My favorite story making the blog rounds today concerns a new release from Concordia Publishing House:
This is the story, from birth to death, of Martin Luther who headed a revolution that changed the world. From a small town in medieval Germany, the Reformation resulted in dramatic, sweeping change that still echoes today. Here is Luther’s story of adventure, courage, and faith told for the first time in graphic novel style. Scattered throughout the book are informational call-outs of key supporters and enemies of Luther including Frederick the Wise, Katherine von Bora, Charles IV [sic], and many others.
I think they had me at “Luther’s story… told for the first time in graphic novel style,” but Concordia upped the ante with the cover art. I can but quote Joe Carter’s take on it:
When I saw the cover I got excited, thinking it might be a radical re-imagining of the reformer’s story (Thor as rogue monk?). I mean, look at it: squinty-eyes, clenched fist, tough guy looking over his shoulder. It just screams someone’s gonna get hammered. Unfortunately, it looks like it’s a straight-forward biography…
Three additional thoughts occur to me:
1. “What has been will be again, / what has been done will be done again; / there is nothing new under the sun” (Eccl 1:9)
Here’s the cover of Frederick Nohl’s 1962 biography of Luther, intended for middle school students and still in print. I saw this a few years ago in a used theological bookstore (ironically, a Catholic one) and immediately got excited, thinking it might be a radical re-imagining of Luther’s story (as the late medieval warrior on whose life inspired A Knight’s Tale). Unfortunately, it turned out to be a straight-forward work of Lutheran hagiography.
Let me emphasize: I love Lutherans. Literally. I married one. And regularly consult this book from Augsburg Fortress when in need of guidance. And gave a copy of it to my father-in-law—an ELCA pastor— for Christmas.
2. What if Stringer Bell from The Wire played Luther in a new movie?
Seems like a stretch, right? Well:
(a) It couldn’t be any worse than what happened when William Shakespeare did the same thing.
(b) See image below:
And 3. I am the last person on Earth who should mock anyone trying to get a new generation excited about Reformation history.