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Sylvain Lesage

The Bible and Comic strips, 1900-1980

Le Temps des médias n°17, Automne 2011, p. 33-44.


Until the mid-20th century, French Catholics considered there was nothing in common between the bible and comic strips or cartoons. Holy scriptures seemed miles removed from comics aimed amusing kids. From mid-century, things changed: Catholics and Protestants explored how the medium might renewhow to attract children to the fold. This article explores key dates and actors in the process, and the constraints under which those making the adaptations laboured. Previously, saints and missionaries had been the min subject matter. From the 1950s, the novel ways of teaching the catechism (Sunday school,etc.)coincided with an expansion in the market for religious books and similar publications; What is noteworthy is that, despite the overwhelming strength of the Catholic publishing sector, including illustrated books, it was Protestants who were the boldest in adapting the Bible to the comic strip medium, as the Tournesol magazine suggests.

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