Tuesday, February 28, 2012

The Sons of Lehi

The Sons of Lehi hunt in the Judean Highlands.

In From the Dust Issue #2, we meet the Sons of Lehi: Laman, Lemuel, Sam, and Nephi. The Sons of Lehi are well known for their myriad talents and abilities, not the least of which is hunting. Lehi has taught them well, and he expects excellence from them in every field. They do not disappoint. Although still teenagers, Laman (19-years-old) and Lemuel (18-years-old) can outperform, outlast, and outwit (well, maybe not Lemuel…) most anyone at anything. They are physically impressive…and intimidating. Laman and Lemuel are rarely separated, but you won't see Sam (15-years-old) tagging along with them…He's just not quite cool enough to hang out with his older brothers.

One exception to this is hunting, where Lehi has mandated his sons learn to work together as a team. Hunting season is Sam's time to truly prove himself….useless. It's true, unfortunately. Sam isn't very good at hunting, or much of anything. He struggles to find his place in a family full of very talented people. Showing kindness to his younger siblings, and people in general, is one of Sam's many under-valued virtues. In fact, Sam convinces his father to let his younger brother Nephi (12-years-old) come on the hunt this year. His reasons are two-fold; first, he feels Nephi would love the experience and be good at it, and second, he doesn't want to be the only one to screw things up this time around. But Sam doesn't realize that little Nephi has an incredible destiny all his own...

In Issue #2, we witness the Sons of Lehi working together as a hunting pack for the first time. Come back next Tuesday to meet the leaders of this pack: Laman and Lemuel!

Tuesday, February 21, 2012

Laman - The Natural Man

Sariah comforts Laman after his first temper-tantrum.

Laman is the birthright son--he leads the family when his father is away, which is often. He teaches his younger siblings to walk in the paths of holiness. He is strong physically and mentally. Everyone looks up to Laman. He has it all. Strength, good-looks, riches, intelligence, creativity. At the start of From the Dust, Laman is doing everything right, at least on the outside. But no one can hide the pride in his heart forever.

In a flashback in Season 3 of From the Dust we visit Laman in his childhood years. Season 3 covers the family's desert journey through Arabia. During this journey, Laman's control on his passion and emotion truly begin to falter. For years he has allowed his heart to entertain destructive emotions like jealousy, hatred, and anger. He feels justified in this. After all, when you are wronged, is it not the just thing to feel angry about it?

But harboring these evil emotions will eventually make you evil and Laman's "true colors" are finally revealed to his father. Lehi realizes his eldest son is not just struggling to be good, like many of us do...he's actively choosing to be evil, a fact that had never yet crossed Lehi's mind.

Laman's story is a tragic one, and it can rightly be said that From the Dust is the story of Laman's fall from grace. We watch him bit by bit, step by step, choose the wrong path. This tragic fall is the heart of From the Dust.

So if you thought Laman was going to be just another shallow, uninteresting, unrealistic stereotype of evil--think again. Laman is perhaps my favorite character in From the Dust and by far the most interesting.

You will get to see first-hand how someone can go from this innocent state as a child and become a powerful instrument in the hands of evil.

Fortunately, you will also get to see many wonderful miracles of goodness as well!

Saturday, February 18, 2012

The Weeping Prophet - Jeremiah 13:17

This image is an actual page from the comic book. 2! 2 pages! Mwa-ah-ah! Only 2000 more to go.

 Jeremiah, the Prophet

An unconventional but highly charismatic prophet that never gives up.


Quirky, small, and funny-looking, Jeremiah has never been popular with the ruling class, despite the fact that he has been an advisor to multiple kings. While still a tadpole, Yahweh called him as a prophet. The weight of his assignment--to cry repentance during Jerusalem’s darkest hour--has forced him to cling to all things lively and fun just to guard from eternal depression. He is not only a prophet, but the prophet, and the remnant of loyal followers of Yahweh follow his divinely inspired lead. His patience and long-suffering are truly inspiring.

Jeremiah's fatherHilkiah the Priest, discovered lost scripture in the Holy Temple while Jeremiah was still a boy. Known now as the Book of Deuteronomy, these scriptures contained the prophecies concerning the destruction of Jerusalem and the horrors that should befall the Holy City should the Covenant People fall from grace. Someone had hidden these records from the people. But why?

Now, knowing the destruction of his people (and the temple) is eminent, Jeremiah and the last few loyal followers of Yahweh dedicate themselves to collecting and preserving what is left of their sacred records, but it is not easy. Baruch, Jeremiah's scribe and loyal friend, helps Jeremiah record his own words, and others of Jeremiah's followers help him find and collect truly inspired writings. Their dream is to one day combine these sacred histories into a single volume and preserve them for future generations. They call these writings the "Holy Books."

But time is running out. Will they accomplish their task before the foretold destruction? Will anyone even survive it to read them?

Jeremiah is a European Green Toad, which is endemic to Israel. He is often referred to as a frog...a bullfrog.

Jeremiah 1:5-10
     Before I formed thee in the belly I knew thee; and before thou camest forth out of the womb I sanctified thee, and I ordained thee a prophet unto the nations. Then said I, Ah, Lord God! behold, I cannot speak: for I am a child. But the Lord said unto me, Say not, I am a child: for thou shalt go to all that I shall send thee, and whatsoever I command thee thou shalt speak. Be not afraid of their faces: for I am with thee to deliver thee, saith the Lord. Then the Lord put forth his hand, and touched my mouth. And the Lord said unto me, Behold, I have put my words in thy mouth. See, I have this day set thee over the nations and over the kingdoms, to root out, and to pull down, and to destroy, and to throw down, to build, and to plant.

Jeremiah 13:17

But if ye will not hear it, my soul shall weep in secret places for your pride; and mine eye shall weep sore, and run down with tears, because the Lord’s flock is carried away captive.

Tuesday, February 14, 2012


Dear Fans,
  1. I'm sorry--I don't have Jeremiah finished yet.
  2. I have a really good excuse!
  3. My day job is awesome and has had me working *very* hard helping to pass an important "government spending bill" through our state congress (it's meeting resistance from people that are irresponsible with state funds).
  4. Jeremiah's post would have been really sad anyway, which is not very heartening on Valentine's Day. A lot of scholars think he didn't even have a sweetheart (wife) but I don't think that's the case.
  5. I will make up for it this weekend and the posts will continue every Tuesday!!!! PROMISE!
  6. Expect Jeremiah on Saturday--and either Laman or a Sariah pic next Tuesday!
Click this link for more info about SJR22 ("The Government Spending Bill")

On a side note, it has become apparent to me that I will need to learn Hebrew to really take this comic where I want it to go.

See you this weekend!

Thursday, February 9, 2012

"I will make Jerusalem Heaps and a Den of Dragons" -- Jeremiah 9:11

Nebuchadrezzar, Lord of the Chaldeans (pronounced kal-DEE-ens)

The austere Lord of the Chaldeans, the King of Babylon.

Nebuchadrezzar is fierce and ruthless in the establishment of his new empire. He drives conquered peoples into submission by banishing the ruling class to be assimilated permanently into Babylonian culture. He does not tolerate disobedience. He is the most powerful man in the world, and that power has corrupted him entirely. He is determined to rule the world--and he will, for a short time. Even the 2000-year-old Egyptian dynasties will fall to him.

In addition, he is destined to destroy Jerusalem and its people into dust. He will take the treasures of his military campaigns (including treasures from the Holy Temple) and build the Hanging Gardens--one of the great wonders of the world.

Despite his merciless politics, Lord Drezzar is a highly cultured, highly intelligent individual that respects other like-minded persons. He treats the prophet Jeremiah with dignity and civility.

Nebuchadrezzar is also known as Nebuchadnezzar.

Lord Drezzar (as he is sometimes called in From the Dust) is inspired by Desert Monitors and other reptiles of the Fertile Crescent region. His armies are famous for their ruthlessness, might, and "fierce countenance." (see Deut 28:49-51)

Jeremiah 51:34
     Nebuchadrezzar the king of Babylon hath devoured me, he hath crushed me, he hath made me an empty vessel, he hath swallowed me up like a dragon, he hath filled his belly with my delicates, he hath cast me out.

Jeremiah 39:11-12
     Now Nebuchadrezzar king of Babylon gave charge concerning Jeremiah to Nebuzar-adan the captain of the guard, saying, take him, and look well to him, and do him no harm; but do unto him even as he shall say unto thee.

I will have "Jeremiah, the Weeping Prophet," done next Tuesday! See you then!

Monday, February 6, 2012

Happy Birthday From the Dust!!!


We met our goal of 100 fans! You can still get free comics through midnight tonight (Monday, Feb 6, 2012) by liking us on Facebook. Details (but no catches) here.

On this day in history...

As an artist, inspiration comes in many ways, sometimes because you desire the inspiration and work for it, and sometimes because you're bored out of your mind in a Bible study class. I first started drawing characters as animals in my Institute classes last January.

Notice the cat with the umbrella is saying "I want to make the Book of Mormon cool and hip and fun." So it was actually at the bible study class that I had the idea to turn the characters into animals.

Then, a year ago today I drew the following images: 

It was the first time investment I made toward the idea of turning the Book of Mormon into a comic book. Had it been done before? I didn't know, (in fact, it has, in 2004 by Michael Allred) but I had about 20 pages of images that came to me that night--and that's quite a bit for one evening. My sketches spanned the course of the Bible and when I was done I sat back and thought "I know what I want to do for the rest of my life."

It was simple, sudden, and sublime.

It might sound cheesy, but sometimes the truth is just that--cheesy! It doesn't mean it's not true, though!

I am *very* glad I didn't go with this original name. It was a play on words with the song "Book of Mormon Stories." At this point, the idea of making a fantasy had not come to me. That slowly evolved over the course of months.

It didn't take long for me to realize that I had to include a substantial amount of Biblical material, not just Book of Mormon material. These were a couple ideas on Moses on Pharaoh. I actually like Pharaoh quite a bit still as a cobra, so if I ever do the Exodus story, keep an eye out for it.

This is Nephi as an adult in the promised land. He is writing the account of his spiritual history down on the Small Plates, which were then handed down from generation to generation in his family line.

On February 6, 2011, I drew the above sketches which became the foundation of From the Dust. Only a sampling were shown here.

I will forever be grateful to have even had the opportunity to sketch these images, much less write and illustrate the story as a comic book the last year.

May we all stay true to the good ideas we receive, and thereby be true to ourselves and to God.


Tuesday Update Moved to Thursday!

Our Tuesday post is being move to Thursday this week since we had this special birthday post, so check back Thursday @ 6am to meet Jeremiah, the "Weeping Prophet," and Nebuchadrezzar, Lord of the Chaldeans and King of Babylon!