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Notable Christian Comics Series
The David C Cook comics
including "PIX," "Tullus," "Picture Bible," and "Action Bible" information

"PIX" series [USA] - First published in 1949 as a comic strip/book-style addition to the David C Cook Sunday School curriculum. Still in print today.

"Tullus" series [USA] - Began in 1943 as a comic strip appearing in three David C Cook's Sunday School papers that were subsequently merged into Sunday PIX. Compiled into 6 paperback comic book editions in 1974, 1975 and 1993.

"The Picture Bible" [USA] - First published in the 1950s as 13 stories per quarter in Sunday PIX and then in a book in the late 1970s by David C Cook. Still in print today as a book with 750 pages of color comics.

"The Action Bible" [USA] - 752 page English-language hardcover graphic novel first released in September 2010 by David C Cook.

---"PIX" series (Also called "Bible-in-Life PIX" and "Sunday PIX")

PIX is a comic strip/book-style addition to the Cook Sunday School curriculum, featuring Biblical stories, stories of missionaries, and "heroes of the Christian faith." It is produced by David C Cook Publishing, originally based in Elgin, Illinois USA, and now headquartered in Colorado Springs, Colorado USA.

Sunday PIX began on May 1, 1949 and has been in constant publication ever since. The late Iva Hoth, who was the series editor, said that producing this material in comic strip form came about when Cook realized that their Sunday School papers intended for the children were no longer interesting to the readers.

A study was carried out to find a more appealing format, and the answer was not particularly surprising. In the 1940s, comic books and strips were enormously successful with the US public.

The resulting PIX series itself was very successful for more than 20 years. Its popularity in more recent years has dropped considerably, and it is no longer a comics-driven vehicle.

Here is a list of known editions, with sample covers for some years:

Volume 1, # 1- 35 (1949)

Volume 2, # 1-52 (1950)

Volume 3, # 1-52 (1951)

Volume 4, # 1-52 (1952)

Volume 5, # 1-52 (1953)

Volume 6, # 1-52 (1954)

Volume 7, # 1-52 (1955)

Volume 8, # 1-53 (1956)

Volume 9, # 1-52 (1957)

Volume 10, # 1-52 (1958)

Volume 11, # 1-52 (1959)

Volume 12, # 1-52 (1960)

Volume 13, # 1-53 (1961)

Volume 14, # 1-52 (1962)

Volume 15, # 1-52 (1963)

Volume 16, # 1-52 (1964)

Volume 17, # 1-52 (1965)

Volume 18 , # 1-52 (1966)

Volume 19, # 1-53 (1967)

The title changed to Bible-in-Life Pix, apparently sometime in 1967 or 1968.

Volume 20, # 1- 52 ? (1968)

Volume 21, # 1- 52 ? (1969)

Volume 22, # 1- 52 ? (1970)

Volume 23, #1-52 ? (1971)

Volume 24, # 1- ? (1972)

Volume 25, # 1- ? (1973)

Volume 26, # 1- ? (1974)

Volume 27, # 1- ? (1975)

Volume 28, # 1- ? (1976)

Volume 29, # 1- ? (1977)

Volume 30, # 1- ? (1978)

Volume 31, # 1- ? (1979)

Volume 32, # 1- ? (1980)

Volume 33, # 1- ? (1981)

Volume 34, # 1- ? (1982)

Volume 35, # 1- ? (Jan - Nov 1983?)

Return to Main "Notable Christian Comics" Page

The volumes seemed to change at some point in the mid-'70s to mid-'80s, starting in December instead of January, which was perhaps the beginning of their quarter (?). The December 4, 1983 issue was labelled Volume 36, #1.

Also, at some point, the weekly issues began to be issued in quarterly batches of 12-14 issues, and the issues number began to refer to the whole month instead of the week. The four weeks of December 1985, were all labelled as Volume 38, #1.

Reportedly, the December 7, 1986 issue was labelled Volume 39, #1:

Volume 36, # 1- ? (Dec 1983- Sept 1984?)

Volume 37, # 1- ? (Dec 1984 - Sept 1985?)

Volume 38, # 1- 4 (Dec 1985 - Sept 1986?)

Volume 39, # 1-4 (Dec 1986 - Sept 1987?)

Volume ?, # ?- ? (1987-1988?)

Volume ?, # ?- ? (1988-1989?)

Volume ?, # ?- ? (1989 -1990?)

By sometime in the 1990's, the magazine gave up all apparent use of volume/numbering and was renamed simply PIX.

Starting in 2009, editions of PIX shown online at the David C Cook website did not appear to contain any comics at all. However, by 2011 pages from The Action Bible were appearing on the cover of the publication.

(1990 - All reprints?)

(1991 - All reprints?)

(1992 - All reprints?)

(1993 - All reprints?)

(1994 - All reprints?)

(1996 - All reprints?)

(1997 - All reprints?)

(1998 - All reprints?)

(1999 - All reprints?)

(2000 - All reprints?)
(2002 - All reprints?)

(2003 - All reprints?)

(2004 - All reprints?)

(2005 - All reprints?)

(2006 - All reprints?)

(2007 - All reprints?)

(2008 - All reprints?)

(2009 - no comics?)

(2010 - no comics?)

(2011 - new material?)
(2012 - new material?)

(2013 - new material?)

(2014 - new material?)

Editorial notes of interest:

- Most years/issues in the '50s/early '60s include the "Our Bible in Pictures" series. Andre LeBlanc is usually remembered as the only artist of Cook's Bible comics, but the earliest comics were actually drawn by Joseph Wirt Tillotson, a commercial artist and painter of pulp magazine covers from the late 1930s to the early 1950s. Also, the original writer on the Bible stories in PIX was the Rev. David S. Piper, a graduate of McCormick Theological Seminary.

- During 1960, Sunday PIX featured the late Dr. Paul ("Jungle Doctor") White in a piece entitled "Medic of the Jungle."

- Many of the PIX comics were reprinted in the French comic magazine Tournesol in the 1970s and 80s.

- Until sometime in the '60s (1964?) PIX contained all new material. For many years, there has been very little original material according to fans and collectors of the series.

- It has been stated that PIX has had the longest issue run of any American comic book (and any Christian comic book) with almost 3000 weekly issues since its beginning. However a number of issues from the 1990s onward have contained very few comics pages, so it has been debatable whether PIX could still be called a "comic" today.

- Over 65 million PIX, used in the Cook curriculum, have been distributed, according to Ralph Gates, Director of Cook Communications Ministries International, in May 2001.

Other technical information:

- For much of its original run PIX was a newsprint comic. Newer issues have been printed on higher quality paper.

- Issues of PIX have averaged 12 pages, but vary between 8-16 pages of comics and illustrated text features.

- The dimensions of the Cook papers have changed several times. The earliest copies of Cook's papers (probably the same size since the early 1900s or earlier) were approximately 11" x 13" and stayed that size through March 25, 1945, when they were reduced to 8.5" x 11.5" to save paper for the war effort (Early "shrunken" issues even carried a note of explanation). Three Cook papers (What to Do, Boys' World and Girls' Companion) were incorporated into one (Sunday PIX) in May 1949, but continued in the same size until some time in mid-1954. Many (most?) issues were 7"x10." PIX is currently 5.5" x 8.5".

Return to Main "Notable Christian Comics" Page

---"Tullus" Comic Strip & Books

The Tullus comic strip was about a young Roman Christian in the 1st Century AD. It began December 26, 1943, appearing in three David C Cook's Sunday School papers What to Do, Boys' World and Girls' Companion, all three subsequently being merged into Sunday PIX. (For a short time, Cook's Young People's Weekly also carried the strip.) Before the full-color PIX began, Tullus had been printed in one color or with a blue or red logo with a colored border around the strip.

Originally created and written by Joseph Hughes Newton, Tullus was scripted in later years by others. Early artists on the strip include Brinton Turkle and Bob Magnusen. According to the "Who's Who of American Comic Books," Tullus was written, pencilled and inked by Al Stenzel and others (including Irv Novick, a freelancer for Stenzel) from 1952-69 during the time Stenzel Productions was packaging/producing PIX for Cook.

The last original Tullus storyline may have been “Tullus and the Talking Drums” which apparently was first published in May, 1976.

The Tullus strip has been compiled into 6 paperback comic book editions. It has also been printed overseas and in other languages such as Spanish, German, and Arabic (shown here, right). A number of Tullus strips were reprinted in the French comic magazine Tournesol in the 1970s.

Some Tullus books may still be available online through the Christian Comics Catalog.

Covers of the Tullus paperback editions:

"Tullus and The Ransom Gold" (1974) - ISBN: 0-912692-33-2

"Tullus in the Deadly Whirlpool" (1974) - ISBN: 0-912692-34-0

"Tullus and The Kidnapped Prince" (1975) - ISBN: 0-912692-52-9

"Tullus and the Vandals of the North" (1974, Reprinted in 1975?) - ISBN: 0-912692-44-8

"Tullus and the Monsters of the Deep" (1993) - ISBN: 0-7814-0138-0

"Tullus and the Dark City" (1993) - ISBN: 0-7814-0137-2

Return to Main "Notable Christian Comics" Page

---"The Picture Bible"

The book known as The Picture Bible was originally conceived as a series of comics pages entitled "Our Bible in Pictures" as part of the David C Cook Sunday PIX curriculum in the early 1950s. It was published in 13 stories per quarter and placed in the curriculum as a "take home paper" for the children so that they could read over the Bible story at home. The initial project was developed under C. Elvan Olmstead, Cook's Bible editor at the time.

Originally the Bible stories in PIX were illustrated by Joseph Wirt Tillotson, a commercial artist and painter of pulp magazine covers from the late 1930s to the early 1950s, and were written by the Rev. David S. Piper, a graduate of McCormick Theological Seminary.

The book project was launched in 1958, according to the late Iva Hoth, one of the curriculum people. She was chosen to write the text to go with the pictures. Mrs. Hoth said that the project was "so complex and ambitious" that it wasn't until October of 1959 that the first art appeared. Details of clothing and architecture were carefully researched by Bible specialists, and efforts were made to ensure that the "simplified form did not betray the original text."

Sketches and color guides were produced from the scripts, which were then examined by Mrs. Hoth, as well as the art director and Bible specialists. After corrections and approvals, the final illustrations were done. Andre LeBlanc was the artist chosen to illustrate the scripts for the book.

Mrs. Hoth once said in an interview: "I am always surprised and happy to note that our Bible in comic strips, and other stories published in PIX, were published in over 105 languages and were distributed in more than 90 countries on all the continents. We received many letters, even from Russia, and one of our agents, returning recently from a voyage to the Far East, told us that copies ... were sold in the streets in Bangladesh. The kids [are eager to] obtain them and their fathers read them, too. I could not hope for a more beautiful reward."

According to Ralph Gates, Director of Cook Communications Ministries International (May 2001): "In the mid-'70s a proposal was made to put these different Bible stories together in a book format. Originally [the first editions of this book were] done in black and white. The current format with full four color was published in 1978 in a New Testament version and in 1979 for The Picture Bible, both Old and New Testaments. The Picture Bible, or some portion of it, has been translated into over 130 languages. Over 65 million PIX, used in the curriculum, have been distributed. In addition 3.3 million Russian, 650,000 Spanish, 680,000 Portuguese, 120,000 Hungarian, 218,000 Romanian, 125,000 Tagalog Picture New Testaments and over 1.2 million Picture Bibles in English have been distributed. Total for all editions printed are in excess of 75 million copies distributed around the world. The distribution figures are probably under stated since I was not able to get figures for distribution for all years..."

The original version of The Picture Bible is 750 comics pages, in full mechanical color, in both hardback and paperback editions, and is available online through the Christian Comics Catalog (TM) in English and Spanish.

A new version of The Picture Bible, entitled The Action Bible, was released in 2010 (see below).

Many thanks to Ralph Gates and Kim Pettit of Cook, and also to Prof. Irvin Ziemann and Robert Frieling, for their valuable help with the above information on the PIX, Tullus, and Picture Bible comics.

Return to Main "Notable Christian Comics" Page

---"The Action Bible"

An updated version of The Picture Bible, entitled The Action Bible, was released by David C Cook in September 2010. The 752-page, full-color graphic novel was edited by Doug Mauss and illustrated by internationally acclaimed comics professional Sergio Cariello. (Cariello was chosen as the illustrator after Cook staffers noted that he had won the 1st International Christian Comics Competition in 2005.) The Action Bible has been a #1 best-seller and category top-seller for Cook, winning the Retailers Choice Award for Best Children's Bible and the Christian Book Award for Best Children's Book back-to-back in 2011.

Originally The Action Bible was to be titled The New Picture Bible, but it was given a distinctive title to avoid confusion with The Picture Bible, which continues to be a bestseller for Cook as well. (Cook had released a shorter version entitled the Picture Bible New Testament in February 2009.) So far The Action Bible has been published in English only, but Spanish and other translations are being planned.

Return to Main "Notable Christian Comics" Page

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