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.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.
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 .
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.
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:
- Like "From the Dust" on Facebook (mandatory)
- Share this post on Facebook, Twitter or your own blog
- 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).
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!