I’m very excited about my first graphic novel, called Eternity, which is based on Christ’s story of the rich man and Lazarus found in Luke 16. If you’re not familiar with the term, a graphic novel is an extended comic book form (128 pages, over 600 panels of full-color art).The book has just been released and is now available from our ministry in print and as an ebook.
While it is fiction, I have labored to make the book Christ-centered, Bible-saturated and theologically sound. The liberties I took largely involved expanding a 13 verse parable of Jesus by interjecting additional characters and a larger storyline of the gospel of grace, drawn from the whole counsel of God.
In this video, I share more about the book:
One day two years ago I spent an hour in the huge graphic novel section of a Portland Barnes and Noble. I watched the young people come and read, sitting on the floor, captivated by the art, dialogue and narrative captions. As I watched them, God touched my heart and I prayed for them as they came and went.
I realized that very few if any of these young people ever attend church (hey, I live in Oregon), or would be open to reading the books I write, or 98% of other Christian books. I longed to reach into their world and introduce them to the true gospel of Jesus in a form they would actually read.
God laid it on my heart then and there to write a graphic novel that tells a story highlighting Christ’s person and redemptive work, a story full of grace and truth, one that speaks of the eternal destinations of Heaven and Hell. The graphics took two artists (who’ve worked with Marvel Comics) fifteen months to complete. I think they did an amazing job.
I was raised in an unbelieving home. I grew up reading comic books. I read them passionately and “graduated” to science fiction. Then, when I first heard the gospel as a teenager, I read every Christian book I could find, including the Bible. I came to faith in Christ through reading God’s Word, and my love for reading transferred over to Lewis, Tozer, Schaeffer, Packer, Spurgeon and countless others who I read voraciously.
Looking back, I’m grateful for the comics that developed my thirst for reading, because they were a “gateway” to reading Scripture and the great books of substance that have been a vital part of my life ever since. This much I know—had someone given me this graphic novel 45 years ago, when I was a young teen, I would have read it cover to cover, and would have heard the gospel for the first time in my life.
I'm convinced that through Eternity and its compelling art, God will not only allow me to reach a new audience, but also—and this is my prayer—to draw others who have read my books before into this new venue of graphic novels. If you like my other fiction, I think you’ll like this as much, maybe more. And for sure, you’ll know a young person to share it with! Terri Blackstock, New York Times Best-Selling Author of Intervention and Predator, wrote after reading the book, “This is the first graphic novel I've ever read, and I found myself captivated at the fabulous art and the depth of story. Suitable for children and adults alike, I think this is going to be a big hit!”
So if you feel, “I’m too old/studious/theological to read a big comic book,” I’d encourage you simply to read a few pages and SEE. If you give it a try, I think you may be surprised at how engaging a graphic novel with beautiful art and biblical themes can be. It may have more depth and substance and be more edifying than you imagine.
I’ll end with a note from author Max Lucado that contained these encouraging words: “Randy Alcorn’s graphic novel Eternity will touch hearts, grant hope and change lives. As a master storyteller, Randy takes us through the story of The Rich Man and Lazarus. I have read this biblical account many times, but I will never read it the same way again. Randy has brought it to life. I pray that God uses Randy’s work to bring an eternal perspective to every person who reads this work.”