The Manga Bible: From Genesis to Revelation

Now this looks interesting. I just heard a story about The Manga Bible: From Genesis to Revelation on NPR and I have to say, I’m impressed. One of the first concerns I have when I hear about new ways to present the bible is how its truth will be lost in the surface interpretation of select texts. This is especially true of children’s bibles which can mis the point of a passage entirely. From what I gathered from the interview and seeing some sample pages, this seems to take a different approach. Here, the artist tries to capture the spirit of the text rather than a summary of events.

Note that this format of bible telling is not for everyone. You have to be somewhat familiar contemporary comic book styles to appreciate the art form. That said, it is a great medium with which to tell the story of God in a graphic novel format.

From Publishers Weekly
One wouldn’t imagine that Siku, onetime artist for postmodern bloodfest Judge Dredd, would be the ideal choice for a manga-style graphic novel adaptation of the Bible, but not many pages have passed before it becomes clear that the Bible is, in fact, the perfect material for him. This audacious little book doesn’t make much effort to be authoritative and include every last Old Testament begatting or bloody massacre. Instead Siku presents jazzy and irreverent riffs on the good book, leaping brazenly over whole reams of material and scattering behind numerous Want to Know More tags directing readers to more explanatory chapter and verse. The action is breezy and flip, drawn in a sharp and Anglicized manga style. The dialogue is not just laced with humorously incongruous Britishisms (My maths has never been very good!) but with slangy passages worthy of the CW Network (Cain to Abel, Whassup, bro?). Although the book (already a hit in the U.K.) is being released via Doubleday’s Galilee imprint and is clearly targeted at youthful believers, it makes little attempt to sanitize the grottier aspects of the source material, as witnessed in the scene where a crowd of Sodom’s citizens bellow, Bring out those men so that we can rape them!

Ajinbayo “Siku” Akinsuku is author and illustrator of The Manga Bible. He says he reproduced the Bible using the popular animation style to keep the religious message relevant to younger generations.

“It’s a way of making a relevant message contemporary … It was time for us to update the biblical message,” says Siku, who prefers to call book an “interpretation,” rather than a “new version” of the Bible.

Siku is just one part of the duo behind the graphic narratives. The book is the result of a collaboration with his brother, Akin, a film and television script writer. Of their dynamic, Siku describes himself as “the concepts person.”

Those concepts, illustrated in The Manga Bible, are just as reflective of Siku’s personal convictions as they are of his academic training as a theologian. Speaking openly about his belief in Christianity, the artist says that even if he hadn’t studied theology, he’d still have interest in creating the book.

“Being a theologian [just] helps me do the work better,” Siku says.

I think in the West, especially in Western Europe, biblical narratives are no longer the narratives we actually use now. Lots of kids actually don’t know what the Moses story is about. So it’s a way of making those grand narratives familiar again, especially in Western Europe. I mean, that’s one way of looking at it.

Another way of looking at it is it gives Christians who think they know the Bible a spin on that you have to see the Bible differently. I have presented Christ and God, and in fact all the other main characters, I’ve presented them a little different from what people are used to.

So on two fronts, I’m making a generation of people who have lost those narratives kind of familiar with them again, and then those – well that generation that are familiar, churchgoers for example, a fresh interpretation.

Taken from the NPR program Tell Me More February 22, 2008

4 thoughts on “The Manga Bible: From Genesis to Revelation

  1. bwahahahahhahahahhaahha i kne it wasn’t there :P + the games being played @ school are getting outragious esopecially btd 4

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