by Frank Dabbs
Book readers of a certain age, who grew up in evangelical homes, will remember Sunday afternoons when devout parents restricted reading to Christian literature.
Staples of Sunday reading included missionary stories, C.S. Lewis’ Narnia tales, Bible-informed family and romance fiction – and John Bunyan’s, Pilgrim’s Progress.
First published in 1678, one of the first novels in European literature, and still in print today, it tells the story of Pilgrim’s journey from the City of Destruction to the Celestial City, the obstacles he faced and his encounters with believers and non-believers.
The Canadian Bible Society has just released a 21st-century version of a similar story in Fear Not, a comic book for children ages eight to 12, created and drawn by artist and author Ivan Anaya for the Bible Society in El Salvador. Its name in Spanish is Temas No.
Colin Cheung, marketing director of the Society, said the idea of translating Temas No into English and tweaking the art to suit North American society came about when Canadians were introduced to the comic at a conference of Bible Societies.
“This is a first-time venture for the Bible Society and meets the high literary and Bible-centred standards the society has set over the years,” says Cheung.
It demonstrates that it is possible to communicate the truth of scripture in comic book format at a time when illustrated comic books are becoming a feature of public and school libraries.
Fear Not is about a boy named Samuel who encounters Jesus and is sent to bring a message of hope to lost people in the Land of the Desolate. Samuel and five friends, also age eight to 12, Marcus, Sera, Thomas, Ana, and Lucas, face and conquer fears that are shared by pre-teenagers. Each child has different personalities and fears to face, just as the children in every Sunday Bible class and their parents have personal fears to face.
Samuel faces the same question that every Christian faces: When the Enemy comes to steal, kill and destroy, who will stand up to him?
As Samuel meets the challenge, he faces fear itself. He learns that when all hope is gone, an Eternal Light shines in the darkness. Samuel learns to take up the shield of faith and extinguish the flaming arrows of the Evil One.
He becomes a hero like brave Christians in the Old and New Testaments, church history and the present day who are emboldened to defend their faith in the face of fearful circumstances.
Chapters #1-6 are now available for $7.50 each at Canadian Bible Society stores and online at www.Biblescanada.com.