Amidst all the cooking, cleaning and errand-running of Thanksgiving week (not to mention butchering 19 turkeys!) I managed to sneak away to the Ogre for a few minutes last Wednesday. There were several good titles in my stack this week, The Unwritten and All-Star Western were both excellent, but it’s a book that I didn’t even know was being released that I want to write about this time: Billy Tucci’s A Child Is Born.
This is the Christmas Story, plain and simple. The text is lifted nearly word for word from the gospels of Matthew and Luke, and it really comes to life in every beautifully rendered panel. The art is breathtaking, full of details that kept my eyes studying every page. Tucci’s love of the subject was increasingly evident as the story progressed, and when I read his author’s note at the end of the book, I became aware of the level of research that he put into this project.
This is only my second exposure to Tucci’s work. He illustrated an issue of Jonah Hex, bringing a sense of beauty to that title which is so often full of the ugliest side of life. He is most famous for his creator-owned book Shi, though I must admit I’ve never read this title. After A Child Is Born, however, I think I might seek out the first trade.
As for the content of A Child Is Born, I think this is one of those books that is going to have a certain readership, but will be passed over by others. That’s true of every title, of course, but Tucci has strayed way out of the mainstream with this book. I was pleasantly surprised to see it on the shelves at Laughing Ogre, and I hope it does well both for the store and for Billy Tucci. I’d love to see his take on some of the other Bible stories. In the case of A Child Is Born, I believe that the story is as beautiful as the art, and I appreciate how lovingly Tucci has rendered his subject. Excellent job!