A new way to read the Bible: as graphic novel

Christian publisher Kingstone recently released a 2,000-page graphic novel adaptation of the Old and New Testaments, which it claims is the world's longest graphic novel.

Kingstone is aiming its graphic novel Bible at preteen readers and young adults.

It's an adaptation of the Bible Jesus probably never envisioned, and one most people have never seen before: Bible as comic book.

Christian publisher Kingstone recently released a 2,000-page graphic novel adaptation of the Old and New Testaments, which it claims is the world's longest graphic novel.

It took 45 illustrators seven years to produce the 2,000 page-12 paperback volume "Kingstone Bible," which the publisher calls "the most complete graphic-novel adaptation of the Bible ever published." 

While it's certainly unorthodox, and not as comprehensive as a traditional text-only Bible, this graphic novel adaptation serves a critical purpose, according to publisher Kingstone: making the Bible, daunting for some readers, more accessible.

“A novice to religion who had never read the Bible before would be able to read through this graphic novel trilogy and have an understanding of some of the key narratives as well as key doctrines in the different books,” Art Ayris, the founder of Kingstone told the UK's Guardian, “especially the Epistles. We have never seen this as a substitute for Bible reading but as a complement to help people ‘see’ the scriptures in a new light.”

Kingstone is aiming the graphic novel Bible at preteen readers and young adults, perhaps a segment of the population less inclined to read or study the holy book.

And while readers won't find superheroes in spandex, they will find familiar story lines, about the triumph of good over evil, for example. And readers with a keen eye will also find familiar illustrations. That's because the publisher enlisted well-known graphic novel artists who have worked for top comic publishers like Marvel.

“For the book of Revelation we used a top horror artist who had been with Marvel, and it was a great fit for the powerful imagery in that book," Mr. Ayris explained.

It's not the first graphic novel adaptation of the Bible – Amazon lists more than a thousand, and Kickstarter has a campaign to raise money for a word-for-word Bible comic.

There's a reason for that, and for Kingstone's contribution to the genre.

“To a lot of people, the Bible is a big daunting book full of hard to pronounce names and seemingly unrelated stories," Ayris explained.

Getting the greatest story ever told out of it's leather-bound, gold-embossed, old-English confines and onto the pages of a graphic novel, with illustrations, simplified text, and clear narratives may serve to spread the Bible farther and wider than before.

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