I must have been about eight years old when I first started creating comics. I remember drawing the adventures of a group of superheroes who would fight giant monsters and evil robots. I understand now why I was attracted to comics at such a young age. It’s the same reason that people of all ages and across many different cultures are drawn to comics—drawing, the heart of comic-making, is a universal language. Before humans could read or write, they were drawing on cave walls.
My approach to making comics has changed a bit since I was in third grade! My skills as an artist and a writer have improved, and I use more advanced tools and software. But the core of what I do is still the same. I tell stories with drawings.
This brings us to Saint John the Baptist: A Voice Crying Out in the Desert. Before I started working on this graphic novel—about two and a half years ago—I had a sense that many Christians, myself included, had an inadequate understanding of John the Baptist’s story. We remember that he baptized Jesus and was ultimately beheaded, but why exactly is he so important to the Christian tradition? What makes him a saint? How is his life relevant to the modern-day Christian?
Perhaps these questions are difficult to answer because the Bible does not tell us much about John the Baptist, and the moments of John’s life that do appear are fragmented. But I wondered: what if the story of John’s life were told as a single, cohesive narrative? Perhaps, through drawing, I can create an accessible retelling of John the Baptist’s story. I hoped that this graphic novel would paint a clearer picture of John’s life and mission—one that would bring greater understanding while also challenging the reader to reflect more deeply on this important Saint.
Yet drawing is more than just a tool for communication; it is art. Drawing breathes life into the subject. When you read Saint John the Baptist, you’ll see a colorful cast of characters with dynamic facial expressions and body language. You’ll take in vivid hues that set the tone for each scene. You’ll gaze upon breathtaking views of cities and landscapes. Indeed, I hope this graphic novel will remind the reader that the Bible is not merely a historical document cataloging events of the past; it is a living story that exists in the present. Scripture is full of action and emotion, twists and turns, wonder and mystery—truly, it is alive! Of course, the Bible does not need illustration to prove its value; however, if you have ever reflected on da Vinci’s The Last Supper or Michaelangelo’s The Creation of Adam, you likely understand that art can play a major role in one’s relationship with Scripture.
Not everyone believes that comic books have artistic or literary value. I would argue they have both. Comic books and graphic novels have the power to communicate new ideas and perspectives. They bring historical and fantastical subjects to life. And yes, they excite and entertain. So—can reading a comic book about a saint truly help someone to connect with that saint’s life? Call me biased, but I think it’s worth a shot!
by Ezekiel Saucedo, author and illustrator