Mar 16, 2013

Book Review: Good and Evil (Comic Book Bible)

You've probably heard of Michael and Debi Pearl, the founders of No Great Joy Ministries in Tennessee. They are popular in Christian homeschool circles, oftentimes with mixed emotions (many of them springing from the views expressed in their child training books and the book Created To Be His Helpmeet by Debi Pearl.) Today, though, I'm not here to talk about either of those books, but rather, No Greater Joy's very popular and highly thought of book, Good and Evil.

What Is It? 

Good and Evil is a comic book Bible published in 2008 which took off with extreme popularity. (Just read some of the reviews on Amazon!) It is a full color 321 page comic book of the entire Bible - starting at Genesis and ending with Revelation.

Good and Evil was originally written as a tool for missionaries as a visual aid in chronologically going through the Bible with people who have no biblical foundation. It has also proven to be a good evangelism tool in the US for people that are traditionally not receptive to the Bible (prison inmates, teenage boys, etc.) Good and Evil has been translated in to over 35 languages. 

Physical Details 

The artwork is done by Danny Bulanadi, a former artist for Marvel Comics. The comics are exactly what you'd expect from any type of comic book you'd find anywhere else. High quality, and very much a graphic novel.

The book is heavy weight, softcover, and glossy paged. The quality of the book itself is very high quality and very appealing to hold and feel.

Content 

While this is a comic book of the Bible, it is not taken word-for-word from the Scripture. The text mirrors the biblical account, while enhancing it and adding emotion and thought to make it fit into the comic book style. There are some minor liberties taken, such as depicting that Joseph found a midwife to help deliver Jesus into the world. While this could very well have happened, the Bible doesn't specifically say so. Also, as is common, the account of Jesus being born is shown as him being born in a stable the very night of Joseph and Mary's arrival in Bethlehem. Again, the Bible doesn't state exactly what night Jesus was born.

At the bottom of almost every page there are Scripture references which direct you to the exact passages the comics were depicting on that page. I think this is a nice feature.

Suggestions

As with anything that is not the Bible itself and seeks to represent the accounts within the Bible somehow, it is important to first know what the Bible says. (The same thing applies for things like VeggieTales, What's In the Bible, etc.)

You could come up with many creative uses for Good and Evil such as the few suggestions here.
  • If you child is younger, Good and Evil is something you two (or dad and son) could read together before bed
  • If your child is older, this could be part of a school assignment. Assign a few pages to read, then assign the actual Scripture for him to read and write a comparison chart on them 
  • If you have an older child and a younger child, Good and Evil would make a great book to be read by the older child to the younger child 
  • If your child struggles with Bible reading, this would be a great addition to (not replacement) for family Bible reading. If you were reading the account of creation during family Bible time, you could later assign your child the task of reading the same story in Good and Evil. This may help the story sink in and stick better
  • Good and Evil makes for a great replacement of many of the other unwholesome comic books available to children and teens while still being action packed and comic book style 
  • If your child simply doesn't enjoy reading in general, they might find Good and Evil to be something they enjoy reading (plus, it's the Bible! There is not a better thing for our kids to be reading in their free time!)
  • And of course, Good and Evil can also be used purely as a recreational activity - reading for the simple joy of reading 
  • Good and Evil is also a great tool for handing out in prison ministries
I'm sure if you spent some time thinking about it you could come up with many more creative ways to use Good and Evil in your day to day life and homeschooling. While Good and Evil wasn't written with any intentions to be used other than for reading like a comic book, there is lots of room for it to compliment Bible time and school. Especially if comic books are something your child enjoys!

Other Notes and My Recommendation

As I mentioned before, the art style is very much that of a comic book. (As is right being that it IS a comic book!) Some of the women are a bit exaggerated, and some of the drawings are a bit intense when it comes to the scary parts. 

These things wouldn't stop me from recommending Good and Evil. While I myself am not a fan of comic books in general, I think Good and Evil could be a helpful and enjoyable tool to have in the home, especially if it's used as a tool that continually brings your children back to the Bible.

No Greater Joy Ministries

You can view Good and Evil on NGJ's website by clicking here. To contact No Greater Joy with questions, comments, or to subscribe to their magazine, click here.

What Are Your Thoughts?

Have you read Good and Evil or bought it for your children? What were your thoughts?