Friday, November 1, 2013

Messiah: Origin by Matt Dorff and Father Mark Arey - REVIEWED


About the Book: (from Zondervan Publishing)
Messiah: Origin is a beginning, a foundation, the remarkable starting point for a remarkable life. Here is a graphic novel translated directly from the ancient Scriptures. Now see the Biblical narrative unfold visually, pulling together the four Gospels of Matthew, Mark, Luke and John into a single story.

Origin, the first adventure in the Messiah graphic novel series, was translated by Father Mark Arey exclusively from ancient Gospel manuscripts. Father Mark, who also translated the Book of Revelation, brings a lifetime of deep study and biblical training to this monumental endeavor. His work has produced a narrative harmony that weaves the four Gospels into a single continuous story, of which Origin is the opening chapter. The magnificence of this foundational literature is realized through the exquisite and enchanting illustrations of artist Kai Carpenter. Adapted and edited into graphic novel form by Matt Dorff (also the Book of Revelation), with letters and title designs by Carlton Riffel, Origin illuminates the story of Jesus' birth and early life through gloriously detailed and inspiring imagery. In embarking on this journey through the pages of Origin, you will find that by pairing ancient verses with original imagery new life is breathed into the accounts of Jesus' story as expressed through the gospel writers Matthew, Mark, Luke and John

My Thoughts:
Graphic Novels are new to my reading repertoire.  Messiah: Origin is a graphic depiction of Scripture verses related to the birth of Christ.  The verses don’t appear in the order they appear in the Bible.  Rather, they are arranged in such a way that they logically represent the events leading up to and surrounding Christ’s birth.  It is a really beautiful piece of art.

I’m not sure who the intended audience is, but I imagine it would have to be early teens to young adults, because the language choices are too advanced for a younger audience.  I think it would be a good tool to use with unchurched kids of any age, because it is in a format that would appeal to that audience.  Because so many young adults are leaving the church in somewhat of a mass exodus (between the ages of 18-25), graphic novels may be just the tool to bridge the gap in Biblical knowledge that is sorely needed right now.

I am no art critic by ANY means, (so please excuse my lack of intelligence in the way I state my opinions)  but for the most part the pictures are abstract – an eye, a hand, a coin or a facial feature – that are blurred or unclear.  There are some that are clearer than others, but after all it’s not like they could paint a portrait of a real person, or draw from a photograph, right? The only thing that bugged me about the pictures were the angels.  Odd, I know.  But Gabriel looks like some kind of superhero on pages 43-43 and the angel on page 130 looks like a demon.  On page 140 the angel is more vague but traditional.  I couldn’t determine why the angelic images were so diverse and inconsistent.

Other they my angel glitch, I thought this was a cool graphic novel and one that can be used to explain Scripture to young adults that might never be exposed to a Bible.  It is my prayer that this will be the gateway that leads them into an exploration of the truth contained in God’s Word.


And a PS…this would make a cool and unusual Christmas gift or stocking stuffer!

About the Authors:
Matt Dorff adapted the English translation of the Book of Revelation into a graphic novel script. He also oversaw the design and illustration process for the 16 months of production. He is a graduate of the University of Southern California Cinema School and has had over 30 of his movie scripts produced for film and television.

Father Mark Arey is currently the Director of the Office of Inter-Orthodox, Ecumenical and Interfaith Relations of the Greek Orthodox Archdiocese of America, as well as a principal translator of the Holy Synod Committee for translation of Greek liturgical texts.


1 comment:

Matt Dorff said...

Matt Dorff here. Thanks for your review. To address your question about how the angel was depicted, after the first two visitations to Zacharias and Mary, Gabriel comes to Joseph in dreams, so the idea was to make the imagery dreamlike and a bit surreal. These visions of Gabriel are filtered through Joseph's unconscious and full of symbolic rather than literal imagery.

Thanks again for your kind words!