I gave a presentation at Saturday’s Association for Mormon Letters conference (brought to you by the letters U, V, and U) about the history of Book of Mormon comic books. I included the classics: “Lessons from the Life of Nephi” (George Reynolds and C.C.A. Christensen), “Stories from the Book of Mormon” (John Philip Dalby), The Golden Plates (Mike Allred), From the Dust (Michael Mercer), and iPlates (Jett Atwood and myself).
But my favorite part of the presentation was the comparisons between the 1978 version and the 1997 version of Book of Mormon Stories (the Book of Mormon comic book produced by the LDS Church).
Though there were many interesting changes, the one I found most fascinating was how many prophets lost their beards between one version and the next. Take a look:
For some reason the beard I mourned the most was Abinadi’s. (Note also the addition of a tunic to his muscular frame.)
Then there’s Alma the Elder’s beard. It guess he grabbed some razors while running for his life out of King Noah’s palace.
As you can see, when Alma the Younger lost his beard, he also lost his ability to put his cape on straight.
Amulek lost his beard as well. But he also turned blond and learned to color coordinate with Alma, so I guess not all was lost.
I don’t know, would you follow beardless Helaman into battle? His stripling warriors look a little unsure themselves.
Which Captain Moroni do you think would get a radio talk show first?
Even the mighty Ammaron could not escape shearing.
One of the downsides of being the last Nephite on the continent was that Moroni had to be his own barber. But razors were apparently abundant in the wilderness.
Interestingly, one prophet actually gained a beard: the Jaredite prophet Ether.
One beard was retained between the two versions: the Brother of Jared’s. But, as you can see, the later beard was a little less geometrical.
The 1997 version of Book of Mormon Stories has 60 more pages than the 1978 version. Thus a lot of stories were added, including the adventures of the later Nephi and Lehi. It looks like Lehi was blessed with a beard. But maybe that’s because . . .
. . . we all would have been livid if Book of Mormon Stories had taken away Father Lehi’s beard. In Mormon culture, the word Lehi means “beard.”