Colors: Paul Mounts
Letterer: Bill Tortolini
On November 23, Billy Tucci’s A Child is Born will arrive in comic book stores, but Billy had copies for sale at his table at this past weekend’s Wizard World Austin, and I was lucky enough to get one.
I’m a big fan of Billy Tucci (check out the Captain America he drew for me). He is an artist with a lot of heart. If you ever get to meet him, you’ll no doubt agree. He is very energetic and gregarious and greets every fan as if it is a thrill to meet the fan. That heart is also apparent in his work – especially in the last two big projects he has done. In 2008 he did a mini-series, called Sgt. Rock: The Lost Battalion, that used DC’s character Sgt. Rock to tell a real-life story about a group of soldiers trapped in the forest during World War II and the people that worked to rescue them. Billy did a huge amount of research to make that book as accurate as possible, down to the pockets he drew on the uniforms. As part of that research he met a retired Lieutenant Colonel Eliel Archilla, whom was one of the pilots that volunteered to fly supplies to the soldiers. When Billy visited Wizard World Texas in 2008 he brought Eliel Archilla with him and focused the panel about the book on LTC Archilla.
As a result of meeting LTC Archilla, Billy met Evan Archilla, Eliel’s grandson. Evan assumed (as I did) that The Lost Battalion was Billy’s magnum opus – his dream project. But Billy told him that actually his dream project was to use his gifts to tell THE Christmas story. Together with a Dr. Jason Peet, Billy and Evan formed Apostle Arts to produce and publish that book – the book that is now A Child is Born.
The book is absolutely gorgeous. Billy’s pencils are beautifully detailed yet gentle and colorist Paul Mounts gives the book a wonderful pastel palette. Apostle Arts has gone all out and printed the book on high quality glossy cardstock. The production quality is well worth the $5.99 cover price.
The book is of course framed by the Gospels of Matthew and Luke, but Tucci adds humanity to the characters through the dialogue and art so any reader will be able to experience empathy for all those involved. Joseph in particular gets little focus in the Gospels, but is one of the most affected by the events. Billy did a lot of research to give the book authenticity – from the hair styles of the Israelites to the way and olive tree grows.
A release date of November 23rd makes this a very timely book for the Christmas season. It would be a great gift for anyone, especially children, so that they can have an immersive experience with ‘the greatest story ever told’. Apostle Arts even has a program for bulk purchases for schools and churches.
The book is partnered with WorldVision, which is a great charity that gives donors the opportunity to help individual children in struggling areas all over the world.
If you don’t have a local comic book store, the book can be ordered on-line, here. The book is supposed to have an iPad edition, too. To learn more about the book or follow its progress, visit its Facebook page, here.