Thursday, October 24, 2013

Messiah: Origin - Mark Arey, Kai Carpenter, Matt Dorff

The new graphic novel, Messiah: Origin - Mark Arey, Kai Carpenter, Matt Dorff is the newest edition by the producers of the graphic novel, Revelation. This comic- styled graphic novel covers the early life of Jesus with beautiful, stylized artwork.  Unlike other comic book adaptions of the bible, this work is not a paraphrase, but includes word for word actual translated bible text.  The strength of this graphic novel is that not only does it tell the bible account in pictoral form, but actual bible text is used rather than a simplified summary or paraphrase.  This book takes scripture to a new level with its poignant, emotional images together with the actual bible account of Jesus' early years. This is not simply a fact by fact story telling of the early life of Jesus.  This book visually depicts the first chapter of the gospel account of John, as retold in the "prologue".  Anyone who has ever read this account knows that John 1:1-18 is usually left out of traditional bible story books, but is beautifully portrayed here in this graphic novel.  An abstract spiritual account is reinforced with imaginative artwork alongside the text.  This book is both a work of art and a spiritually uplifting inspirational account bringing to life the biblical account of Jesus' first years before public ministry began. For those who meditate on the bible's truths- this is a work that can be integrated in prayer and personal bible study.  The graphic liberties taken by the artists portray Jesus and the other biblical heroes in a more realistic yet theatrical way than traditional cartoon art of Jesus.  With the rough, quick brush strokes, the artistic depictions seem more real than the typical cartoonish illustrations you see in other illustrated bibles or comic reproductions. This book is not simply an attempt to "dumb down" the bible to make it appealing for kids or teens or young adults.  This is a serious piece of work written for anyone of any age, who wants a deeper connection with the bible.

 The only downside- if I had to name a downside to this book is that it is so limited- in that it only covers up to the point of Jesus' baptism.  It almost seems incomplete in the sense that it only focuses on the early years. What would make this even better is if it included the entire account of Jesus' life in one volume.  The title page indicates that this book is "Volume !" which is not indicated on the actual cover of this book.  I believe that the minimalist title "origin" makes it clear enough that this graphic novel only covers Jesus' early years.  I anticipate that other editions will be completed sometime in the future just as with any serial comic book series or graphic novel series.  The fact that Revelation was actually the first book published by the writers may seem out of order or confusing to some readers.  Nevertheless as with the ever popular Star Wars movies- the movies or stories were produced out of order starting with the most recent chronologically then later newer editions covered the pre-quell era.  Personally I like everything in one single volume and don't like to read or watch anything that comes in multiple episodes, volumes or parts.  As a blogger for booksneeze I received this book published by Zondervan publishers.

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