A Comic Adaptation of Mark (An Experiment)


#1

Recently I attempted to do an experiment of sorts by drawing a short comic adaptation of Mark chapters 15-16 (the passion and resurrection narratives). When I say "comic," I mean adapting the gospel of Mark into a kind of comic strip form.

Now I will admit that my adaptation is 'unconventional' in quite a number of ways - I'm prepared for the fact that some people might find it a tad too 'unconventional' for their tastes. (But hey, this is just one man's take on the gospel. :D) For one, there's the fact that the adaptation isn't so much a straight 'translation' of Mark from text into comic form. In fact, I would say that the comic is about Mark dictating his gospel to a scribe!

But that isn't so much the problem. When I say 'unconventional' I mean that I deliberately avoided certain things that most Christians will be familiar with and take for granted. There's the matter of the names for instance: instead of 'Jesus' or 'Pilate' or 'Mary' or 'Barabbas' I instead settled on 'Joshua' (I did consider 'Yehoshua' or 'Yeshua', but I eventually settled for the anglicized Hebrew name instead), 'Pilatus', 'Miriam' and 'Abba's Son' (which is what bar-Abba literally means).

Secondly, there's the image of Jesus. I did not show Jesus as a handsome man with a beard and long hair on purpose, as He is commonly portrayed. No, this strip's Jesus doesn't look like 'Jesus': here He is a dirty-looking, short-haired man with a slightly-receding hairline, only a few wisps of facial hair and a big, somewhat hooked nose - not handsome at all. Note however that this decision isn't a sort of statement along the lines of "This is what Jesus really looked like" or even "This is what I think Jesus really looked like historically" - think of it as more of a deliberate artistic attempt to make people see the gospels from a new, different perspective from one they are used to. Or at least, that's my excuse. (Related to this is the fact that I also did not show Jesus being crucified as we commonly see it in crucifixes. His posture at the cross is a bit different.)

Finally I should note that all this isn't a proper finished work, but simply a hastily-drawn rough idea sketch. You could notice the erasures (there are quite a lot of them there - I'm a sloppy writer :p) and some corner-cutting in some panels. :blush: There's also the issue of the scanner: we don't have one in our house so I had to go to the nearby convenience store to scan these. To my disappointment, however, some of the words in some panels got cut off. (Well, you could always follow from your Bible - most of the dialogue, except for one or two lines, are from Mark anyway. Besides, my handwriting is so bad that you couldn't probably even read them.) So I apologize for the general ramshackle nature of these pictures.

Well, enough excuses.

**http://img716.imageshack.us/img716/6206/6sl.png

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Page 06**

NOTE: I haven't scanned the last two pages (containing the last verses of chapter 15 and 16:1-8) yet. I'll post them later.


#2

Just to add: I'm planning to finish on 16:8, which is where the undisputed part of Mark ends. I'm still thinking of possible ways to depict the longer and shorter endings.

Maybe I could show the finished copy of the gospel finally being read to an audience, the listeners then being unsatisfied with the abrupt ending, eventually leading to some guy to append his own conclusion to the gospel? All this with little to no dialogue.

Oh, and before anybody asks, I'm still not sure whether I will work backwards through the gospel and adapt all the chapters. As you can see, this was just a rough idea I put into paper on the spur of the moment. Perhaps I might go as far as the Last Supper in chapter 14 (again, working backwards from the trial before Pilate). :shrug: Or perhaps I might just choose to adapt select incidents.


#3

the links that you have provided have a very poor resolution


#4

[quote="april32010, post:3, topic:336166"]
the links that you have provided have a very poor resolution

[/quote]

Yes. I don't like very big pictures so I shrunk 'em. :D


#5

then why bother ? :shrug: :confused: :rolleyes:


#6

[quote="april32010, post:5, topic:336166"]
then why bother ? :shrug: :confused: :rolleyes:

[/quote]

Pictures are pictures, no matter their size - at least, that's my lame excuse. Remind me to post the rest very large, big as billboards. :D


#7

I'm definitely gonna get some flak for this one, but I actually had a hard time thinking about what to do with the Greek word stauros. :D

I'll be honest: I feel that the words 'cross' or 'crucify' or 'crucifixion' has become somewhat imbued with an overly-specific meaning amongst many people today. Come on, what do you guys think when you hear "crucifixion"? Jesus? Christianity? A Man nailed to two smoothed-out planks crossed together in a t shape with his arms spread-eagled and his feet placed one over the other, possibly with an INRI attached to the top and His private parts covered with a loincloth? (I'd spare you all the ramblings I usually do, but let's just say for now: when the ancients thought of 'crucifixion' they didn't automatically think, 'That's what happened to Jesus, right?' Instead, what comes to their mind is this very ghastly, shameful - apparently the shame factor was considered to be more difficult to get over to than all those physical injuries, since these were cultures which valued honor and shame greatly - form of death that is not the province of any 'decent' human being - which of course excludes low-lifes such as slaves or criminals.)

Just as I said, this attempt has a bit of an 'iconoclastic' feel to it, but for a reason. (Before anyone says anything, it's 'iconoclastic' yes, but God forbid anyone say it is 'blasphemous'. That's not my intention.) What I'm trying to do is, by keeping 'familiar' at a minimum I'm trying to throw people in a bit of an uncomfortable position. You know, give that 'encountering the unfamiliar for the first time'-sort of feel. In other words, we've all become so familiar with the Jesus story and subsequent imagery all these years (2000 of them) that any impact it might have had on its first hearers can be somewhat lost. My recommendation? When you read the gospels forget everything that you knew, or what you thought you knew. Try to approach them as if you're reading them for the first time in your life.

So back to the issue. I originally considered "cross" to be a too-familiar word that has acquired some overly-specific meaning nowadays so I thought of replacing this with something less familiar.

"Stake" for "cross" was ditched very quickly because I also find it to have been imbued with overly-specific connotations, particularly by the Jehovah's Witnesses. (As everybody knows, a vertical 'stake' is just one of the forms a Roman crux/stauros could take. Contra the original assertion of the JWs we do have quite a number of sources from antiquity which apparently imply that cruces could take on the form of a T or a t.) I did seriously consider "impale" for "crucify," but again, it carries too specific a meaning nowadays; besides, I don't want to alienate people too much.

I tried "gibbet," then "rood" (the old native English word for a pole or a cross, specifically Jesus' Cross: 'Holy*rood*', ' screen*rood*'). But seriously, there's just something not right with having people say "Hang him on a gibbet/rood" for "Crucify him;" it's kinda clunky. (Besides, I didn't want to invent words like "gibbetize" or "roodify." :D) So eventually, after doing a full 360 degrees, I'm back to "cross" and "crucify," which is probably better than what I originally thought of. At the end of the day, "Crucify him" just rolls off the tongue better. :p

P.S. My general approach in the strip is looking at Mark as Mark (for what it is), without any attempt at harmonizing it with the other three gospels. There is however one concession: Mark doesn't specify which language the inscription on the cross was written on, but I showed it being written in Latin, Greek and Hebrew (as in John, and in some textual versions, Luke).


#8

[quote="patrick457, post:6, topic:336166"]
Pictures are pictures, no matter their size - at least, that's my lame excuse. Remind me to post the rest very large, big as billboards. :D

[/quote]

Eating up my words, I am gonna post larger versions. Here they are, with all their warts.

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Page 06

Again, the former warnings apply: some of the words are cut off by the scanner.


#9

For some reason as of now I'm thinking of doing Jesus and the leper next (Mark 1:40-45) after I finish this one. I'm still in the dark about the endings of Mark.


#10

Any criticisms or suggestions?


#11

I like it. You are quite the Renaissance man!

I would second restricting the content to just Mark's Gospel if possible. Stay true to the source rather than succumbing to the temptation to present a "composite" Jesus to smooth over some of the roughness in Mark's depiction of Christ.

As for the ending. I would end at 16:8. I have never seen this as a denial of the Resurrection, but rather the logical ending of Mark's predominate theme; that Jesus was a mystery even to those who knew him best, and only faith can penetrate the veil of mystery to reveal who Jesus really is and what his death accomplished for us all.

Just my two cents. :shrug:


#12

[quote="Christ_is_Risen, post:11, topic:336166"]
I like it. You are quite the Renaissance man!

I would second restricting the content to just Mark's Gospel if possible. Stay true to the source rather than succumbing to the temptation to present a "composite" Jesus to smooth over some of the roughness in Mark's depiction of Christ.

As for the ending. I would end at 16:8. I have never seen this as a denial of the Resurrection, but rather the logical ending of Mark's predominate theme; that Jesus was a mystery even to those who knew him best, and only faith can penetrate the veil of mystery to reveal who Jesus really is and what his death accomplished for us all.

Just my two cents. :shrug:

[/quote]

I did plan to stop at 16:8 (incidentally I just finished it - took me two days 'cause I'm lazy :blush:). However it's kinda tempting to tackle the endings - you know, these people who are unsatisfied with the cliffhanger doing their thing to finish the story.

P.S. I'm in a dilemma about Peter's name. Should it be Kepha or Petros or heck, maybe even 'Rocky'? :p


#13

[quote="patrick457, post:12, topic:336166"]
I did plan to stop at 16:8 (incidentally I just finished it - took me two days 'cause I'm lazy :blush:). However it's kinda tempting to tackle the endings - you know, these people who are unsatisfied with the cliffhanger doing their thing to finish the story.

P.S. I'm in a dilemma about Peter's name. Should it be Kepha or Petros or heck, maybe even 'Rocky'? :p

[/quote]

I would suggest Kepha or Cephas since you went with Joshua as your translation of Yeshua. It seems you going for less Greek and Latin names and more Hebrew and Aramaic ones.


#14

[quote="Christ_is_Risen, post:13, topic:336166"]
I would suggest Kepha or Cephas since you went with Joshua as your translation of Yeshua. It seems you going for less Greek and Latin names and more Hebrew and Aramaic ones.

[/quote]

Just a preliminary list, but at this rate, we'll have the following names:

Jesus = Joshua
Mary = Miriam
Joses = Joses
Simon = Shimon
Peter = Kepha (Cephas?)
Andrew = Andreas
James = Jacob
John = Johanan
Philip = Philippos
Matthew = Mattai? (Matthew?)
Thomas = Toma? (Thomas?)
Thaddaeus = Taddai
Boanerges = Boanerges? (bnê ragshi?)
Judas = Judah
Levi = Levi
Jairus = Jair
Zebedee = Zebedaios
Alphaeus = Hilfai
Salome = Shelomit
John the Baptist = Johanan the Immerser
Bartimaeus = Timaios' Son
Barabbas = Abba's Son
Herod = Herodes (Herod?)
Pilate = Pilatus


#15

Good work. :yup:


#16

[quote="Christ_is_Risen, post:13, topic:336166"]
I would suggest Kepha or Cephas since you went with Joshua as your translation of Yeshua. It seems you going for less Greek and Latin names and more Hebrew and Aramaic ones.

[/quote]

Alright, I know I change my mind a lot but I finally decided to keep Petros. It's not like Iēsous or Maria/Mariam or Iōannēs or Iakōbos which are calques of Ye(ho)shua and Miryam and Y(eh)ohanan and Ya'aqob into Greek, but a straightforward translation of Kepha. So basically what I'll do is keep Greek names (like Philip - Philippos - or Andrew - Andreas) but give an anglicized version of the original forms for these Semitic ones.

Incidentally Mark uses the Greek name for Jerusalem (Hierosolyma, interpreted as 'holy Solyma') instead of the more literal form Ierousalēm (used in one instance by Matthew and more frequently in Luke-Acts - Luke only uses Hierosolyma three times, all in the context of Jesus being brought or "going up" to it), which I kept.


#17

Finally finished it. There's still a lot of erasures and hastily-drawn sloppy art, but at least the words aren't cut off anymore. (I learned. :p) You'll notice I used 'Kepha' for Peter's name here. I'll use 'Petros' from here onwards.

**http://img153.imageshack.us/img153/6626/ijqx.jpg

Page 07 (15:46-16:7)
Page 08 (16:8)**


#18

[quote="patrick457, post:16, topic:336166"]
Incidentally Mark uses the Greek name for Jerusalem (Hierosolyma, interpreted as 'holy Solyma') instead of the more literal form Ierousalēm (used in one instance by Matthew and more frequently in Luke-Acts - Luke only uses Hierosolyma three times, all in the context of Jesus being brought or "going up" to it), which I kept.

[/quote]

Make that four times:
(2:22) And when the time came for their purification according to the Law of Moses, they brought him up to Jerusalem (apēgagon auton eis Hierosolyma) to present him to the Lord.
(13:22) He went on his way through towns and villages, teaching and journeying toward Jerusalem (poioumenos eis Hierosolyma).
(19:28) And when he had said these things, he went on ahead, going up to Jerusalem (anabainōn eis Hierosolyma).
(23:7) And when he learned that he belonged to Herod's jurisdiction, he sent him over to Herod, who was himself in Jerusalem (en Hierosolymois) at that time.

Other times in his gospel Luke uses Ierousalēm. Matthew meanwhile only uses Ierousalēm in 23:37 ("O Jerusalem, Jerusalem, the city that kills the prophets and stones those who are sent to it!"), using Hierosolyma elsewhere; both Mark and John use Hierosolyma throughout.


#19

Are you familiar with this:
infoans.org/1.asp?sez=1&sotSez=13&doc=8458&lingua=2


#20

[quote="mccorm45, post:19, topic:336166"]
Are you familiar with this:
infoans.org/1.asp?sez=1&sotSez=13&doc=8458&lingua=2

[/quote]

No. I have however heard of an adaptation of Mark (and a more 'offensive' adaptation of Matthew) by a guy named Chester Brown. (Warning: nudity and some language in the first link.)


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