December 6, 2009

Tyndale's Manga Bible

Tyndale Publishing was founded because Ken Taylor wanted to help people understand the Bible in simple ways. The Living Bible evolved into the NLT largely through Tyndale's efforts to combine simplicity with accuracy. With a similar combination of goals, The Manga Bible inserts sections of comic-book style storytelling into a regular NLT Bible. Look carefully at the top right and bottom left corners of this image:
It's actually an entire NLT Bible. I bought one of these for my kids about a year ago and we love it. Best of all, the comic pages have footnotes (with verse references AND page numbers) so a child can go read "the grown up version" of the familiar stories whenever they're ready. In that way, it's a great middle-step for small kids who are ready to move up from their Picture Bibles but aren't quite ready for a real Bible.

I mention this today because Tyndale's booth at SBL had some new Manga titles, and I ordered two copies of Manga Messiah - one for each of my kids. They've now come in the mail, and both are being devoured. This new title is a full length graphic novel of the Life of Christ, with footnotes from all four Gospels on every single page. Again, this is brilliant. It's like training wheels, or a roadmap for kids leading them through the (let's face it) chaos that meets anyone the first time they try to flip through a Bible.

Our family may have to order the Genesis-Exodus graphic novel also, before long, although I'll be a bit wary to see what they've done with the one on the early church. So far, however, I like what I've seen. I think William Tyndale himself would be proud to know these exist.

One big plus about the Manga style - and a big cause for its growing popularity in the US over recent decades - is that these artists have uniquely effective ways of making 'still shots' seem dynamic. Do you remember the old children's Story Bible where everyone stood around like statues? The art below should give you a hint of the difference. It's hard to make conversation visually engaging on a storyboard, but there are ways of doing it. [To learn more about the techniques of storytelling in Graphic Novels, read Scott McCloud's masterpiece, Understanding Comics.]

Bottom line: If you have kids, or even if you don't, I'd strongly encourage you to check out a copy of these Manga titles.

***Attention, FTC, Tyndale Publishing is NOT paying me to say this and I did NOT get a free copy of anything for this review. I just think these books are that awesome! ***

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

These look awesome!

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