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[Comic] Book of Esther

J.T. Waldman's new graphic novel version of the Book of Esther has just been released. The book is bilingual (each page features the text in beautiful Hebrew script, and in classic-comic-font English) and the illustrations look gorgeous. No simple story grid here -- almost every page features figures bursting out of the frame, the story erupting through the constraints that try to hold it still. Which, now that I think about it, is entirely appropriate for the Purim narrative.

You can scroll through chapter 1 and chapter 2 online. The website also includes a handy guide to the story's subplots, an introduction to midrash for those who are unfamiliar with the Jewish tradition of exegetical storytelling, and a shout-out to the art sources which inspired the illustrations, mostly Persian works from the 600-400 B.C.E period. And for the text fiends among you, there's a guide to the citations that are footnoted in the panels.

Graphic novels. Jewish texts. This is like chocolate and peanut butter, y'all.

Looks like some folks think the Jewish graphic novel is experiencing something of a renaissance. Some of my favorite graphic novels are Judaic in nature (though, naturally, others aren't) but this new Book of Esther is the only one I know which translates Torah into graphic novel form. (If the intersection of religion and comics interests you, you might groove on this Islamicate post, Muslims and the Book, about Islamic graphic novels. Or, for that matter, my posts about Joe Sacco's Palestine and Marjane Satrapi's Persepolis; neither is about religion per se, but both have some religious significance, and they're both terrific reads.)

For now, a hat tip to the folks at Jewschool for alerting me to this tasty treat.

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