Wednesday, December 30, 2009


Having just now finished Kavalier and Clay,thanks to IB, I recalled that once upon a time I had a copy of this comic book:

Picture Stories from the Bible: Complete Old Testament Edition,
The Complete Old Testement Edition
DC Comics
All-American Comics, E.C. Comics
December 1943
Featuring: Moses, David, Goliath, Abraham, Isaac, Elijah.
232 Pages

That was the back cover.

Here's a critique:

Still, so much of the Bible is such marvelous raw material for visual narrative (it hardly needs to be mentioned that it continues to inspire cartoonists as idiosyncratic as Basil Wolverton, Chester Brown and Robert Crumb), that it seems like some of the blame must fall squarely on writer Montgomery Mulford and artist Don Cameron. Cameron's art is stiffly graceless: his six-panel-grid page layouts contribute to Mulford's plodding pacing. (The contrast between the dramatic stories being told and the pedestrian tone can lead to some unintentional humor, such as when David comes home from a hard day of work, complaining to his wife that the King threw a spear at his head — again. The wife responds that she's going to help him escape, probably sick of hearing about it.)

The comic features a lot of unnecessary caption boxes ("So-and-so Speaks" — is suspended over a headshot of a character with a word balloon) and close and medium shots of characters talking, talking, talking in Biblese...Absent a muse, Cameron borrows visuals, probably from films, which can occasionally work for him — his Jezebel owes something to the Evil Queen in Disney's Snow White, and there are times when his pages evoke a Western, which works well to depict the wandering of the tribes as they are enslaved, evicted, battle hostile environments and war over territory with others — and can occasionally work against him, such as Esther's just-below shoulder-length waved coif and blue eyeshadow.

Me? I loved it. Read it dozens of times.

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