Illustrated Bible Chases 'Ever-Changing' Youth Culture

Article excerpt

The Manga Bible

From Genesis To Revelation

By Siku

Published by Hodder & Stoughton Ltd.

$14.95 ISBN: 9780385524315

[ILLUSTRATION OMITTED]

IF THE WORD "manga" sounds the least bit mysterious or alien to you, then chances are that you do not have a son or daughter between the ages of 10 and 16.

The word is a Japanese one that can be literally translated as "whimsical pictures" but is used in the modem context to refer to the vast, varied and complex phenomenon of Japanese comic books. These squat, monochromatic little volumes play an intrinsic role in Japanese popular culture that might be difficult for an outsider to understand. The influence they have over everyday life there far exceeds what has been granted to their Western counterparts. In this part of the world, up until only a few years ago, they were the concern only of the dedicated geek whose thirst for lurid pictures couldn't be satisfied by the local variety ofsuperhero comics. It is only relatively recently that the tide of imported manga and manga-related products has burst free from the world of specialists to engulf an ever-growing part of our children's media-scape.

It is necessary to know this if one wants an understanding of just what The Manga Bible represents. The introduction makes it clear: "The Manga Bible is an adaptation of the Holy Bible ... in graphic novel form.... [We] hope that [it] will inspire you to read more of the full-text Bible." Right away it is clear that this is yet another effort made by some Christians to ensure that the Word keeps pace with everchanging youth culture. So here it is: everything from Genesis to Revelation crammed into 200 pages of highly stylized, action-packed paneled layouts, interspersed with speech balloons filled with a super-fast, hip, "young" lingo. …