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Jason Thompson's House of 1000 Manga - Jesus


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penguintruth



Joined: 08 Dec 2004
Posts: 8081
Location: Penguinopolis
PostPosted: Wed Oct 13, 2010 11:21 pm Reply with quote
This is the real God Gundam.

I think I like the idea of the ambiguity described about the divinity of Jesus in this manga. But as I haven't read it, I don't know whether that's exculpate (no pun intended) well.
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vashfanatic



Joined: 16 Jun 2005
Posts: 3466
Location: Back stateside
PostPosted: Wed Oct 13, 2010 11:23 pm Reply with quote
Saint Young Men, or at least as much as I've read of it (two volumes) it utterly awesome. I say this both as a religious person and as a religious studies major. It manages to be utterly irreverent but (at least to my reading) never offensive, either to Jesus or the Buddha. And I think it's because of what you said here; it humanizes them, it makes them characters you like and whose misadventures in Japanese society you love to read. In the end, I'd rather be offended while still offered a fascinating new look at something than having someone avoid all controversy and be boring. If they'd wanted to depict Jesus as nothing but a fraud and use the story to examine human gullibility, fine; that has literary merit, even if it would be offensive to most Christians.

From reading your description, I agree that the guy did at least some good research; the Talmudic story of the centurion Pantera being Jesus' father, the politics of the area, etc. etc. But frankly, it sounds like he might have done a research overdose, and couldn't make up his mind which theories are facts and vice versa. Makes me appreciate Tezuka's re-imagining of the Buddha's life all the more...

Sorry, it's late, this is rambling. I may need to read this, even if it doesn't get your thumb's up, just because I am really interested in this sort of lit.
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ddwkc



Joined: 13 Oct 2010
Posts: 1
PostPosted: Wed Oct 13, 2010 11:25 pm Reply with quote
It is an interesting reading and take on Jesus' story. I recommend even with the flaws pointed out already in this article.
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Animerican14



Joined: 19 Aug 2006
Posts: 961
Location: Saint Louis, MO
PostPosted: Thu Oct 14, 2010 12:04 am Reply with quote
Le sigh. I had actually recently read the first few pages of it, and it seemed like it would be a largely-accurate, or at least an interesting read as far as the New Testament account is concerned. Plus, I was generally impressed by the art. I dunno...

On one hand, I think it would be awesome to have a heartfelt and interesting graphic novel portrayal of Christ-- not only written by a believer and talented writer, but drawn by a realism-oriented artist. Whatever would become "added in" could give more detail to the physical/cultural setting and emphasize qualities that may be hard to pick up on Christ's character upon non-contemplative reading.

Yet on the other, there are thousands upon thousands of readings that can be made of the Bible, and there are different points of emphasis to Christ, even among even Evangelical writers. Plus, as wonderful as it would be to reach a new audience with a graphic-novelization, "manga" (or, to a far greater, the super-artificial "manga style" employed by some American artists) isn't necessary to communicate Christ's message. The Bible certainly stands superbly on its own. And it seems to have been communicated well at least ONCE through pretty much every other media format out there, not to mention through the countless mission trips and out-reach ministries out there.

Still, I'm a great lover of graphic novels. Maybe there's already a superb graphic novelization out there on Christ and I'm missing out...

(Btw-- I probably won't mind reading that Jesus/Buddha manga for chuckles. Its first chapter already got a few out of me)
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Parsifal24





PostPosted: Thu Oct 14, 2010 12:08 am Reply with quote
It's interesting I'll give you that and it is ultimately just a comic. But still the whole idea of something that leaves doctrines as central to the christian faith as Christ's Divinity and Virgin Birth unanswered or in doubt. No matter how much artistic merit it has is something I wouldn't want to read . As goes for Last Temptation of Christ the novel had its problems not least of wich was "Jesus" in the novel becoming a sock puppet for Kazantazakis's personal philosophy.
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InnocentSorrow59



Joined: 12 Aug 2010
Posts: 156
Location: Los Angeles, CA
PostPosted: Thu Oct 14, 2010 12:13 am Reply with quote
I actually saw Manga Messiah once at the store.

I face/palmed so hard I think I got a concussion.

I just had to read this one, the picture of manga Jesus made me both laugh and go "Oh Lord, why Japan?"
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AkiraKaneda



Joined: 01 Jul 2002
Posts: 61
PostPosted: Thu Oct 14, 2010 6:26 am Reply with quote
Just a quick thought...not asking for a correction, but there is one seriously misguided statement in the column. Matthew, Mark, and Luke are all very close to each other in content, so much so that scholars believe they borrowed from one another significantly (most Luke and Matthew from Mark). There's no question in any serious scholars' mind that they are all about the same person. John's gospel includes parallel accounts of certain events found in the other three, but also includes lots of new material. Even then, the characters are all the same, the personalities are all the same, etc. In my years of biblical study (as a pastor), I've never seen any scholar seriously question whether the four gospels were about the same Jesus of Nazareth. Whether he said or did anything they state he did is another matter entirely, though!
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Fallen Wings



Joined: 27 Nov 2007
Posts: 160
Location: Australia
PostPosted: Thu Oct 14, 2010 6:52 am Reply with quote
Well I would like to consider myself Unitarian (Last year I was straight out Atheist) and since I don't believe Jesus was a super awesome zombie son-of-God dude this seems right up my alley. Though it is still weird to read stuff where people share my views :\
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BleuVII



Joined: 19 Sep 2006
Posts: 672
Location: Tokorozawa, Japan
PostPosted: Thu Oct 14, 2010 9:01 am Reply with quote
Yeah, I saw this book in a Book-Off (huge used book store chain in Japan) and picked it up. I tried to read it, but my Japanese wasn't up to snuff. So I lent it to my pastor (a closet manga fan), and he pretty much agreed with the writer of this column. It was wishy-washy, and though it could have been offensive, it didn't have the guts to actually go there. He did say that it was not accurate to the Biblical account though.

As for Manga Messiah... it's not actually a tract, you know? I am on the production team for it, and one of our biggest frustrations has been that people are determined to pass it out in mass quantities as a tract, which we never meant it to be! It was simply meant to be a graphic interpretation of the story of the Bible. Book one (Manga Messiah) told the story of Jesus; Book two (Manga Metamorphosis) told the story of Acts and the letters to the churches. Then we took a step and went all the way back to Genesis, switching artists (because the same problems pointed out in this article were felt by the staff too). Anyway, the last three books in the series (Manga Mutiny, Manga Melech, and Manga Messengers -- seriously, I petitioned so hard to get these renamed) tell an abridged version of the Old Testament. In my opinion, they are much better than the New Testament mangas. But yeah, the people who distribute our books have no idea how to handle manga. The reason it hasn't taken off in Japan is because it's not sold as manga; it's sold as BIBLE STUDY MATERIALS!!! Seriously.
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steev-sama



Joined: 29 Jun 2005
Posts: 41
Location: USA
PostPosted: Thu Oct 14, 2010 10:26 am Reply with quote
Next up, the Muhammad manga aka Muhammanga! Nothing should go wrong there.
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ptolemy18
Manga Reviewer/Creator/Taster


Joined: 07 May 2005
Posts: 357
Location: San Francisco
PostPosted: Thu Oct 14, 2010 10:29 am Reply with quote
AkiraKaneda wrote:
Just a quick thought...not asking for a correction, but there is one seriously misguided statement in the column. Matthew, Mark, and Luke are all very close to each other in content, so much so that scholars believe they borrowed from one another significantly (most Luke and Matthew from Mark). There's no question in any serious scholars' mind that they are all about the same person. John's gospel includes parallel accounts of certain events found in the other three, but also includes lots of new material. Even then, the characters are all the same, the personalities are all the same, etc. In my years of biblical study (as a pastor), I've never seen any scholar seriously question whether the four gospels were about the same Jesus of Nazareth. Whether he said or did anything they state he did is another matter entirely, though!


Admittedly, the only person I have ever heard suggest the "Synoptic Jesus is not the real Jesus" theory is the very weird comic artist Dave Sim, who also believes that Judaism, Christianity and Islam are all the same syncretic religion, and that parts of the Bible were written or inspired by a Demiurge-like Satanic figure. So, definitely not a mainstream view.
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ptolemy18
Manga Reviewer/Creator/Taster


Joined: 07 May 2005
Posts: 357
Location: San Francisco
PostPosted: Thu Oct 14, 2010 10:33 am Reply with quote
vashfanatic wrote:
From reading your description, I agree that the guy did at least some good research; the Talmudic story of the centurion Pantera being Jesus' father, the politics of the area, etc. etc. But frankly, it sounds like he might have done a research overdose, and couldn't make up his mind which theories are facts and vice versa.


Y'know, I think you probably hit the nail on the head. It's so easy to get into research overload...

Actually, based admittedly just on Yasuhiko's "Jesus" and "Joan" manga, I'd say that Yasuhiko has a hard time depicting people of faith. Both manga are based on a major Christian religious figure (Jesus certainly being a bigger deal than Joan of Arc, clearly -_- ), but both depict them from the outside and leave a lot of ambiguity about their motivations.
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ptolemy18
Manga Reviewer/Creator/Taster


Joined: 07 May 2005
Posts: 357
Location: San Francisco
PostPosted: Thu Oct 14, 2010 10:38 am Reply with quote
BleuVII wrote:
Yeah, I saw this book in a Book-Off (huge used book store chain in Japan) and picked it up. I tried to read it, but my Japanese wasn't up to snuff. So I lent it to my pastor (a closet manga fan), and he pretty much agreed with the writer of this column. It was wishy-washy, and though it could have been offensive, it didn't have the guts to actually go there. He did say that it was not accurate to the Biblical account though.

As for Manga Messiah... it's not actually a tract, you know? I am on the production team for it, and one of our biggest frustrations has been that people are determined to pass it out in mass quantities as a tract, which we never meant it to be! It was simply meant to be a graphic interpretation of the story of the Bible. Book one (Manga Messiah) told the story of Jesus; Book two (Manga Metamorphosis) told the story of Acts and the letters to the churches. Then we took a step and went all the way back to Genesis, switching artists (because the same problems pointed out in this article were felt by the staff too). Anyway, the last three books in the series (Manga Mutiny, Manga Melech, and Manga Messengers -- seriously, I petitioned so hard to get these renamed) tell an abridged version of the Old Testament. In my opinion, they are much better than the New Testament mangas. But yeah, the people who distribute our books have no idea how to handle manga. The reason it hasn't taken off in Japan is because it's not sold as manga; it's sold as BIBLE STUDY MATERIALS!!! Seriously.


It's a pleasure to have you in the discussion, and I'm sorry if you felt my description of "Manga Messiah" was misleading! I described it as a tract since it was produced for proselytizing purposes (unless I'm mistaken), although you're right that it works as a pure narrative and doesn't ever break out of the story of Jesus to call the reader to witness, or include scriptural digressions and explanations of the events. I haven't seen your new artist, although I'm looking forward to seeing their work.
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kitsune_otoko



Joined: 01 Nov 2007
Posts: 7
Location: California
PostPosted: Thu Oct 14, 2010 12:23 pm Reply with quote
You know what I love? The fact that, thus far, everyone's been so cool about this subject. Whenever Jesus gets the spotlight, a lot of people usually get really riled up and end up in a giant flame war (hope I don't jinx it). It's nice to not have the hate. Thanks for being so awesome, people I don't know from the internet.

I think Thompson's thorough examination of the manga is probably much more interesting than the manga itself. Razz

You've done your share of studying, haven't you, Mr. Thompson. Looks like you know your stuff.
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SonicRenegade84



Joined: 04 Apr 2010
Posts: 630
Location: Atlantis!
PostPosted: Thu Oct 14, 2010 12:47 pm Reply with quote
kitsune_otoko wrote:
You know what I love? The fact that, thus far, everyone's been so cool about this subject. Whenever Jesus gets the spotlight, a lot of people usually get really riled up and end up in a giant flame war (hope I don't jinx it). It's nice to not have the hate. Thanks for being so awesome, people I don't know from the internet.

I think Thompson's thorough examination of the manga is probably much more interesting than the manga itself. Razz

You've done your share of studying, haven't you, Mr. Thompson. Looks like you know your stuff.


For me, it's because 1) I haven't been offended before so why should I know? and 2) I've heard so many christian jokes it's not even funny.
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