Action figure collectors rarely get to see their hobby interact with other areas of interest. Action figures only occasionally make it onto TV screens, and there are very few books focused on the industry. With Brendan Powell Smith's new book, The Brick Bible: A New Spin On The Old Testament, there's one more book that's sure to interest action figure collectors and Lego fans alike.
The Right Audience
It should be noted that this is a site for action figure collectors first and foremost, and I won't be discussing The Brick Bible as a literary work, but instead as a collection of incredible action figure art which just happens to be centered around a narrative. Regardless of your religious beliefs and how they fit with the stories in this book, there is still a lot to be appreciated here for action figure collectors.
This book is not endorsed in any way by the Lego Group, and to the average collector, it should be seen as an artist using his collection to tell a story and show off his figures in a creative way. It's also important to note that some of the images and stories within The Brick Bible are graphic and adult in nature, so parents should use caution when introducing this book to less mature audiences.
Minifigures as Art
As you dive into The Brick Bible, it becomes apparent rather quickly just how much author and illustrator Brendan Powell Smith loves Lego minifigures. He shows an unblievable affinity for creating distinct figures, and an unfathomable dedication to posing them in engaging and expressive ways. In the introduction he claims, "it has truly been a pleasure and a labor of love building and photographing all 1,400 of the illustrations collected here, and I do hope you enjoy the result," and when seeing the results, you really do feel like he enjoyed the monumental project.
When working with Lego Minifigures, there are a lot of standard posing methods and building techniques on which to rely. Powell Smith doesn't rely on these techniques. He doesn't stray away from complex scenes that would seem impossible to render with Lego minifigures, but instead finds creative workarounds to achieve incredible pieces of storytelling. Some scenes are particularly striking, coming across as so much more than plastic toys posed in funny ways.
Another Scale of Minifigures
The smaller scale images show a real attention to detail. It's obvious that Powell Smith took time to pose each wrist at precise angles, and turned necks until there was an exact amount of emotion and energy in the scene. He used the limited articulation of Lego minifigures in dynamic ways to better aid the story. Larger scale images practically jump off the page with vibrant colors and interesting compositions. Intimate scenes with simple dialogue are juxtaposed with striking moments of action in a balanced and engaging way.
Not everything is perfect. A lot of the background environments come off as either too simple or too busy, often taking away the focus from the minifigures themselves. There are also specific minifigures here and there which look a little off, whether because of an odd custom build variation or a mismatch with other figures in the scene.
A New Spin on Action Figures
Despite those few shortcomings, all in all, this is a book that reads like a love letter to minifigures and the unlimited creative potential harnessed inside their little plastic frames. Brendan Powell Smith shows dedication and admiration towards the action figure collecting hobby, attributes which are hard to find in modern media. The Brick Bible is a book that would look great on the shelf next to your Lego Minifigures collection, or on your coffee table underneath your latest Lego set.
Disclosure: A review sample was provided by the publisher. For more information, please see our Ethics Policy.