Horror Comics: The Wolverton Bible

The Wolverton Bible
Writer and Artist: Basil Wolverton
Publisher: Fantagraphics Books

Basil Wolverton is a legend of classic comics, working for Mad Magazine (along with some of their imitators, such as Cracked), Marvel comics, and various pre-code horror comics (to include "Gateway to Horror" and "They Crawl by Night").

What many readers that grew up with Wolverton's work in the 40's and 50's may not have known is that despite his twisted sense of humor and talent for drawing the macabre, he was also a devout Christian.

Wolverton tirelessly worked on an adaptation of the Bible (at the request of evangelist Herbert W. Armstrong); it essentially became his life's work. Wolverton insisted on not pulling punches and adapting the scriptures as closely as possible, which unfortunately led to censorship of his best work when 'The Bible Story' was published (the original six volumes were published from 1961 to 1968); Wolverton's illustrations were in sharp contrast to kid-friendly story books of the 1950's and 60's, with its literal interpretations showing thing like animals and people alike clawing at the hull of Noah's ark, begging for mercy.

Wolverton's son Monte went to great lengths to thoroughly restore his father's work for this 2009 edition, and it makes for a fascinating read for both fans of horror and scholars of renderings of the Bible intended for children. Though this book is mostly concerned with the Hebrew Bible (Wolverton felt depictions of Jesus Christ to be blasphemous), it includes several illustrations of the Book of Revelations which are down right nightmare worthy.

This is a must read for the horror comics completist.

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