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Friday, October 27, 2006

Sadhu Sundar Singh, published by Calvary Comics, 45 pages, $6.95


There just aren't enough bio-graphical comic books. As enjoyable as the medium of sequential art is, you would think that it would be far more utilized than it is to tell real stories about real people. After all, who hasn't heard the old saying, "Truth is sometimes stranger than fiction"? It is also sometimes more entertaining. Alec Stevens proves this in his (mini) graphic novel entitled Sadhu Sundar Singh.

Sundar Singh was a Christian convert from India who preached and evangelized throughout his home country and the surrounding area in the early part of the 20th Century. While I can't vouch for the complete historical accuracy of Stevens' biography of Sundar Singh, due solely to my unfamiliarity with the material, I can state with conviction that the author has presented a story that engages the reader - Sadhu Sundar Singh is a page-turner. It draws the reader in, simply by virtue of the various trials Singh faces in this retelling. And, whether a person is a Hindu, Christian or what have you, they ought to be able to enjoy this account of a fairly important historical figure, who, somehow, remains virtually unknown to many.

Stevens' art, while not the most refined in style, proves to be up to the task of successfully conveying a broad range of emotions, as well as tackling the various settings and backgrounds against which Sundar Singh's real-life drama was set. In my opinion, it marks Alec Stevens as a very competent storyteller.

Perhaps the best way to entice readers is with part of a 1922 quote from the New York Times, printed on the back cover: "They who wish to know what it would have cost (Mahatma) Gandhi to adopt a faith so despised in India as is Christianity should read the story of Sadhu Sundar Singh."

Sadhu Sundar Singh is recommended for all ages, and can be found at comics shops, online auctions or at www.calvarycomics.com.

Review by Mark Allen