Monday, February 11, 2008

This is vaguely disturbing - The Bible as a Manga Graphic Novel

“Christ is a hard guy, seeking revolution and revolt, a tough guy.”


Those are the words of Ajinbayo Akinsiku, author of “The Manga Bible: From Genesis to Revelation.”

The thing is despite being disturbing, they are true. Christ was a revolutionary challenging the power structures of his day. He took on the Pharisees and won (eventually) and while he didn't directly challenge the Roman's, if you believe Gibbons his teachings led to the fall of the Roman Empire.

It will be interesting to see how well this is carried off, especially given these details:

The medium shapes the message. Manga often focuses on action and epic. Much of the Bible, as a result, ends up on the cutting room floor, and what remains is darker.

“It is the end of the Word as we know it, and the end of a certain cultural idea of the Scriptures as a book, as the Book,” Timothy Beal, professor of religion at Case Western Reserve University, said of the reworking of the Bible in new forms, including manga. “It opens up new ways of understanding Scripture and ends up breaking the idols a bit.”

While known for characters with big eyes and catwalk poses, manga is also defined by a laconic, cinematic style, with characters often doing more than talking.

In a blurb for the Manga Bible, which is published by Doubleday, the archbishop of Canterbury, the Most Rev. Rowan Williams, is quoted as saying, “It will convey the shock and freshness of the Bible in a unique way.”

No doubt. In the Manga Bible, whose heroes look and sound like skateboarders in Bedouin gear, Noah gets tripped up counting the animals in the Ark: “That’s 11,344 animals? Arggh! I’ve lost count again. I’m going to have to start from scratch!”

Abraham rides a horse out of an explosion to save Lot. Og, king of Bashan, looms like an early Darth Vader. The Sermon on the Mount did not make the book, though, because there was not enough action to it.




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