Thieves (November 2007), Community Comics, Ben Avery (writer), Pauolo Libunao), B & W, (free download from

Barabbas was the name of 1962 Biblical epic movie starring Anthony Quinn and Ernest Borginine. The story followed the fate of a First century insurrectionist/murderer who intersected the life of Christ (Matthew 23:18-19) after His trial. The movie is powerful portrayal what might have happened to Barabbas after the frenzied mob demanded his release and the crucifixion of Jesus of Nazereth. Thieves takes a similar tack in telling the story of what might have happened before in the lives of the two thieves who were crucified with Christ (Matthew 23:32-42 ).

This is arguably the best script the profilic Christian comics writer Ben Avery has produced so far. It is full of drama, strong characterization, taut emotions, sympathetic and conflicting motivations and a unexpected twist ending. This is a story that can stand toe to toe with anything the secular comics media can present and top it. Avery crafts believable sub stories that present the “why” these thieves ended up being nailed to crosses beside Jesus. There is Zev, the hot headed strong man whose only thought apparently concerns his next victim. Then there is Arion who has fallen into a life of crime to provide for his wife and two young sons. And lastly is the weak Lemuel who does not make it to the cross. Avery does a superb job in weaving the lives of these despited individuals into a dynamic, fast paced and exciting tale showing how historical fiction can make truly compelling comics.

The artist Pauolo Libunao  turns in an excellent penciled drawings with varied layouts and cinematic pacing that fits Avery’s script perfectly. Emotive close ups, dramatic  pan shots, superbly timed action sequences, well researched backgrounds are some of the visual magic Libunao injects into this story. Even without inking and color this is a very impressive body of work.

With Thieves Ben Avery and Pauolo Libunao have raised the bar high—very high. This is what Christian comics can be when an excellent story concept, script, and art come together. Stories like Thieves show that Christian comics can be trendsetters not just followers. Highly recommended.


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