The Manga Bible - From Genesis to Revelation

The Manga Bible - From Genesis to Revelation (2008)
by Galilee Trade
220 Pages - Black and White [ Biblical ]

Creator - Siku

Publisher summary: The creation of the earth. The rise and fall of Godís chosen people. The mysterious stranger who brought about a new world order. And the ultimate showdown between the forces of good and evil. This is the greatest story ever told . . . as youíve never seen it before. Containing both Old and New Testaments, this is the first ever English manga of the most important book of all time.

Reviewer: UC Pseudonym | Contact | 3 February 2008

Siku adds yet another adaptation of the Bible to the collection. It is about on par with the other recent offerings and may appeal more to some readers. Unfortunately, the breadth and volume of the work at hand make many parts of it lacking.

Let me stress that as a whole it isnít bad storytelling by any means. Instead of attempting to touch on every biblical event, it does various stories in more depth. Unfortunately, many pages are still overwhelmed by text. Narration is poor storytelling and few readers are interested in an illustrated Bible. There are some unfortunate jumps between stories, but as a whole the story has a decent amount of continuity relative to the lengthy time period it covers. As if to remind us of this, every few pages has a ďWant to know more? [source verse]Ē tab on the edge. Having this resource isnít a bad idea (it was useful to me once, as I didnít remember the apostle Lucius) but they really should have done something less intrusive. Chapter and verse near the page number would have sufficed.

The art will appeal to some and not at all to others. There are definitely some hints of western style, but plenty of eastern elements. Oddest are some super-deformed segments, which only partially work. Much of the time background characters are not well defined, which leads to some unintentionally humorous expressions. All of the action is well-drawnÖ overdrawn, I would say. Perhaps they should have just made an action story. Lastly, the character design wavers between historical accuracy and attempts at awesome. Sometimes this feels like trying a bit too hard, but on the other hand some of them are genuinely cool.

Most of the time the intent is to portray the biblical events in an interesting and concise manner. Unfortunately, there are some jarring bits of slang; nothing absurd, but it feels out of place in an epic narrative. Worst is the angelic commander of the Lordís armies, where the slang ruins the nuance of the text. The violence and sexual content in the Bible are not avoided, by any means (though certain stories are absent). Overall the interpretation feels solid but superficial. Reading the interviews in the back of the volume felt strangely discontinuous with the rest of the experience, as these display deeper levels of thought than seem evident throughout.

Various more specific issues may be of interest to some prospective readers. For reasons unknown the beginning is narrated by Moses, which is probably an unnecessary convolution. But this can be easily ignored compared to the description of the Nephilim: ďanother race of beings whose origins are now lost in the mists of time.Ē What? Letís not make an already misinterpreted verse any more complicated, shall we?

Questions also need to be asked about the division of their limited pages. While most readers will know the story of Joseph, here all the developments of the last act are crammed into a single page. Jonah gets similar treatment, but here the brief style works well. Not so with Job, where a great book is robbed of its majesty and becomes just a bizarre story. I suppose I should be grateful there is no one-page Ecclesiastes. Of course, Samson still gets six times as many pages as all the other judges put together.

It is nice to see some of the more important but less told stories get a decent number of pages. The prophets receive the space they deserve, though we naturally have less representation from the writings. Acts is also told in full detail, providing the necessary follow-up to the Gospels. Lastly, the authors decide to take on Revelation and thankfully avoid faulty interpretations. Unfortunately, the story is still told in an odd fashion (suddenly we have a modern-day reader?) and it doesnít finish the entire volume as it should.

As Iíve said, this is a decent volume, but one difficult question remains throughout. Who exactly is the audience for this material? For individuals new to the Bible, this is likely to be a scattered and bizarre story that canít compare with normal fiction. For those familiar with scripture, itís really the same things yet again. One canít help but wonder if there is a better way to tell this story.

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