When I first heard that novelist Anne Rice had agreed for her work to be adapted into a graphic novel, I must confess I groaned. More vampires? Really? Isn’t this trend done yet?

But I had not reckoned on publisher Sea Lion Books going against my expectations, for as it happens the book in question is Christ The Lord: The Road to Cana. I can remember the initial controversy following the book’s publication. What was this horror writer doing writing about Jesus Christ?

Anne Elizabeth

Writer Anne Elizabeth, who is adapting the novel for Sea Lion books.

However, like Nikos Kazantzakis before her and Philip Pullman after, Rice confounded critics by producing a deeply personal work articulating her feelings about Christianity and its legacy. It is also worth pointing out that her most famous book, Interview With The Vampire, contains numerous musings on damnation and the existence of God bound up in amongst all the melodrama. Perhaps it simply took the writer some years to come to the point where she was comfortable directly addressing these ideas?

Sea Lion Books are notable for their focus on adapting literarature to comic form, introducing new audiences to both classic and upcoming genre fiction. It is certainly an interesting choice to take on Christ The Lord, especially since religion is a subject rarely tackled in sequential form. Off-hand I can only think of Marvel’s biography of John Paul II and Mike Allred’s The Golden Plates.

Writer Anne Elizabeth has been given the task of converting Christ The Lord into sequential form and she recently gave an interview on her experience so far to The Examiner. The original press release from Sea Lion can be seen below -

Christ The Lord: Road to Cana

International Bestselling Author Anne Rice’s novel,

Christ the Lord: The Road to Cana, to become Graphic Novel.

International bestselling author Anne Rice’s critically acclaimed novel,
Christ the Lord: The Road to Cana, receives a graphic spin as newly
established publishing house, Sea Lion Books, acquires the worldwide rights
to this graphic novel publication. The novel will be adapted by the author
Anne Rice and comic creator Anne Elizabeth and will feature artwork by Siya
Oum. This graphic novel is scheduled for release in time for Easter 2012.

“Christ the Lord: the Road to Cana, I consider one of my personal
favorites,” said Rice.  “The writing of it took less time than the research
because I feel driven to recreate authenticity in the narrative.  The
characters must see what people saw in first century Palestine because I
want my readers to see the same.  Any artistic effort short of that fails
not only for me but also for the actual figures I endeavored to recreate in
my novel.  Today this work is being reinterpreted through the marvelous
medium of graphic novels.  The visual imagery will give my characters a new
dimension that cannot be captured in words alone.  Sea Lion Books will
translate The Road to Cana into a format that will do as I have done:
Recreate first century Palestine with the women and men who changed the
course of human history.  The characters you know will be there — Jesus,
Mary, Joseph — in the rich colors and beautiful forms that only artists can
draw.   This is going to be a thrilling adventure for my characters, for me,
and I think for you readers and viewers as well.”

The book is the second within a series dramatizing the life of Jesus Christ.
Based on the four Gospels, current New Testament research, and studies of
Jewish culture, Rice created and described the early stage in Jesus’ life
before his baptism in the Jordan and the miracle at Cana. Faced with a
winter of no rain, endless dust, and talk of trouble in Judea, Jesus must
confront his destiny.  The book’s power derives from the profound feeling
Rice brings to the writing and the way in which she summons up the presence
of Jesus Christ.

“Working on such a spiritually beautiful book is a remarkable experience!
Not only is it an opportunity to work with brilliant storyteller Anne Rice
and talented artist Siya Oum, but it is a chance to explore my own faith,”
said adapter Anne Elizabeth, whose graphic novel The Pendulum is also being
released by Sea Lion Books.

Derek Ruiz, Vice President and Publisher of Sea Lion Books, said, “It’s
an honor to be working with Anne Rice, one of my all time favorite authors.  We
at Sea Lion Books are excited to introduce the Christ the Lord series to the
Graphic Novel Market.  Anne Rice and the Christ the Lord series are great
additions  to the lineup we have been building at Sea Lion Books.  With each
new announcement  we continue to show that we want to bring quality stories
to the visual medium we love.”

The full-color Christ the Lord: The Road to Cana graphic novel edition,
ISBN: 978-0-9836131-4-5, will be available April 2012 and will sell for
$24.99. For more information, please visit http://sealionbooks.com/