Monday, December 17, 2012

The Brick Bible by Brendan Powell Smith

An idea so strange I just had to see it for myself: the Bible, retold in graphic novel format illustrated completely with Legos.

Note: I read both A New Spin on the Old Testament and The New Testament: A New Spin on the Story of Jesus, but I'm reviewing both here together.

I know Lego-format just screams "KIDS!" but I'm not sure I'd recommend these for too young an audience - do you realize how bloody the Bible is, really? Instead, Smith's broken a few of the most famous stories out into stand-alone books specifically for kids (The Christmas Story, Noah's Ark).

Smith explains in the introduction that he really just wanted to get people reading the Bible - it's one of the most referenced and quoted texts, yet most people simply haven't read it. And even here, the novelty of the format only lasts so long - at some point, you've really got to be interested in reading the Bible to enjoy reading these books.

But the art: Wow. It's stunning the diversity of expression he milks out of simple minifigs. The landscapes and stage sets are amazing, and the creativity in depicting such famous images in a unique way are inspiring. The limitations of the format leads to a bit strangeness (How do you show a pregnant Lego? And what about all the circumcisions?). Blood is depicted in transparent red bricks which somewhat neuters the violence and at the same time lend a very surreal quality. And the occasional anachronisms can be truly hilarious.

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