The Manga Bible
Jesus meets Japanese Anime
"The Manga Bible" is a collaboration between two anime-loving brothers: Siku and Akin. Siku conceptualized the anime illustrations while Akin shaped the modernized dialogue in the book.
This is not your grandmothers'--or even your mother's--Bible; it is a Bible entirely possessed of a hip, contemporary, and edgy sensibility without losing any grounding in Scripture.
Perhaps the most unique Bible ever created -- one that combines familiar Sunday School stories with Japanese Anime.
The creation of the earth
The rise and fall of God's chosen people
The mysterious stranger who brought about a new world order
And the ultimate showdown between the forces of good and evil
This is the greatest story ever told . . . as you've never seen it before.
Containing both Old and New Testaments, this is the first ever English manga of the most important book of all time.
“GRITTY, COMPELLING, BREATHTAKING, ALONG WITH TIGHT, GRIPPING STORYLINES”- ANIME.com
"In the beginning..." With these words begins the story of God's chosen people, from the creation of the world to the stark visions of the Revelation. Abraham rises up as the great patriarch of the Israelite nation; Moses leads them out of slavery and to the Promised Land; great kings like David and Solomon defend the nation from wars and invaders; and even when the people of Israel are exiled to other lands, upstanding prophets and leaders are able to keep the faith. But the greatest prophet and teacher is yet to come: Jesus Christ, who will have to make the ultimate sacrifice in standing up for what he believes. But even after his death and resurrection, Jesus' disciples continue to spread his teachings around the world.
What Do We Make of this Akin? Part I
An interview with Akin Akinsiku about his role in creating "The Manga Bible."
Describe some of yours and Siku's illustration background and your Christian background.
I studied Fine Art at Yaba College of Technology in Nigeria and Animation in England. In between, I illustrated a strip for Sphinx magazine and wrote "Fever of the Gods" for Judge Dred Magazine. Siku also studied Design in Nigeria and went on to become one of the major artists working on 2000 AD. My Christian background is someone very mixed. I grew up in an Anglican household, switched to Roman Catholic as a child, then to Evangelical Pentecostal as a teenager, and now I am just a plain Christian. I like simplicity.
When were you and Siku first inspired with the idea of drawing a "Manga Bible"? Was there a particular moment or life event that made you guys know it was time to collaborate?
Well, "The Manga Bible" is really Siku's baby. I was just made godfather. I came into the project by divine default. Siku and I have worked together over many years on different projects. With "The Manga Bible," I came on board last-minute as a writer and, for me, it was a dream project in terms of merging two worlds that are of great interest to me. I have been a long-time fan of Japanese comics and animation. In fact, the first cartoon I got hooked on as a kid was "Gigantor." I absolutely loved that show. I really want to do an all-out Mecha-meets-Bible intergalactic fest. That would be fun!
The 'Manga Bible' was a beast...
How long did it take you and Siku to complete "The Manga Bible"?
I had my daytime job (as art direct for Nickelodeon) and a newborn baby. So in-between, I had to read and write the Bible. I used to write every day till 4 or 5 am for what seemed like a year. It was very spiritual. Kind of like 40 days and 40 nights in the wilderness. I like working early hours of the morning. I am a lot more perceptive at that time of the day.
When I was first reading this, I was surprised that "The Manga Bible" is mostly Old Testament, with some New Testament. How did you and Siku narrow down what to or not to illustrate?
The OT has like a million stories while the NT has like only two or three. Again, the OT needed a lot of room for all the holy men, despots, prophets, kings, and invaders to battle it out. With the NT, we mainly had Jesus, the Apostles, Paul, and Revelations.
Jesus is not cuddly in this Manga book. In the desert, he's actually more terrifying than Satan. He's hooded and his face is shaded. The Devil is more vanilla-flavoured looking - very, very plain.
I've deliberately made Jesus more imposing than anyone else throughout the story, and darker. He's creepier.
Before writing "The Manga Bible," I had actually done all this research into characters like Herod and Pilate and the second temple. Much of that research ultimately ended up as recycled paper. I enjoyed writing Revelation. Writing it was like an episode of CSI. If you've tried to make sense of the sequence of events in Revelation, you'd understand.
When Does The Book of Genesis Illustrated Hit The Shelves?
Sneak Preview - 'Manga' Bible made for students
What Do We Make of this Akin? Part II (Continued)
An interview with Akin Akinsiku about his role in creating "The Manga Bible."
I was also surprised by some of the sultry and-at times-gruesome images as well as the very edgy, modern dialogue. Since these features are part of the manga genre, were you or Siku worried about the response from conservative Christians? Or did you feel it was more important to reach a different--perhaps younger--audience?
To be honest with you, we just did it. We were very aware of what the possible reactions might be to certain depictions. Hodders, our publisher, was also sensitive to it. We figured we had to be true to the stories and, as artists, your only boss (apart from whoever is writing the cheques), should be the Truth. And we just obeyed the Truth.
The genderless-ness of Satan's face is eerie and frightening. Why did you guys choose to make him have undefined features?
That was Siku's idea. Satan's face is the ultimate poker face. You can't ever tell what he is thinking.
You and Siku also incorporated contemporary elements into some of the sections in "The Manga Bible" such as the story of Job, the Parable of the Unforgiving Servant, and Jesus' temptation on the mountaintop. How did you and Siku decide on these certain contemporary elements?
Once we decided these strange "outsider stories" needed to be treated as manga sub-genes (super deformed characters), it was very easy for Siku to run away with them and just have fun.
These stories are immortal. They are like folktales that don't belong to any time, place, and culture.
Also, treating these stories as separate entities visually allowed us to break in and out of the main narratives without upsetting the flow and structure.
Which stories were particularly difficult for you and Siku to work on? What particular challenges did both of you face when you sat down to work on this project?
Paul's letter s were very difficult. There were lots of problems with chronology of events detailed in them. In the Old Testament? I think outside of Genesis and Exodus, it's all pretty much very difficult to compress the stories, and [turn] timelines into something linear and coherent, especially since there isn't one central character in the whole of the Old Testament.
What did you love most and like least throughout the process of creating "The Manga Bible"?
What I like the most? Well, having the opportunity to flesh out over-familiar characters in a different way. We tried as much as we could to break the hypnosis of familiarity. Characters like Joshua, Jesus, and Satan, I would like to think, are depicted differently. If I had more pages to play with, I would've loved carve out more three-dimensional characters.
This brings me to what I least liked about the process: I wish I had more pages to write. "The Manga Bible" works as a compressed slice of history, which Is suited to the spirit of the times. But I admit I have a personal preference for boring detail and stuff most normal people don't really care about.
What do you hope your audience will take away from "The Manga Bible"?
That it will draw people closer to the truth. Or, at the very least, be a very good read.
Some tidbits about the mysterious illustrator
Batman is the man, and if you don't like it see me outside!
Siku was born in Leicester city.
World's apart from Robert Crumb (The Book of Genesis Illustrated) and Basil Wolverton (The Wolverton Bible) Siku studied design and printing at the Yaba's School of Art, and theology at the London School of Theology.
He specialised in graphics design but studied ceramics, sculpture, painting and textile design. His lecturers thought he 'sold out' when he opted to specialise in graphics design because he was particularly good at sculpture and painting. But he chose Graphics because he thought he had more to learn from the subject. Knowing how to design has become the foundation of all of my work.
Siku's fully-painted work (particularly on Judge Dredd and the Pan-African Judges stories) has been appearing in 2000 AD and the Judge Dredd Megazine since 1991.
I don't feel like one of Britain's Best painters.
Quoted from him 'As a christian, it is my job to show others the work of god, whatever it takes!' Siku also works in the computer games industry and as a freelance illustrator and artist.
His latest work is The Manga Bible: From Genesis to Revelation, an adaption of Today's New International Version of the Holy Bible into manga format.
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