A number of manga versions of the Bible have been published in recent years. These manga vary in faithfulness to the source and in overall quality, but most are geared toward an adolescent readership.
The most well-known adaptation is The Manga Bible: From Genesis to Revelation (2007). The manga is drawn by Ajinbayo "Siku" Akinsiku, with scripting by Akin Akinsiku. Siku, born and based in England, has a drawing style that is sketchy-looking, and not closely in line with more traditional manga.
Though Siku's Manga Bible claims to be the first English-language manga version of the Bible, that isn't strictly true. Manga Messiah, the first part of an ongoing, five-part adaptation was published in 2006 (though originally in translation).
Scripted by Hidenori Kumai and illustrated by Kozumi Shinozawa, Manga Messiah is rendered in a more traditional manga style, but like the Siku manga, it has come under criticism for taking liberties with its source.
The Manga Bible (2007–ongoing), written by Young Shin Lee and illustrated by Jung Sun Hwang, both from Korea, takes a lighter tone. In addition to coming closest to the feel of classic manga, this series also has the most charm.
For example, one gag scene shows God standing over Adam on a operating table, with signs nearby saying "No Unauthorized Entry" and "Eve in Production." Meanwhile, Adam tries to tell God what Eve's measurements should be even as his rib is being removed.
The Bible has also been an inspiration for artists typically associated with underground comix in America.
Basil Wolverton (1909–1978) was a comics artist who, among other things, was known for his grotesque style in early issues of Mad magazine. As a member of the Worldwide Church of God, Wolverton was commissioned in the 1950s and '60s to create hundreds of illustrations of Bible passages.
In 2009, Fantagraphics Books published The Wolverton Bible, collecting all these drawings and presenting them alongside Biblical verses. The new edition comprises some of Wolverton's finest work, which recalls the illustrations of William Blake in its mysticism and iconic power.
Robert Crumb, one of underground comix's greatest figures, has also put his spin on Bible stories. Unlike other recent adaptations, Crumb's version of the Book of Genesis is impressive in its completeness and textual accuracy.
Crumb's vision is far less compromising than Bible comics whose aim is pedagogy. The Book of Genesis Illustrated by R. Crumb (2009) doesn't shy away from depicting the many acts of sex and violence in the Bible's first book, but it doesn't sensationalize them either.
Moreover, Robert Crumb's drawing style suits the subject matter admirably. His unique cross-hatching technique makes the settings look appropriately arid, and Crumb makes each patriarch look distinctive and authentically Semitic.
Clearly, the recent spate of comic-book adaptations of the Bible means that, as far as religious subjects go, the medium has finally progressed beyond the Classics Illustrated phase.
The manga interpretations of Siku and others, the devout illustrations of Basil Wolverton, or the meticulous adaptation of Robert Crumb show that there is room for all sorts of comics visions when dealing with stories from the Judeo-Christian tradition.