5 Stars Out Of 5
A Great Graphic Novel for Teens
April 18, 2014
I'd like to thank The Good Book Company and Cross Focused Reviews for providing me with a copy of The Third Day: The Gospel of Luke Chapters 22-24 illustrated by Alex Webb-Peploe and designed by AndrÃ© Parker in return for my honest review.
Teens love comics. There's something about the way epic stories are brought to life by pop art that is especially attractive. Right and wrong battle each other on each spread.
There is no more epic story than the death and resurrection of Jesus Christ. His sacrifice for those God called according to His purpose is unparalleled. Using only direct quotes from the Holman Christian Standard Bible version, The Good Book Company has worked to faithfully illustrate the passion of Jesus and Resurrection Sunday. The Third Day: The Gospel of Luke Chapters 22-24 is illustrated by Alex Webb-Peploe and designed by AndrÃ© Parker.
Art has a way of making us think about text. It can help us envision facts and put context to narrative, especially if it's well done. For two millennia, artists have worked at illustrating scenes from the Bible. In that tradition (with a slightly updated medium), Alex Webb-Peploe has done an amazing job of illustrating the story of Christ's last supper, the Garden of Gethsemane, His appearance before Herod and Pilate, the crucifixion, and Jesus' resurrection from the dead and appearances to the disciples.
The illustrations are refreshingly realistic. The disciples of Christ all look like real men â€” the kind of men who might fish on the sea or extort extra taxes from helpless citizens. The common people (and even members of the Sanhedrin) have missing or broken teeth, as one would expect in 30-33 AD. Herod is dressed as royalty and Pilate wears a Roman breastplate. Most refreshing to me, the illustrated figures in this story appear to be ethnically Jewish. The angels at the tomb have dark skin, no wings, and shining white robes (and they are male). The color scheme uses darker colors, as you'd expect to see in a graphic novel aimed at young adults. The Good Book Company site describes The Third Day as having a "gritty, contemporary feel". That's a great description of this book.
I very much appreciate the effort and thought put into this wonderful graphic novel. I love the fact that the entire story is faithfully told using direct quotes from Scripture, and that research and consideration clearly went into the illustrations. I'm excited to give The Third Day to my boys for Good Friday to read in preparation of Resurrection Sunday. I know this is a book that will be read and re-read many times. That said, The Good Book Company cautions parents to consider the "gritty" feel before giving it to younger children: "Please note: this product contains images of violence and crucifixion which may be disturbing for young children. Please look through the book first to ensure that it is appropriate for the children who will be reading it."
I didn't find very many items I thought parents who are comfortable with biblical illustrations might find objectionable. Here's my brief list: in the Garden of Gethsemane the dismembered ear is shown spraying blood (on the opposite side of the body â€” it's not gory), Jesus is not shown being beaten, but has a swollen eye, the thief on the cross has a bloody bandage on his forehead, and the nail is shown being put to Christ's wrist. The crucifixion is shown, and later the scars in Jesus' wrists are shown. At the tomb, there are depictions of the angels (see the description above). There. Now you know. My boys are nearly in middle school and I don't feel that viewing the illustrations will be an issue for them. After all, we've read 1 and 2 Kings together â€” that's pretty graphic.
The Third Day is a great way to add to your teen's understanding of the crucifixion. I read somewhere (and now I can't find where_) that this 48-page full color book with a glossy, thick paperback cover is the first of a series. I hope that's true. My boys love comics, and I think Alex Webb-Peploe, AndrÃ© Parker, and The Good Book Company did a fantastic job.
The back of the book has a letter from Mr. Webb-Peploe and Mr. Parker explaining the historicity of Luke's account and providing additional online resources to learn more about the gospel. This would be a fantastic resource to give away. The Third Day gets a thumbs up from me.