I am a reader of great literature, and by that I mean comic books. I grew up reading comics and still love a great graphic novel. There is something special about artists who are able to pair storytelling with images in a way that is dynamic and compelling. You can’t get a more compelling and moving story of Jesus crucifixion and resurrection. This is the story that Alex Webb-Peploe and André Parker tell through their new comic-adaptation, The Third Day.
This is not the first comic adaptation of the Bible. There are a number of recent projects which rehearse biblical themes in graphic novel form. What makes this title unique, is that other graphic novel adaptations veer from the biblical material to explain why things happen the way they did (i.e. why did Judas betray Jesus, why did the High Priest plot against Jesus, etc), The Third Day restricts itself to the biblical account focusing on three chapters from Luke (22-24). The words in this novel come straight form the Bible (HCSB version). Words from Luke’s prologue also introduce the story.
Limiting the text to the Bible alone does not detract from the story-telling. Webb-Peploe helps us hone in on what the Bible tells us about Jesus’ final hours. When speech is implied but not recorded in the biblical account, there are story telling panels with no speech bubbles. This attention to the gospel’s actual words leaves some questions unanswered but also helps us stay tuned into what the Bible tells us.
But Webb-Peploe doesn’t reproduce every word from Luke either. The economy and pacing of the genre demand a certain sparsity in the details. If you read this comic beside your Bible, you will notice some details skipped or skimmed over and other elements of the story left out (i.e.). There is the occasional word or phrase written out of order, but the events themselves follow Luke’s account. To my mind, this is artfully telling the story by choosing which elements to emphasize from the text.
I also loved that in addition to being biblically correct, this graphic novel is also ethnically correct. In a world full of white Jesus movies, yellow-haired stained glass Christs, and other pasty renderings, it is refreshing to see an artistic presentation of Jesus that presents Him as an olive-skinned Mediterranean Jew. This is a marked improvement on the ‘traditional’ blue-eyed Jesus often imaged through Western media and art. The illustrations in this book are strong and dynamic, well-inked and colored .I am impressed. I give this book 4.5 stars and recommend it for young adult and teenagers, children and other fans of ‘great literature.’ The publisher suggests this title for teenagers. i I read it was my six-year-old.
Thank you to the Good Book Company for providing me with a copy of this book in exchange for my honest review.