It’s been about a year and a few months since I decided to start a graphic novel revolving around the life of Saint John the Short. I’m going to begin blogging the creation process.
A question I want to answer for myself and for anyone who will read the story is “why”. Why Saint John the Short? Why a graphic novel? and why not draw a super awesome batman comic where he has his back against the wall and ends up having to fight his way through waves of sword-wielding knights and wounds up punching a horse? Right. it’s already been done.
It feels strange addressing this so far into the novel but I believe it’s important to answer and keep in mind through every step of the way.
Why Saint John the Short?
I certainly have an admiration for the fathers of the desert (the saints who started monasticism in Egypt around the 2nd 3rd and 4th centuries) and those who know me well know I’ve a special bond with St. Antony the great. I first heard of Saint John when an elder was speaking to me on obedience and mentioned the story with Saint John and the tree. The story captured my attention for several reasons (Which will be their own blog post), but it left me wanting to hear more about him. What’s particularly interesting about Saint John is his transition from a young monk to a church leader and a father to countless young monks. I then purchased and read the book titled “The workshop of Virtue” by Prof. Tim Vivian and Maged S. A. Mikhail (you can buy it here) While reading the book, I realized how relatable St. John’s life is and how much one can learn from it. I also found it easy to visualize his story, and that’s what sparked the idea of a graphic novel.
Why make it into a graphic novel?
Are you even still reading this? yes? well I’m delightfully surprised. I feel like our attention spans are slowly decreasing day by day and that words just don’t cut it anymore. A story of a monk like Saint John is incredibly beneficial to read, but it’s also sadly dry. At its essence it is just a series of short stories and occurrences that we know happened in Saint John’s life. A graphic novel format gives me the ability to illustrate these occurrences, reflect their benefit and also tie them together in one visual harmony. The graphic novel format is perfect as I not only get to use the art to get the lesson across, I also get to play with words- and together they create understandable exciting imagery.