balloons. Everyone else sports light hair and blue eyes (Cain’s go brown in some scenes). As paired animals cluster around Noah’s burning offering at the end, one lion looks back up at viewers with a twinkle in her eye. Quick accounts of other tales from Genesis as well as flood myths from other traditions follow, along with part of the first family’s family tree.

Timeless tales retold with a touch less solemnity than usual. (Graphic religion. 10-13)

Pub Date: March 3, 2015

ISBN: 978-93-81182-03-1

Page Count: 80

Publisher: Campfire

Review Posted Online: Dec. 6, 2014

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Dec. 15, 2014

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Sketchy in logic as well as content—look elsewhere for more robust retellings.

A JOURNEY THROUGH GREEK MYTHS

A classics scholar presents select mythical episodes as tales meant to teach life lessons.

She doesn’t make much of a case. In a frame story, the myths are retold by an old owl to his granddaughter as a means of demonstrating the importance of keeping promises, being kind to others, thinking ahead, not being arrogant, and battling injustice. How the tales of Cronus’ eating his children and Zeus’ eating his wife Metis, Prometheus’ having his liver torn out daily, the evils bestowed on humanity from Pandora’s jar, Oedipus’ unsuspectingly marrying his mother, the Trojan Horse, the labors of Heracles, and at least most of the rest connect with these values is anybody’s guess. The storytelling leaves something to be desired too, despite occasional flashes of pathos or even humor (the pain of Odysseus and his men in the closed cave is palpable after their Cyclops captor farts with “the sound of a large trumpet and the smell of a thousand dead fish”). Such moments don’t compensate for seemingly arbitrary omissions and truncations. Berg’s painted scenes likewise leave a lot out, but his depictions do edge away from the usual White default to hint at the ancient stories’ multicultural origins. Still, a bland draft next to the ambrosial likes of Donna Jo Napoli’s retellings (2011) or Rick Riordan’s (2014).

Sketchy in logic as well as content—look elsewhere for more robust retellings. (map, genealogical table, afterword) (Cosmology. 10-13)

Pub Date: Oct. 6, 2020

ISBN: 978-1-911171-57-7

Page Count: 166

Publisher: Flying Eye Books

Review Posted Online: July 14, 2020

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Aug. 1, 2020

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