Select one of the keywords
The Manga Bible: From Genesis to Revelation    by Siku order for
Manga Bible
by Siku
Order:  USA  Can
Doubleday, 2008 (2008)
* * *   Reviewed by Lance Victor Eaton

Tackling controversial texts - especially religious texts - can be a tricky feat for comics publishers. Do they encourage objectivity or subjectivity in the artist who goes about transforming a mainly literary text into a visual text? How do they prepare and deal with the inevitable negative reception of the more avid followers of said religion? It's a gamble, but one that has yielded interesting results over the years. Of course, this is not the first time that the Bible has been reinterpreted through sequential art. However, this is the first ever English manga version.

In the beginning, Siku is quick to emphasize - and rightly so - that this is but an adaptation, and an abridged one that focuses on the main points, encouraging those who are interested to pick up the wrtten Bible and read more. At a mere two hundred pages, the work is at best a primer. But it is a decent primer for sure. Touching upon a variety of events, the story works through the memorable characters, giving occasional mention to other interesting characters.

The Old Testament dominates the first two-thirds of the book, leaving the New Testment with just over sixty pages to tell its tale. The pace at times can be rushed and the storytelling a bit scattered. However, the artist does a fantastic job of connecting the stories with the actual books and verses of the Bible. On most pages, readers will find the Bible citation in accordance with the story, facilitating further exploration.

The grayscale art proves powerful in this rendering. Obviously the use of black and white in the epic story of good and evil can make for all sorts of obvious metaphors. And Siku does some awesome drawings, including the depiction of Moses parting the Red Sea - the power and chaos of the moment ripples through the drawing and breathes life into this moment in time. In fact, Siku does a great deal of mixing with the panels and position, using everything from full page panels, to borderless panels, to small rows of panels. Tall, slender, and angular body types crowd the panels and add to the overall majesty of the artwork.

Regardless of its religious implications, the Bible, like other ancient texts, has a literary power that shouldn't be underrated. In this regard, Siku has provided us with a visual counterpart to the Bible that embraces the mysterious aura surrounding the book. Secular and religious folk alike will find The Manga Bible both engaging and visually mesmerizing.

Note: Opinions expressed in reviews and articles on this site are those of the author(s) and not necessarily those of BookLoons.

Find more NonFiction books on our Shelves or in our book Reviews