The Brick Bible: A New Spin on the Old Testament

Brendan Powell Smith. Skyhorse, $19.95 trade paper (256p) ISBN 978-1-61608-421-9
The subtitle for Smith’s curious and curiously powerful graphic novel, which recreates scenes from the Old Testament using Lego bricks and photographing them, is something of a misnomer. As Smith points out in his introduction, part of the reason he took on this project was because of his surprise over how few people have actually read the Bible. Although there is certainly humor in seeing this treatment (the circumcision scene in Genesis is painfully funny), in the main Smith plays it straight. In that sense, it really isn’t a “new spin” but an off-kilter way of retelling it. Picking up some of the world-weary humor that Larry Gonick perfected for his Cartoon History series, Smith relates one degrading spectacle after another. God is a vengeful and cruel being, forever disappointed in and savagely punishing his chosen people when not demanding that they invade neighboring cities and slaughter every last one of its inhabitants. Funny or not, there is a grindhouse flick’s worth of blood, corpses, enslavement, rapine, and decapitations, all of it cribbed straight from the good book itself. It’s an eye-opener. The Old Testament took 10 years to pose; hopefully it won’t take another decade for the New Testament. (Oct.)
Reviewed on: 09/12/2011
Release date: 10/01/2011
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