R. Crumb rather famously re-created the Book of Genesis in comics form, but he didn’t quite do the Garden of Eden story the way The Bible: Eden does. This particular story was originally done for Penthouse magazine, so you can imagine…well, maybe not. It’s actually a faithful (no pun intended) retelling, albeit one that certainly doesn’t scrimp on the sex and the nudity—so be forewarned that this is not exactly the retelling you’d want to hand off to young readers.
The wording, however, is straight from the Bible. It begins at the beginning—the creation of the universe—and ends with the birth of Cain. Scott Hampton’s art is wonderful. The figures are certainly sexual, but not presented simply for shock value. Hampton beautifully orchestrates the landscape and imbues it with gorgeous style. The animals and the lush jungle scenery are magnificent.
The text is adapted by both Dave Elliott and Keith Giffen. Elliott notes in the book that he has many Bible stories he’d like to adapt to comics, and the book includes glimpses of some. The announcement of the conception of Jesus from the Book of Matthew and a glimpse at the Book of Daniel are both shown at the end.
I’m not sure how deeply religious readers would react to the book (although the story doesn’t deviate from what the Bible already presents), but it’s a quite lovely retelling.
Reviewed by John Hogan on March 23, 2012