Rumble! Zap! Pow! by Diane Startz and Luke Dabb is a Bible…or a comic book…or really both. Designed to make Bible stories come alive for children, Diane Stortz and illustrator Luke Daab give the most popular stories the comic book treatment—something sure to hit home for many families.
As someone who has written comics for Christian publications over the years, I can truly appreciate the effort put into a piece like this. It’s not always easy to tell a story in 8-10 frames, especially if you want to use as few words as possible. In addition to telling each story, the author includes a “Mighty Thought” (the basic take-away value of the story), “Power Words” (a scripture that supports the story), and an activity (a hands-on extra which is nice, but really not needed).
Overall, Startz did a decent job of making the comics come to life through her words. Some stories are better than others, but I especially appreciate her ability to use sound effects (thus the title). Sometimes she commits the biggest faux pax of comic writing—that is, explaining what you’re watching. For instance, in the story of Shadrach, Meshach and Abednego, nearly every frame starts off with “the king roared…” “the king yelled…” “the king told them…” and then you see the king performing those actions. While this probably looked great in script format, once the artist illustrated the actions, these captions could easily be removed which would help increase the pace of the story.
For his part, Dabb’s illustrations are colorful and unique. You almost always know exactly what’s going on. If I had a nitpick it would be that the dialog balloons look like they were added post-production. They’re darker and more vibrant than any of Dabb’s illustrations, making it appear as though someone pasted them on top of his drawings…which somewhat diminishes the quality work he’s done.
All in all, kids should really enjoy Rumble! Zap! Pow!—a fresh approach to Bible storytelling. Startz and Dabb have provided parents with a great tool.
Disclosure: I received this book free from the publisher through the Tyndale Blog Network book review program. I was not required to write a positive review. The opinions I have expressed are my own. I am disclosing this in accordance with the Federal Trade Commission’s 16 CFR, Part 255: “Guides Concerning the Use of Endorsements and Testimonials in Advertising.”