Wednesday, September 19, 2012

From the Dust {4th Blog-iversary Giveaway!}

Another giveaway in celebration of my 4th Blog-iversary. ALL the giveaways will be open until Sept. 28th, so make sure you check them all out! 

Last month I mentioned how I attended the LDS Bookseller's Conference and how our booth was next  to some pretty amazing people. One of those amazing people was Michael Mercer who has created "From the Dust", a comic book series inspired by The Book of Mormon.

I will be the first to admit that when I saw Michael setting up his display at the conference I inwardly groaned. I was really skeptical about the idea of portraying Book of Mormon characters as cartoon animals, it seemed a bit sacrilegious to me, and I worried that it would focus on glamorizing the violence and conflict of The Book of Mormon. I feel like sometimes when the Book of Mormon story gets told in a pop culture kind of way it looses the spiritual aspect and focuses on how "cool" and "buff" the prophets were, instead of how they developed their souls as men of God. So I was really skeptical and honestly, I tried to avoid his booth for the first day of the conference (sorry, Michael!) because I didn't want to have to explain myself.

Then, because he is really such a nice person, I couldn't help myself and went over and saw his art work,  heard him share his story, and his vision... and I was hooked.

I think that he explains what he is all about the best. On his website he says:
From the Dust tells a story that has, as yet, never been told in a visual medium: the story of the Fall of the Israelite nation as recorded in the Hebrew Bible (aka, the Old Testament). It has never been told for good reason: it is among the world's greatest tragedies. Without the perspective of the Book of Mormon, its telling would be almost unbearably depressing. Nearly everyone dies and those that live are taken into captivity. But with the Book of Mormon account, this tragic tale of a nation's fall from grace transforms into an intriguing, hope-filled race to preserve a dying culture. It's a tale that ultimately ends in triumph, not tragedy.

From the Dust is not a missionary pamphlet. It is a story. It is a celebration of the power of the human spirit in the face of tremendous adversity...

...Our goal is to create a series of beautiful, entertaining, and educational comic books that families worldwide can enjoy and share with their friends. Our quality standards are the highest. Our scholarship is collegiate. Our storytelling is clean and powerful. This project entertains and educates people about the biggest story in the Hebrew Bible, the story that ultimately ended the book, so to speak. Read Michael's bio .
What Michael is still in the process of formulating the whole story (it is a big one) and is hoping to get the publicity,  support, and funds he needs to get this wonderful and art work and story out to families. He told me that he hopes that in addition to doing the comic books that he'd love for it to be a TV series or a movie one day.

Michael gave me a free "First Fan kit" at the convention and the moment my kids saw it they loved it. Asher especially loved the playing cards and he carried them around non-stop for a few days. I wish that I had gotten a picture of him with his cousins (5 and 3 year-old boys) bent over the cards re-telling the story of The Book of Mormon... with a few dragons thrown in. They spent a good hour playing with the cards and looking at the comic book. My cousin commented on how nice it was that  they were playing "Book of Mormon" rather than Transformers... which is what they usually play when they get together!

I think that my absolute favorite thing about this project is the beautiful way in which Michael has portrayed the women in the Book of Mormon. I LOVE his depiction of Sariah and the way he portrays her as a powerful mother and woman of God, she is a main character and a helpmeet in every way to Lehi. Michael takes the artistic liberty of adding in back stories to Lehi's family, like Nephi's first time hunting, Laman's first tantrum (illustrated below) and his interactions with his sisters. He has given me a few sneak peeks at his coming 'episodes" and I have really been impressed with his scriptural and historical knowledge.

This is a scene where Saraiah comforts Laman (as a kitten) after a tantrum.  

I also really love his art work and I think his portrayals of Nephi and his brother are fun (he is still working on Nephi's sisters and the wife and daughters of Ishmael, but I can't wait to see them!)

Can you figure out who is who?

What Michael is doing is truly unique and I am really excited to see where this project takes him. If you'd like to help support his project and keep up to date on his progress you can follow his blog.

Today Michael is giving away 3 First Fan Kits (which includes the comic book, bookmarks, "From the Dust" character playing cards, beautiful art prints, and a poster) to my readers!

If you want to enter to win do the following, the first one is mandatory and the others will earn you extra entries. Please leave me a comment letting me know which ones you did:
  1. Like "From the Dust" on Facebook (mandatory)
  2. Share this post on Facebook, Twitter or your own blog
  3. Visit the "From the Dust" website and leave me a comment telling me what you like or don't like about this concept and product (Michael is still in process of formulating the story and the characters and so constructive (but kind) feedback is helpful).

  4. And for an extra entry:

    Share one of your favorite posts from MY blog on Facebook, Twitter, Pinterest on your own blog.

    The giveaway will be open until September 28th at 12:00 PM. Good luck!


  1. I liked the page and shared this post on Facebook! It sounds like a fascinating idea.

  2. I liked their facebook page and shared this post on facebook. I visited their website and it is a very captivating idea. The only thing I am not sure about is the whole concept of the characters being animals and the creative/artistic license taken. My kids are very impressionable at this young age. I am not sure how I will explain to them so they can understand the difference between real history from the Book of Mormon and the make believe ideas from these stories.

  3. I liked him on FB, under the name Syca More. I am definitely intrigued with this concept, I too like how he portrays the characters using what we know about them and creating the animals from there. I would like to learn more but am deinitely interested.

  4. I liked on Facebook
    I shared on Facebook
    I also shared a fav. post of yours on FaceBook.

  5. Thanks Heather! I love the article and really appreciate it!

    @Jenni - Thank you for the wonderful comments! I wanted to briefly answer your concern to the best of my ability, as it has been a concern of my own as well. I have tested my products on children down to age 5 or so, and they all seem very quickly and easily capable of differentiating between "real Nephi" and "fantasy Sand Cat Nephi" (FYI...Sariah is a Sand Cat and Lehi is a Striped Hyena, both native to Israel...their children take after one or the other.) One of the reasons I went with animals is that in order to tell the story of the scriptures a few minor artistic licenses need to be taken, and as such, it was more effective and easy to communicate that my story is a "story" and not "scripture" when the characters are animals. If I had made them humans, it would have been more difficult to separate the fantasy from the facts, and the last thing I want is people running around telling stories about the Book of Mormon that simply aren't true. I decided to go as far from reality as possible for two reasons: one, it's fun! and kids love it, and two, it makes it as clear as possible that From the Dust is an interpretation...not meant as a replacement for the real thing.

    That said, I also wanted to emphasize that I *am* trying to make it as accurate as possible to scripture. The visuals and some minor details are imagined; the main plot points of the stories are not. For example, we know Nephi was a hunter, thus, we know at some point he had to have gone on his first hunt, most likely with his father or older brothers.

    I feel that by using our imaginations to imagine what it was like to be Nephi, Lehi, Jeremiah, or Sariah we come closer to them and closer to understanding the truth.

    If anyone else has any questions just post them here and I will answer them the best I can! I am working hard today and tomorrow to create new pieces of artwork about Sariah! I will publish them on FB and at Thanks for the interest!

    1. Hey there Micheal. I liked you on FB, too. Although I don't need a free give-away b/c I already have one and I will be doing a give away on my blog soon too. Keep us posted on how things go for you. I like your style.

    2. Hey Felice! Thanks! Things are going very well. I'm right in the thick of making the next comic and going digital with everything. Send me a link to your blog on FB! Thanks!

  6. I liked it and shared this post! I think it's a good idea as long as parents remember to remind their kids of the differences. The only advice I'd offer (which, according to that last post, is unneccesary) would be to be very certain it doesn't conflict with anything in scripture.

    1. Thanks Camilla! I will definitely do my best to keep anything from conflicting.

  7. I loved and shared this post. I really love it the kids are going to have so much fun(well really I will) reading this. I also think it will give some great opportunities to talk about the scriptures. Which is even better! Thank you love the art work also.

  8. I shared this post on twitter and liked their Facebook page. I'm intrigued by this concept and I'll definitely be interested to see the final result. I can see where concerns can arise from taking scripture characters and making them into animals, but that doesn't really bother me any more than trying to depict them Living Scriptures style. I know one of my friends wouldn't like it because she doesn't want fantastical representations of the scriptures mucking up her idea of what's going on in the scriptures. I on the other hand like other representations as it helps me think about the scriptures in another way and I get more out of them that way. Not that one way is right and the other is wrong, but just different ways of looking at things. I just always think it's a difficult line to try and represent the scripture stories in a way other than scriptural while staying true to the stories and not introducing any elements of false doctrine. Especially with little kids who will take things very literally and it will be a foundation of their understanding of the gospel. But, I think that things like this series of books, Living Scriptures videos, church pageants, scriptural fiction etc. are awesome ways to get kids into the scriptures. I'm excited to see these, they look like they're going to be very well done - the artwork alone looks amazing!

  9. liked him on FB
    mrsdresses at gmail dot com

  10. beautiful art and I am so happy to see him use his talents to further God's work and bless others.
    mrsdresses at gmail dot com

  11. As a mom of a reluctant reader son, I love to have interesting, positive, fun things exactly like this to encourage him to read!!

  12. this sounds so fun for my almost ten year old. thank you!

    ttmom 42 at yahoo dot com

  13. i liked them, i think this is such an amazing idea to encourage young children to learn more about BOM

  14. Replies
    1. Thanks for the likes everyone! Good look in the giveaway! God bless! And happy 4th Blogiversary Heather!