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This last weekend I got the next batch of stick figure thumbnails from the editor of Sunstone for our ongoing Book of Mormon comic series. He has been expanding dramatically the story of Zeniff and I have to say I'm really getting into it. There are definitely funny moments, but he's treating the original material with respect and adding some nuances admid the comedy that have got me thinking and pondering and cracking open my scriptures to reread the original story.

One of the biggest liberties he has taken with the story is creating a relationship between Zeniff...a spy, then colonizer of new lands and later king and defender of his city and Abinadi...a prophet of God. All the pictures artists have painted of Abinadi show him as older, white haired with a long beard. I've been drawing him a lot younger, shaved head, earing and a handlebar mustache. Part of it is the comedy...completely skewing past portrayals of him...but, curious as it sounds, it has also made him more real to me.

(For those of you not in the know, Abinadi shows up in the Book of Mormon narrative only briefly...he emerges to lay down some serious doctrine and calling to repentence upon Noah...Zeniff's son before meeting his untimely end.)

Introducing him earlier (and who's to say Zeniff *didn't* know Abinadi?) and seeing the role Abinadi plays in Zeniff's life...a wise counselor who gently reminds Zeniff to rely on the Lord as well as a kick butt fighter who will also head down to the battlefield to help defend the city ...none of which he actually DOES in the BoM narrative has given me cause to stop and reflect on what we DO know about Abinadi.

Heavenly Father doesn't just zap a generic prophet into the area and program them with a set of instructions on who to go preach to. He was no stranger to the city when he first appeared before King Noah. He knew the people...he knew the city. He very well could have known King Zeniff and it probably caused him no small amount of pain to go before Zeniff's SON and call him to task for his wicked and destructive living.

This sermon before Noah and his priests/counselors only manages to penetrate the heart of one person ... who went on to change the course of Nephite history...but I'm really getting ahead of myself.

This next section of the comic is a barn burner. Here's a sneak peek:

Bit of page 01 of Zeniff Part III

What do you think sirs?


( 4 comments — Leave a comment )
Sep. 10th, 2009 12:14 am (UTC)
Since I am so clueless about the stories you are modifying, much of this is whizzing by me.
But your art is always so much fun to look at, I am enjoying it anyway.
Good to see you posting again. You must be very busy.
Sep. 10th, 2009 10:17 pm (UTC)
I found your description of Abinidi shocking to my soul. He was a prophet of God not a squashbuckling pirate type. The Lamanites shaved their heads--and that was negatively perceived in the BOM.
Sep. 10th, 2009 10:45 pm (UTC)
We have no idea what Abinadi was like. He may very well have known King Zeniff and if he did, he probably did go out to defend the city. Prophets in the BoM were very clear about defending their lives and their liberty.

As for his hair...prophets have been bald too.

Sep. 11th, 2009 04:46 am (UTC)
Twinklefingers tries again:
[The thing that shocks me is the concept of Abiandi buckling squash. O_o]

The thing that shocks me is the concept of Abinadi buckling squash. O_o

( 4 comments — Leave a comment )

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