About this project
The Bible is the most influential and best selling book of all time, yet many people haven't actually read it. For those that have, many miss the significance of the cultural and historical contexts that lie behind its many stories. The Word for Word Bible comic will give the biblical narrative an extra dimension, bringing the stories and characters to life with all their grit and complexity.
This is, of course, not the first comic to portray Biblical stories. But unlike its predecessors, it will not abridge any of the text or attempt to retell any of the stories. Neither will it water down the narrative, or attempt to repackage the Bible in a child-friendly format.
The benefit of the Word for Word Bible Comic is that when you've read through it, you will have read through the whole biblical text - nothing will have been missed. The pictures will keep you enthralled and will aid your understanding by providing full context and an historically accurate portrayal of each story.
This Kickstarter is to fund the creation and print of the 100+ page graphic novel of the biblical book of Judges.
STRETCH GOAL - Because we've hit 100%+ we are now reaching for the next goal ****£20,000 - Prodigal Son for (almost) everyone- 2 page preview of the Word for Word Bible Comic New Testament with the parable of the PRODIGAL SON (starring Jesus) for all backers who pledge £8 and over. ***
Website - www.WordforWordBibleComic.com
FIND 3 PAGE PREVIEW AT THE BOTTOM OF THIS PAGE
GREATEST STORY EVER TOLD – It's called the greatest story ever told for a reason! Its tales contain politics, power struggles and betrayals to rival Game of Thrones, it has more bloody battles than Miller’s 300, and more demons thwarted than an episode of Hellboy; it has a Messiah more crucial than John Connor and more powerful than Neo, and a villain more devious, powerful and older than Galactus and Loki combined.
THE ROUTE OF FANTASY- In western culture there is no escaping the influence of Judeo-Christian worldview and so movies, books, comics and magazines are filled with dragons, angels and demons, heroes with great powers, prophecies, spirits, witchcraft, avatars, the list goes on and on. The Bible is the source of many of the most famous fantasies: Lord of the Rings, Superman, Chronicles of Narnia, Hellboy to name but a few. This comic lets you discover the origins of the fantasy you are so familiar with in “the greatest story ever told”.
UNDERSTAND THE WORLD BETTER – You might not be religious but the majority of people on this planet follow an Abrahamic faith of some kind, so understanding their beliefs is important as they shape politics, society, healthcare, charity, education, marriage and family life - in fact all aspects of life.
THE STORIES ARE NEW TO YOU – Assuming you haven't read the Bible recently (or ever), these stories will be fresh and new. You won't know what's about to happen, so prepare for some Red Wedding style twists and turns!
Unlike any other comic rendition of the Bible, this one will be completely unabridged. Are you frustrated by film adaptations of your favourite books boiling down the story to nothing and missing out the character development and some of your favourite parts? By keeping all the words and not rushing the story this graphic novel aims to keep the pace, social intricacies, surprises and even humour of the original text.
You can see from the example images that all the words (even “he said” and descriptive elements) are still included into the comic but subtly in the 'gutters'. These generally appear as dark grey on medium grey. The intention is that if you are reading it as a comic, you could ignore these bits. However if you want to read them to see what the Bible text includes they are present and legible.
This also means that no parts of the stories are overlooked or avoided. For example, the Levite's concubine (Judges 19), Jepthah's sacrifice (Judges 12), or brides for the Danites (Judges 21). All parts of the story are important and, in my experience as an illustrator and comic fan, it's the details that help you understand the full story and characters.
DOESN'T PULL ITS PUNCHES:
This graphic novel will not shy away from any issue the Bible addresses. Unfortunately, due to the corruption of mankind, these issues include violence, kidnapping, cold-blooded murder, even rape and infanticide. This work will not glamorize evil of any kind, nor will it be explicit or dwell on these things, but it will cover all the lessons that the Bible teaches.
This comic will therefore not be suitable for anyone under the age of 15 and even then will include parental advisory warnings.
The aim of this is to bridge the gap between illustrated children’s Bibles that use a soft touch to tell God’s story and the harsh and shocking events of the Biblical text, which not only encourages and instructs but also ‘cuts to the heart’.
Using the best scholarship available and a range of sources we have tried to link the event to as specific a time period as possible and include much historical detail. For example, at the start of the “Judges” period chariots have four spokes in the wheels, half way through the three centuries technology moves on and chariot wheels have six spokes. Another example is found in the pottery, which is different and distinct to each period and nation. This level of detail is intended to immerse the reader in the story, helping to contextualize the world that these people lived in. Also, the range of styles, fashions and traditions give a richness that text alone will lack.
Another element is the correct ethnicity of the heroes and their enemies, to help understand the spectrum of people found in the Bible. All too often we see a Western Jesus or expect the characters to act like people of our own culture or nation and forget this is, in the most part, a Middle Eastern account.
Lastly, maps interspersed into the story help pinpoint the action and also highlight the times that significant events happen on the same turf or nearby to other significant events. For example, the site where Abraham offered his son and the link with the later story of God offering of his own son.
Find this info in FAQs at the bottom of this page including the headings DOCTRINE, TRANSLATION, AMBIGUITY, VIOLENCE, NUDITY, PORTRAYING GOD AND ANGELS and RESEARCH NOT TRADITION
IN BRIEF - Where there is 'interpretation' or 'hermeneutics' it is in keeping with a general Christian orthodoxy rather than a specific doctrinal agenda.
PERMISSION – As standard the permission to display the images for the comic in public, (such as along side a sermon or teaching) are withheld. You may add a donation of an £10 to receive written permission to use the images (see add ons below).
My hope is to use Kickstarter in its intended form, to kick start this project with the funds to allow me to work on the comic and it's research full time, finish the work and hopefully use the revenue from this first book to fund the next one. The other reason is that I believe that the integrity of the content needs to be preserved from pressures like editors wanting to cut down the page numbers or publishing companies wanting a return on their investment "yesterday".
With your help in funding this way I can ensure the historical accuracy, pace, detail and storytelling do not suffer.
As mentioned in the video the money I am raising is going to be used primarily to fund me working on it full time to produce the comic within 12 months. The cost of the reward fulfilments, print costs and fees are also a factor. Achieving the minimum goal will mean I continue to work solo completing the project and getting the printed comic to you by April 2015. If I exceed the goal the money will be used to pay a separate colourist, meaning the full comic would be completed sooner.
- £20,000 - Prodigal Son for (almost) everyone- 2 page preview of the Word for Word Bible Comic New Testament with the parable of the PRODIGAL SON (starring Jesus) for all backers who pledge £8 and over.
- £30,000 – Faster fulfilment - Employ Colourist fulfilling rewards in significantly faster time frame.
MAXIMISE YOUR SUPPORT
- “Blessed Altruist” Digital only – Fulfilling physical rewards like books and T-shirts obviously eats into your pledge, if you would be equally happy with digital rewards only this would greatly support this fund-raiser meaning all but the fees and tax will be used to support the project.
- “True Altruist” (Gift) – If you want to support the project but wish nothing but a thank you in return you can make your pledge a gift, meaning all but the fees will be used to support the project. There is no tax because you haven't purchased anything , (as a “gift with reservation of benefit” up to £3000).
Below is a table to help you visualise the rewards options. For the text desription see the list on the right hand side.
- Restrictions on appearing as an extra in the “YOU IN THE BIBLE” reward - *** Please read this entry carefully and contact me if you are thinking of going for this level *** Firstly if you have glasses you will appear without glasses. If you have a very modern hairstyle your style will be interpreted into a more natural look or maybe covered up. The decision on where you feature will be my choice to best fit the story. You may be a good person or you may be a bad person, dead or alive.
- Restrictions on the “SPEAK IN THE BIBLE” reward - *** Please read this entry carefully and contact me if you are thinking of going for this level *** All the restrictions above (though your likeness will at least start out alive). If you are white you may appear to be more tanned than normal to fit in with a Semitic ethnicity. All of the male parts except five will have beards, so outside of that if you do not have a beard one may be assigned to you. As this is a set text I can only accept people who can fit into the roles available, based on age, gender, look etc. The decision on where you feature will ultimately be my choice to best fit the story and your appearance but if you contact me we can discuss the options. Where choices are possible I will give preference based on first come first served.
***Confused by the icons? See text description on right hand side***
ADD ONs– There are a few options you may add onto your pledge to get extra rewards.
- Add £10 – Permission to display images in public- Written permission to use the digital images publicly (for example to preach, teach etc).
- Add £20 – T-Shirt - Get a T-shirt added to your rewards – can only be added to pledges of £25+
- Add £25 – 1 Extra Book - Get one extra book added to your rewards, this can be added multiple times up to 10 physical copies in total – can only be added to pledges of £25+ and please remember to include the extra shipping cost, contact us for details.
- Add £100 – Consultant- Be a part of the consultancy team. If I have an issue I need feedback on, a verse I'm struggling with, a picture I want to get opinions on you'll be consulted and get a chance to give your opinion and provide a case for any changes you see needed. Also, be credited as a consultant (optional).
Please tweet, share, tell your friends who like comics and Christian friends because how can they believe in the project of which they have not heard? And how can they hear without someone to tell them? ;)
PREVIEW FROM JUDGES 13
Risks and challenges
All digital rewards aside from the finished book are complete so once the campaign finishes these will be sent out to you, the lead time ('til July) is due to the time for Kickstarter to clear all the pledges and release the funds.
The only challenges I can foresee is anything that could delay the fulfilment of the finished printed book, like printer troubles, illness or injury etc. But God willing we will get the finished products to you on time and in good order.Learn about accountability on Kickstarter
DOCTRINE– This, of all elements, is the most important. Some of the accuracy is taken care of with the historicity and cultural context, but in this section we are talking about doctrine. This work embraces a view of inerrant scripture, of expositional constancy and that the canon of scripture is an integrated whole. For example, if there are differing views on a verse by scholars I will side with the more literal interpretation of the text and the one truest to the original Greek or Hebrew.
They say "a picture paints a thousand words" and this is one of the primary struggles for the illustrator because one has to provide these thousand words, to be constant and not "add to scripture" (Rev 22:18). Where possible I use this extra content to help fit the current text into the wider scripture or purposes of God. For example, to create a view of Samson consistent with both the story in the book of Judges and the passages in New Testament (Hebrews 11:32-33) by balancing his obvious failings with times of prayer, faith and reliance on God. I try to keep the hermeneutics to the immediate context but have subtly included some visual clues to do with the deeper meanings or prophetic significance of the events that are unfolding. These clues are intended to be enjoyed by those who understand them but not critical for a superficial reading of the text. The comic does not adopt any specific theological bias, i.e. this is not a 'reformed' comic, or an 'Arminian' one etc. Where there is 'interpretation' or 'hermeneutics' it is in keeping with a general Christian orthodoxy rather than a specific doctrinal agenda.
TRANSLATION – The translation I will use will be modern in language and as close to the original text as possible. I am currently planning to use the World English Bible (WEB) translation as I feel it is a good balance between a “formal equivalent” and a “dynamic equivalent" and is an updated version of the excellent American Standard Version (ASV). If I can acquire the rights I may produce the work using the New King James Version (NKJV), New International Version (NIV), or English Standard Version (ESV).
AMBIGUITY – There are times where the minutiae of the Bible stories are ambiguous. Consider Jephthar's vow for example (Judges 12). Did he sacrifice his daughter by fire or dedicate her to the Lord in service? The more you search, the more difficult it is to discern. What is clear however is Jephthar does not know his Torah! With an ambiguity like this I have decided to draw the comic to be equally ambiguous. In this example, the comic may leave the casual reader with the impression that the daughter has been sacrificed as a burnt offering, as a servant to the Tabernacle or unsure. My hope is that if readers are unsure or possibly bewildered by the human sacrifice they will get online and decide for themselves.
VIOLENCE – (Also stated above). This graphic novel will not shy away from any issue the Bible addresses. Unfortunately, due to the corruption of mankind, these issues include violence, kidnapping, cold-blooded murder, even rape and infanticide. This work will not glamorize evil of any kind, nor will it be explicit or dwell on these things, but it will cover all the lessons that the Bible teaches.
NUDITY - Nudity will be implicit but not explicit. Where people are naked in the story they may appear as a silhouettes or partially obscured but they will still be naked. My aim is to be faithful to the text but not provoke lust in the reader.
PORTRAYING GOD AND ANGELS – Firstly it is obvious that in this work I will be depicting the “form of things in heaven above or on the earth beneath or in the waters below” but I believe that as they are not for the purpose of worship/idolatry this is not a contravention of the second commandment. I am not planning to depict God the Father in any human form. It may be necessary to show him one day in Isaiah 6 or Revelation 4, but this will not be as a white-bearded old man but more likely a being of pure light. The Holy Spirit and the gifts of the Spirit, and other unseen things of spirit are represented in the comic with a bright turquoise colour throughout. For example, when the Angel stands in front of Balaam's donkey the first time it is invisible to Balaam, in this comic series the angel in that case would be a turquoise line image to show his presence but invisibility. Angels that are not manifesting in human form will be portrayed in line with descriptions found in Revelation, Isaiah 6, and Ezekiel visions - not guys with feathery wings!
RESEARCH NOT TRADITION – I will always challenge the validity of traditions that surround the stories. If I feel they do not detract from the true meaning of the text I may include them or make subtle reference to them, but generally if they are not Biblical they will be excluded. An example of this would be the Magi in the Nativity story. In the Word-for-Word Bible Comic they will not be portrayed as kings and they won't arrive when Jesus is still a newborn baby; neither will they represent different ethnic groups but all be Parthian Magi.
How do I know it's accurate to the Bible, and that I should back it?
The Word for Word Bible Comic- Hard hitting, unabridged graphic novel of the Book of Judges that is historically accurate with high view of scripture. For ages 15+
If you are a Christian worried about some heretical rendition of the Bible, good. It's right to be concerned and to know what you are putting your money into.
I am trying in every way to ensure this comic is true to the text, referencing back to the original Hebrew and Greek. Be assured I am more concerned about the “Author” being displeased with the work I do than any critique or displeasure from the fans.
Below you can see some of the points I address on the web page, but here are a few quotes and links from Bible experts and teachers.
“One might argue that W4W is actually a more authentic presentation of the Bible than our bare printed texts, which invite us to fill a visual vacuum by supplying pictures in our own imagination of people and events. We tend to do this as if they happened in our own time and place, or else in a generic 'Bible world' where nothing really changes culturally from Abraham to Paul.”
Rev. Dr. Christopher R. Smith (Author of “Understanding the Books of the Bible” Study Guides from IVP)
“In cases like this the artistic depiction in W4W supports, rather than undermines, the larger theological themes of the Bible.”
PastorTerry Delaney (ChristianBookNotes.com)
Who is creating this?
In regards to my position within the greater church, I'm a member of the Newfrontiers movement in the UK, in City Church Bristol. This means I am an evangelical Christian and have an inerrant view of Scripture. I also have a scholarship within the Koinonia Institute Study centre.
As a child I went to a Methodist church in Cornwall, but I didn't become a committed Christian until I went on an Alpha course on 2005 in Bristol. I gave my life to the Lord then and have been growing in my knowledge and faith in God and the Bible ever since.
I read the Bible properly for the first time and was amazed at the provocative tales of corrupted man and an uncompromising God. These adult stories of a powerful messiah were not what I remembered from Sunday school. Reading through the Book of Samuel was like reading a Game of Thrones novel and so I became very excited about reading the Bible. There’s a big gap between Bible-based comics and storybooks for kids, and the real harsh texts of the book we read as adults.
I felt called to fill that gap and create a graphic novel of the books of the Bible that would be not be for little kids but would be a good way to reach teens (aged 15+) and adults, with the full story of the Bible. Chuck Missler, a teacher I greatly respect, often says “the only real barrier to Truth is the assumption you already have it”, I believe many believers assume they know the stories of the Bible but are surprised when they sit down and read it in full.
The aim of this project is to get the full word of God into the hands of young people and help them read it by including dramatic and exciting pictures alongside the text. This also help the stories be more memorable.
I have grown to love the Bible through reading and studying it. I strive for accuracy in my work and so I use Wayne Grudem's Systematic Theology, study bibles and commentaries from the Crossway (ESV), Zondervan (NIV), IVP Academic, Tyndale Press, Lion, The Bible Speaks Today, Thomas Nelson, and a whole host of others. I also check difficult verses with my Hebrew/Greek Interlinear Bible and ISA Basic software.
I love listening to good teachers while I work like Chuck Missler, Terry Virgo, Dr Martin Lloyd Jones, Chuck Smith, Walter Martin, Mark Driscoll, John MacArthur, Tim Keller and many more. These help me keep learning more and more about God and our Messiah. I try to “receive the word with all readiness of the mind, examining the Scriptures daily to see whether these things [are] so.”
I am always open to improving my understanding of the text and am open to suggestions and challenges on how to better the work.
If ever I do accidentally represent something in a way that is considered dishonouring to God or of poor theology, I will change it for all further issues. If you like the project but are still concerned about the doctrine and theology then become a “Consultant” by pledging and selecting that 'Add On' option. Doing this will give you a direct line to me and you will be consulted on any difficult elements in regular emails. For example, how to depict the execution of Jephthar's vow as good scholars disagree over the fate of Jephthar's daughter.
Simon Walker – New Frontiers Leader
Rev. Dr. Christopher R. Smith - Author of “Understanding the Books of the Bible” Study Guides from IVP.
Jeremy Myers – Till He Comes Blog
Rev Dr David Firth -Lecturer in Old Testament Higher Eduction and General Editor of the Tyndale Old Testament Commentary.
Pastor Terry Delaney- ChristianBookNotes.com
Sorted Magazine – UK Christian Men's Magazine linked with CVM (Christian Vision for Men)
For example of the care and attention to detail within the Biblical text please read the blogs on the website www.wordforwordbiblecomic.com , especially ...
My Biblical analysis must boldly go where no man has gone before.
Why did the lion attack Samson?
Expert in the Field - Details of a panel
Should you back it?
If you like the idea but are still not sure if you should be backing it because you are worried it might misrepresent the text please pray about it seriously.
Also please consider: there are many representation of the Bible stories that you have probably already 'backed' by watching them on tv, at the movies or bought and many of these will have an imperfect representation of the events. If my own work is in error, but you donate in good faith I will be the one culpable. I continue to pray my pictures will draw people in and they will learn to love and study the Bible for themselves.
In the parable of the Talents, (Matthew 25:14-30) each of the stewards who are rewarded risks the money they have been entrusted. Please join with me risking much to gain a great profit for our King.
Please get involved and help me get the word of God in full into the hands of believing and unbelieving young people and comic lovers of all ages.
Support this project
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