Bold, dynamic and beautiful these words are an attempt to capture what Simon Amadeus Pillario has achieved with his new graphic novel. Focusing on the Gospel of Mark, each page is filled with captivating illustrated panels which uniquely capture the dynamism of the text and the historic accuracy of the period. The Gospel of Mark is one of the most mysterious biblical texts filled with the foreshadowing of the death of Christ and the phraseology of ‘the Son of Man’. It can be a very difficult text to penetrate, Simon has been able to help lift the veil of this captivating narrative and do so in a way which brings the story to life.
As the title suggests, Simon does not deviate from the source material, making this a perfect method for those curious about the Gospel of Mark or those who have long pondered it’s meaning to finally get to grips with it. There have been numerous scholars consulted with regards to the illustrative accuracy in each panel. From the houses to the belt buckle designs of the soldiers. It’s an impressive feat and really helps with the realistic dynamism within the story.
The central core of the text, the compassionate nature of Jesus is in full display in the visuals. We have a Jesus, who is not white, but clearly from the middle east who welcomes the sick and endlessly stretches his hand to heal them. The artist brings out a Jesus who displays a wealth of very human emotions, from ecstatic joy to deep sorrow. There’s a wonderful interplay of shadows which permeates each of the characters in the story and their visual design brings a memorable quality to each encounter.
The story portrayed in the Gospel of Mark progresses from Jesus’ temptation in the wilderness through his ministry on Earth. The encounters with the ordinary citizens of the time and the miraculous healing he bestowed upon the afflicted. The narrative is paced extremely well, with the story neither being raced through or being extended. It is a truly dynamic story of a man who claims to be the son of God challenging established thought and who promotes love and truth with his every action.
The parables come to life through the illustration and beautiful colouring and the whole book is a delight to hold and read. I really recommend this to anyone with a passing interest in the Bible, those who love beautiful comic book artwork and for those who wish to engage a younger audience in scriptural tales. A remarkable triumph.