John

Bible as Manga Comic, Jesus Is A Samurai. Archbishop says: “Way Cool!”

In News on February 12, 2008 at 2:33 pm

mangabible.jpg

One of the cool things about Christianity is how it takes things in its stride. I won’t compare it to other religions, but suffice it to say that instead of hearing an outrage of “Blasphemy!” and “Sacrilege!”, there’s enough room in a 2000-year-old religious institution to understand and adapt to something as radical as a Manga Bible.

Developed by Manga artist Ajinbayo Akinsiku, “The Manga Bible: From Genesis to Revelation” is something like the Picture Bible I used to read as a kid, only much cooler. Jesus, says the creator, “is a samurai stranger who’s come to town, in silhouette. He’s a hard guy, seeking revolution and revolt, a tough guy. ”

I mean, the only reason why I sorta understood the whole Bible was through the comic version of it, so I’m happy to see that someone was bold enough to revamp and re-present the Bible in such a refreshing way for the new generation. Even better still was the Archbishop of Cantebury (so he’s not Catholic–meh.) giving it the thumbs up, saying in a blurb for the Bible: “It will convey the shock and freshness of the Bible in a unique way.”

An excerpt from the New York Times:

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.

The Manga Bible sold 30,000 copies in Great Britain, according to Doubleday. The print run in this country is 15,000, and it sells for $12.95.

Mr. Akinsiku, 42, who uses the pen name Siku, grew up in England and Nigeria in an Anglican family of Nigerian descent. He recently graduated from theology school in London. For years, he has worked as an artist, and a rendering of the Bible was the best way of glorifying God, he said in a telephone interview from London.

While younger adults and teenagers are the most avid consumers of manga, Mr. Akinsiku said he had heard from grandmothers who picked up the book as a gift for their grandchildren. The book is meant to be a first taste of the Bible, which many feel too intimidated to read, Mr. Akinsiku said. Every few pages, a small tab refers to the biblical verses the action covers.

“For the unchurched, the book is to show that this thing, the Bible, is still relevant,” he said, “because it talks about what human beings do when they encounter God.”

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