The story of the birth of Christ is a familiar one, especially as Christmas rolls around. It is a story that is told not only in Sunday schools around the world, but in films, books, television, plays, and sermons. On some level, the story has almost become trite, and it has been told so often.
The Greatest Story Ever Told
Almost, but not quite; especially not to writer and artist, Billy Tucci who has spent the better part of the last 10 years researching, writing and illustrating a faithful adaption of the story of the birth of Jesus, as related in the gospels of Matthew and Luke. To be sure, a story of this nature is unusual to find in a comicbook graphic novel, perhaps especially from someone like Tucci, who is best known for his creation Shi, a modern-day female samurai, which he self-published under his own Crusader imprint for over two years.
Comics are not just superheroes
Still in a four-color comicbook world dominated by spandex and leather-clad superheroes, it is unusual to find a comicbook dedicated to a historic religious figure such as Jesus Christ, and yet, Billy Tucci’s A Child is Born is exactly that. The project was painstakingly researched by Tucci with Nativity scholars to ensure the utmost accuracy in its retelling. Tucci then lovlingly rendered the story in highly-detailed, pristine art style that evokes a truly astonishing rendition of the greatest story ever told. The 32-page comicbook is colored by one of Tucci’s regular collaborators, Paul Mounts and features a cover illustration by Tucci and Mark Sparacio.
Billy Tucci’s Quest
According to Tucci this has been a project that he has spent the last decade working on completing. It was only recently, after his wife won her battle with cancer, that he set himself anew to completing the project. “Watching my wife’s winning battle against breast cancer made me realize how wonderful life, love and family truly are,” Tucci stated. Tucci painstakingly worked with Nativity scholars researching the material before rendering it in exceedingly detailed illustrations. Then his frequent collaborator, colorist Paul Mounts, worked his own digital magic on the art rendering a new level of realism to the story.
The Story of Mary & Joseph
By simply reading the story, one can tell that — for Tucci — the retelling of the story of how the Magi followed the Star of Bethlehem to find the Christ child and lay their gifts of gold, frankincense, and myrrh at his side in that dingy manger was something of a personal quest. It is clear that this is more than “just another” story for the Eisner Award-nominated storyteller. “I cannot think of any body of work more worthwhile to my family than to illustrate the story of Mary and Joseph,” Tucci explained.
Acquiring the book
A Child Is Born, is published by Apostle Arts, and is available through comic shops, bookstores and online; bulk sale discounts are also available for churches and organizations. Accompanying the illustrated story are a pair of text articles; one from Tucci that explains a bit about what went into this project, and his own burning desire to complete it, and a second from Rick Larson, one of Tucci’s partners in the project. For his part, Larson, author of the DVD The Star of Bethlehem, relates how he utilized Johannes Kepler’s Three Laws of Planetary Motion to demonstrate how the star actually existed.
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