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Author Gives Bible a Twist of Manga

The world's most-read book has been reproduced yet again, and this time in a style known as Japanese manga, closely associated with anime.

Ajinbayo "Siku" Akinsuku is author and illustrator of The Manga Bible. He says he reproduced the Bible using the popular animation style to keep the religious message relevant to younger generations.

"It's a way of making a relevant message contemporary ... It was time for us to update the biblical message," says Siku, who prefers to call book an "interpretation," rather than a "new version" of the Bible.

Siku is just one part of the duo behind the graphic narratives. The book is the result of a collaboration with his brother, Akin, a film and television script writer. Of their dynamic, Siku describes himself as "the concepts person."

Those concepts, illustrated in The Manga Bible, are just as reflective of Siku's personal convictions as they are of his academic training as a theologian. Speaking openly about his belief in Christianity, the artist says that even if he hadn't studied theology, he'd still have interest in creating the book.

"Being a theologian [just] helps me do the work better," Siku says.

But with all of his artistic accomplishments, the spirited talker still freshly recalls how his parents were less than thrilled when they learned of his passion for art.

"They viewed art as the profession of dropouts ... the last refuge for the lazy," Siku remembers.

At the urging of an art teacher, he decided to study his passion secretly as an adolescent.

Siku's father is now deceased, but his mother, he says, has grown proud of his work.

The artist says his next manga work will portray the life of Jesus Christ.

Written and produced for the Web by Lee Hill.

Copyright 2023 NPR. To see more, visit https://www.npr.org.