Saturday, 14 March 2009

Mad Genius Bible

Word is out that the Wolverton Bible is now available on Amazon. The ultimate coffee-table book for all those who've been scre..., er, blessed by the WCG experience.

It's an art book, not a theological tome, and it's all the better for having lost the tendentious text. If your current church affiliation is all love, light, and warm fuzzies, this'll put the fear of God into your kids - or grandchildren - guaranteed!

Check out the cool page-turning preview on Flickr!

Gotta have one? Why, of course! Zip across now to Amazonand secure your copy for a special price of under twenty bucks ($16.49) while you can.

41 comments:

Bill said...

I have this morbid desire to get a copy. Maybe I should purchase several copies and give them out to friends and relatives so they can better understand the psychological trauma I suffered.

I'm feeling better now... I'm getting better...

Anonymous said...

I think I was more disturbed by the caricatures in the Spokesman's Club manual than the illustrations in 1975.

Anonymous said...

I am sorry to hear that this is Authorized by the Worldwide Church of God. I had hoped that the family was trying to bring it out by themselves. Money given to the WCG is still money given to the WCG and should be avoided at all costs.

Mark Lax

Anonymous said...

Sixpack should have gone for the artwork as well as the copyrights - they could have been used to illustrate li'l Stevie's book.

Byker Bob said...

I've commented on another forum that I believe that, if anything, Basil Wolverton was underused by Herbert W. Armstrong. I believe he should have illustrated more of the booklets.

As an example, imagine if his art had been used in the child rearing booklet. I can visualize huge monster parents, with bulging eyes, sadistically whipping little babies, youngsters, and teenagers.

The bloated out dead bodies would have probably been more appropriate as illustrations in "Does God Heal Today" than to the prophecy booklets.

And, who could resist reading "God Speaks out on the New Morality", illustrated as only Basil could have done? The sections on masturbation and homosexuality alone would be on a par with any of the scenes created by the authors of the Brick Testament!

BB

Basil's Brush said...

Excellent BB! I remember The Missing Dimension in Sex had one illustration, and to think what it would have looked like if BW had drawn it. Not to mention if some of Herb's lucid commentary had been Wolvertooned.

paco said...

Um...I feel the need to confess that I LIKED Basil Wolverton's art work. Of course I grew up with Mad Magazine and still have probably 100 issues from the late 1950's and early 1960's.

Monte Wolverton is a very talented person in his own right.

The Apostate Paul said...

"The bloated out dead bodies would have probably been more appropriate as illustrations in "Does God Heal Today" than to the prophecy booklets."

LOL!!

Of course, you could apply pictures of dead, bloated bodies in ANY discussion of the healing properties of the God of the Bible. I think a better title for those kinds of booklets would be "Why God Doesn't Heal Today." At least it would be a more honest a approach to the subject. One of the chapters could be titled, "Why God Has Never Healed a Single Amputee."


Paul Ray

Anonymous said...

I'm going to get it and give it to my folks with a note that says, "Now you know why."

Anonymous said...

Weird, Weird, Wicked Wolvertons

I remember Monte Wolverton writing an article in a Worldwide Church magazine that claimed to list the "characteristics of spiritual weirdos." Interestingly, the characteristics that Monte listed were ALL obviously characteristics of Herbert Armstrong. I guess that is what Herbert Armstrong got in the end for employing these Wolverton freaks.

The Wolvertons should have peddled their ugly pictures to Mad magazine and left the church alone.

J said...

Authorized and Commissioned by the Worldwide Church of God, huh?

Well isn't that interesting. Here's the Church that is focusing so deeply on grace, and the New Covenant. Yet they, according to the flickr page, authorize and they commission a book that is full of horrific pictures of gore and disgust.

In this book is everything the OLD Worldwide Church of God was all about. Fear. Apocalypse. As well as gruesome pictures of death, dying and burial.

Though the artwork and artistry is amazing, I strongly disagree that the Worldwide Church of God endorse the very images that caused nightmares from people in its past. Instead of stepping away from it's past, by endorsing and commissioning this work as the Flickr page states, it seems to me to be embracing it.

Shame!!!!!!!!!!!

Leonardo said...

While I can understand Basil Wolverton's talent of sorts in alternative cartoon art, I have a hard time comprehending exactly why the new WCG is backing the production and sale of this book.

Personally, I was very much repulsed by most of his artwork, both those in the old Spokesman Club manual, and especially his end-time portrayals of human beings writhing in pain and suffering horribly during the eagerly prophesied period of The Great Tribulation that was "on the authority of the living Christ, soon to occur between 3 to 5 years from now!!"

I found most of Wolverton's "art" quite embarrassing - when such lurid illustrations were scattered throughout the literature of the WCG, even when I was whole-heartedly a part of it's mission for so many years.

As I reflect it occurs to me that it would seem the vast majority of normal people, upon initially viewing such drawings for the first time, would recoil in revulsion, like one would at the scene of a gory traffic accident. I guess that was their purpose.

But why the WCG would proudly put these graphic monstrosities on display is quite the mystery to me – Joe Jr. and Company can’t be hurting THAT much financially, can they?

Byker Bob said...

By way of clarification, I'd like to point out that I firmly believe that God is involved in our healing. However, I believe that while sometimes He works solo, and often His main objective is developing our faith and patience, He also often works by guiding and assisting knowledgeable people such as our highly educated healthcare professionals of today.

The Armstrong booklet "Does God Heal Today" served to blindly cut people off from some of God's human instruments, and therefore caused many needless deaths. Contrary to the real teachings of Jesus, the COG's were masters at thwarting good people from helping one another. We were not permitted to pray for outsiders, or to contribute to any type of disaster relief or charities outside of our own myopic cult.

BB

Anonymous said...

"Page-turning"? Surely you mean "stomach-turning", Gavin.

Anonymous said...

Notably, several pictures have now been removed from the slideshow available online. Way to whitewash there, Mont.

Richard said...

It's safe to say this is NOT a night-table Bible. Some of those pictures could make for fascinating dreams at best, and restless nights at worst.

Anonymous said...

"From 1953 through 1974, Wolverton, a deeply religious man..."

Good for Basil, he was deeply religious and he found things of value in the Old WCG.

So have many of us.

May he rest in peace... :)

Jerry Seinfeld Church of God said...

Gavin said, "Word is out that the Wolverton Bible is now available on Amazon. The ultimate coffee-table book for all those who've been scre..., er, blessed by the WCG experience."

MY COMMENT - I think I'll stick to Kramer's coffee table book - a book about coffee table books!

Richard

paco said...

For those true believers who are appalled at Basil Wolverton's art for the old WCG booklets, have you not read the Bible's description of what is supposed to happened to God's enemies when Jesus returns? If you find the art revolting then what do you think of the alleged reality-to-be that the art is based on?

Anonymous said...

Ann writes: “The Wolvertons should have peddled their ugly pictures to Mad magazine and left the church alone.”

Basil Wolverton is listed on the Radio Church of God’s 1948 incorporation papers as an officer. Like it or not, he was not a hireling, but rather a church father. Armstrong thought that much of him.

Another Ann Writes: “Though the artwork and artistry is amazing, I strongly disagree that the Worldwide Church of God endorse the very images that caused nightmares from people in its past. Instead of stepping away from it's past, by endorsing and commissioning this work as the Flickr page states, it seems to me to be embracing it.”

Here’s what bugs me: this is obviously not the WCG’s project, it’s Monty’s. It seems to be an attempt on his part to circulate his father’s work to a broader audience. Basil Wolverton is considered a master of the comic book form in some parts and many of those fans have never seen the breadth of the material he did for the WCG. And it’s not a bad way for Monty and his family to pick up a little extra cash. All in all, nothing wrong with that.

And it is true that the work presented is the WCG’s property. They are well within their rights in demanding a cut, however… Given the church’s history, one has to question the need or reason for them to authorize this.

Didn’t they just GIVE the Plain Truth and the Plain Truth Ministries away to someone for no money? That was a church asset—a big one—and it was handed off for a previous sweat equity transaction. Why doesn’t Monty merit a similar deal? He doesn’t because he doesn’t.

It isn’t beyond former publishers to give back the trademarks/artwork to the artists. Even Time Warner has. Nearly every pulp and comic book publisher of note has. But not the WCG. That says something.

As we say in Chicago, those who got, get.

Mark Lax

Anonymous said...

"Like it or not,[Wolverton] was not a hireling, but rather a church father."

Oh yeah, we weren't nothing like them gr8t-h00r-o-b@bbilon Catholics at all.

/sarcasm

"Here’s what bugs me: this is obviously not the WCG’s project, it’s Monty’s."

So riddle me this, why is the church getting the proceeds? Mont falling a little behind on his tithes, I wonder?

(Oh, wait, Mont's a member of the ministry --- he doesn't have to tithe. Lucky Mont.)

"As we say in Chicago, those who got, get."

Got in one, Mark.

Anonymous said...

"However, I believe that while sometimes He works solo, and often His main objective is developing our faith and patience, He also often works by guiding and assisting knowledgeable people such as our highly educated healthcare professionals of today."


Poor Bob. Cognitive dissonance is tough, is it not?



Paul Ray

Miguel de la Rodente said...

Here's something to ponder: What if WCG had displayed lack of interest in Basil's work, and some other group, like perhaps that of Gerald Flurry had mounted legal efforts to claim or purchase them?

Isn't it much better to have these works displayed by a more mainstream group than by a bunch of fanatics who would probably take HWA's applications in a worse direction?

Anonymous said...

Gavin,

Could you say that the Wolverton Bible is the FULL MONTY ?


Cheers,

Jorgheinz

Anonymous said...

Basil Wolverton is listed on the Radio Church of God’s 1948 incorporation papers as an officer. Like it or not, he was not a hireling, but rather a church father.

Mark Lax



Mark Laxative,

Awww, shi....

Being an ociffer of the corpse, and being a hireling, are not mutually exclusive events.

The remaining WCG hirelings, thieves, and robbers should sell that ugly junk to Gerald Fury and let him edit it by drawing more warts on their faces.

Gerald edited Mystery of the Ages to accommodate his outrageous doctrinal changes. Why can't he edit this junk too? In fact, in this case he could edit first and do the doctrinal change to match it later.

Anonymous said...

Let me put it this way: Most 1940s era cartoonists wound up making a fair to midland living doing what they did. Trends had a tendency to change, with the superhero fad eventually giving way to more specified genres. At the time Wolverton came in, most comic books were anthologies featuring a little bit of everything, from science fiction, to jungle stories to westerns and superheroes.

Wolverton did a little of all of it, although he is best known for his screwball humor pieces, such as Powerhouse Pepper. His work became well known throughout the comic book industry for his Spacehawk science fiction/horror superhero work on Blue Bolt put out by the publisher of the Saturday Evening Post.

When the 1950s rolled around, the true crime and horror crazes hit. This was also the time that artists in the medium started to really make some money. People who did nothing more than imitate Wolverton did quite well.

Later, Robert Crumb made millions doing an imitation of Wolverton’s work. The entire Topps Wacky Packs sticker line was so inspired by Wolverton that it might as well have been stenciled.

Wolverton instead spend his time toiling for the WCG. Not that he ever regretted it. When it comes to the Bible Stories work, the only unique aspect of it are the pictures by Wolverton. Check out a copy of the Jehovah’s Witness Children’s Bible stories or SDA publications from that era and you will see how little actual “writing” the WCG did on their work.

Of course Wolverton’s works are horrible. He was the top horror artist of the day. It had the effect he intended. He believed it, believed in it and in the message of the church. That this was a form of child abuse—a mass produced form of child abuse—did not occur to him. This does not excuse it, however.

In retrospect, it seems the WCG has mended its ways. (Ha!) As a thoroughly repentant and new in Christ organization, they have been correct in disavowing their previous orthodoxy. The next logical step would be to release the trademarks and copyrights of those works they have disavowed.

Selling those works to another cult, regardless of fiduciary mumbo-jumbo, is disingenuous at best. Demanding their cut of the flesh for a work which they not only disavowed but also had little in the unique construction of (as is the case with Wolverton’s Bible Stories) shows exactly where their hearts truly are. I cannot think of anything lower—lower still for a church.

In the case of the Wolverton family, they are out all of the time Basil could have dedicated to a productive vocation. For most former adherents it would be impossible to recoup such. For the Wolvertons it is not.

Instead the WCG has decided to again demand tithes for their misdeeds. This is both sick and telling.

Mark Lax

Mel said...

Oh, Lordy!

The Basil Bible!
AND, the WCG is getting a cut of the profits.

You just can't make this stuff up!

Mel said...

A friend, who is also a former WCG member, has a great sense of humor in regards to Herb-era WCG stuff.

Sometimes we get "greeting cards" from that naughty person, the covers of which are cut-outs of old drawings of Basil's that were in church literature.

For instance, one card had a Wolverton picture of a bunch of horribly (boils, etc) afflicted people writhing in pain....but the heading was added, "IT"S PARTY TIME!"
(It was an invitation to a party.)

And like here , too, deflation of intended purpose is a quite evident!

Anonymous said...

Mel, those greeting cards are something else. Your friend has a sick, sick, sick sense of humour and I thoroughly approve. Got any more pics??

"Of course Wolverton’s works are horrible. He was the top horror artist of the day. It had the effect he intended. He believed it, believed in it and in the message of the church. That this was a form of child abuse—a mass produced form of child abuse—did not occur to him."

Or anyone else, who endorses the sale of "the Wolverton Bible". But those of us adversely affected by the living horror and continual dread of the ever-approaching Apocalypse, don't even register as a blip on anyone's radar anymore. As far as this universe is concerned, we never even existed.

The evangelicals pat Junior and Weazell and Kelly the snake on the head for mouthing all the right words, and they sneer at us, because we didn't follow blindly along and praise their hydra-headed imaginary god with the rest of the sheeple.

The other cults get documentaries, and protests, and movements. What do we get? A slap in the face because we didn't fall in line, and proceeds from the sales of the Wolverton Bible go to line Junior's pockets, instead of making restitution to those of us who still aren't above the poverty line, because of parents and families who tithed and gave offerings to the church.

Mike Baehr said...

As a representative of the publisher of The Wolverton Bible, Fantagraphics Books, and the individual responsible for maintaining Fantagraphics' photos on Flickr, I would like to state for the record that no images have been removed from our slideshow at the behest of Monte Wolverton or anyone else.

While Fantagraphics Books has no comment on the history, activities or practices of the Worldwide Church of God, we do wish to set the record straight regarding our presentation of images from the book.

Thank you.

Anonymous said...

Basil Wolverton was a good guy and a funny guy. He didn't ask to work for HWA; HWA basically begged him to join forces, and eventually Wolverton acquiesced. Wikipedia has an article about him, featuring his prize winning "Lena the Hyena," submitted to Al Cap's "L'il Abner" comic strip along with 500k other entrants. His WCG employ lasted 17 years, after which he returned to mainstream comics.

I remember, as a kid, avidly following the Lena the Hyena contest night after night. When her ugliness was finally unveiled, I couldn't believe my eyes. Blech! Check her out in Wikipedia. She's one ugly babe, and a unique product of Basil Wolverton's genius. Not sure if she ever married...

Anonymous said...

"I would like to state for the record that no images have been removed from our slideshow at the behest of Monte Wolverton or anyone else."

No, but the video was playing in the slideshow initially, that's where the confusion was.

Anonymous said...

I received my copy yesterday.

My impressions:

- Monte's foreword was interesting and informative.
- I remember 95% of those pictures as clear as a bell ringing...and the chilling effect they had on me.
- I will probably hold on to the book instead of passing it on to my folks. They didn't see anything wrong with scaring children back when my sisters and I were little, I doubt they'd understand how wrong it is now. I will show it to them though.

Basil was obviously an enormous talent, however if he knew that his pictures were going to be used to scare kids half to death, he should not have made them for herbie. Folks need to understand that these pictures were inflicted upon children in the first grade as a matter of church policy! Younger children were probably exposed to them as well.

Anonymous said...

"I received my copy yesterday."

You seriously sent money to the church Charlie? Why??

I started reading The Bible Story when I was about four. But I was an early reader.

Anonymous said...

Purple Hymnal wrote: "You seriously sent money to the church Charlie? Why??"

Well I guess I sent it to Amazon, Monte, and the publisher but as to why; I guess for three reasons:

1) I long ago threw out my copies of "The Bible Story" and those gottverdammnt YES lessons, so I wanted something I could show people and say, "See!".

2) I had a faint hope that by physically holding it in my hands and looking at the pictures again I could exorcise the old memories.

3) In some ways I guess I am a little bit like those monks in Monty Python's "The Search for the Holy Grail" and keep beating myself in the head...Otherwise I would no longer be here on this and other blogs...but I think the day is coming that I will be able to wish you all the very best and move on completely.

Anonymous said...

"1) I long ago threw out my copies of "The Bible Story" and those gottverdammnt YES lessons, so I wanted something I could show people and say, "See!"."

I snagged all my old copies (and the Youth magazines) from the Internet. For free. (HWA Archive but I won't link to it.) You're right about showing people, that's what I've been doing in bits and pieces at ISA.

Hell will freeze (and there is no such place to freeze, either) before I give Ministurd Mont any money. :-P

Anonymous said...

"I think the day is coming that I will be able to wish you all the very best and move on completely."

I tend to think that, for a month or so, but then it goes right back to square one and is neverending.

Byker Bob said...

I'm just so happy for Monte and his family. The preservation of Basil's work for posterity is a wonderful event in their lives! What a gift to us all!

If BW had illustrated works extolling the tenets of the atheist religion, or had been a member of Ayn Rand's objectivist cult, some people we all know would be going all ga ga, ordering low serial numbered first edition copies, and taking them to Monte's book signing events for personalized autograph!

BB

AtheistsNonAnonymous said...

"extolling the tenets of the atheist religion"

Religion is for those afraid to think for themselves. Not a hallmark of atheism.

Non-subliminal Christian said...

ANA,

That's great. Now, add the God component to atheist rationality, and imagine what you get!

Anonymous said...

HERE she is getting ready