Gniewek, Gabrielle and Sean Lam. San Rafael, California: ATITUQ. 2010. ISBN 978-0-9826538-1-4
I opened the graphic novel Judith: Captive to Conqueror with a hope. After reading Paul: Tarsus to Redemption, which was published by ATIQTUQ, the same publishing company as Judith, I was greatly disappointed. But when I heard that ATIQTUQ was going to create a graphic novel on Judith, one of my favorite Old Testament stories, I had hope that it would be better than its predecessor. I was not disappointed.
As soon as I started reading I was again impressed by the art and style of Sean Lam, who also drew Paul. The action sequences, the expressions, and the glares (the glare of Holofernes has got to be one of the iciest looks I have ever seen) were superbly drawn. I have even gone back just to stare at my favorite scenes.
The story was written by Gabrielle Gniewek, and I must say that it was very well done. The dialogue was very smooth and made the story progress seamlessly. Gniewek also did an excellent job adapting this story from the original book of Judith. There were a few things that needed a bit more explanation (for example, when High Priest Joakim mentions that the Israelites just came back from captivity, but doesn’t explain why they were in captivity and how they came back to Israel) but they are minor points to the story as a whole. I also would have liked to know what exactly Judith’s husband did that caused him to become dehydrated, as that is never fully explained either. However, the story does not suffer because of these under-explained situations, and keeps moving forward effortlessly.
Reading Judith actually made me want to read the Bible story. I was interested in seeing if there were similarities and whether or not the graphic novel was accurate. I believe this book would actually encourage children to read the Bible. When the story is good, reading the source material is the natural inclination for a fan of the work.
I would definitely recommend this book to anyone with an interest in graphic novels. I would also recommend it especially to the younger generation. Judith: Captive to Conqueror was very well done and I would read the sequel in a heart-beat. Another sign it was good: the cliff-hanger at the end almost made me groan because I wanted to know what happened next!
* Catholic News Agency columns are opinion and do not necessarily express the perspective of the agency.