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Religious Comics, Graphic Novels, in the Davis Public Library


There are a number of comic book Bibles and other religious comics, or graphic novels, in the Davis public library. They can be found in several sections, but are concentrated in the young adult, read teen, section of the library. This page will provide a list of some of them.

A graphic novel is simply a long, frequently pretentious, comic book. It is part of a movement that has been going on for more than half a century to make comics literature. More recently public libraries have been adding graphic novels to their collections. This maybe part of an attempt to keep their circulation figures up and rising in the face of competition from the Internet. Many parents think that a graphic novel treats "adult" subjects in an explicit way. Not to worry, we are just talking about comics.

Comic Book Bibles

There are three comic book Bibles in the Davis public library. Iva Hoth's The Picture Bible has been the most popular, it is about 800 pages long and is found in both English and Spanish in the children's section. I do not believe it contains anything objectionable for Catholics with the exception that it does not cover the deuterocanonical book, what the Protestants call the apocrypha, and they call the period covered by 1st and 2nd Maccabees is the intertestamental period. This is a Protestant concept.

There are two other comic book Bibles in the young adult, read teen, section. Heroes of the Bible is done with current American superhero style art, and is designed for boys. Everyone is angry and all the men in ancient Palestine lift weights. This is a Protestant Bible and there are a couple of objectionable things said about Mary. It says she had other children and interprets the story about wine at the Feast of Canna as a conflict between Jesus and Mary. However there are only these two difficult pages in about 400.

The second comic book Bible in young adults is The Manga Bible. Manga is the Japanese word for comics, so Japanese, and even Japanese style, comics are called Manga in the United States. Japanese comics are particularly popular with teenage girls, so if Heroes of the Bible is aimed at young men, The Manga Bible can be thought of as aimed at young women. I have not read this myself, so I can not give more details.

Perhaps I should mention that the comic book Bibles are really Bible story books with word balloons. They tell the stories of the Bible, but mostly skip things like psalms, proverbs, and prophesies.

The Martyrs

The young adult section has The Big Book of Marytrs which is exclusively, or at least almost exclusively about Catholic martyrs. It provides a short retelling of the martyrdom of many of the most famous martyrs. These stories are very gruesome. Mel Gibson could fruitfully spend the rest of his movie making career turning these into movies. Men and teenage boys frequently like the book, but it is a rare female that does. The writing is always respectful and supportive of the Catholic Church. The writing is done by one author, but the pictures are done by many artists. Each artist does a different martyr, none do two or more. Most of the art is unobjectionable, but some of it is not terribly respectful. In most cases this is probably a matter of an artist whose style is simply not appropriate for the subject mater. So this is not a perfect work, but I found it inspiring. Any problems are somewhat mitigated by the fact that this is not a work for children. There is an adults only warning on the cover. I think it is appropriate for older teens as well.

There maybe more, but I will end here. There are quite a few religious movies, and other religious videos at the public library. Click for a list. For a more general discussion of religious materials at many libraries available to Davis, Yolo, and Sacramento Area Catholics click here.

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Last updated May 25, 2014