Folks of a certain age who grew up reading the serialized comics in their Sunday School handouts may remember Tullus, an adventure series set during the early years of the Church. The series, published between the 1940s to the 1970s, featured a young Roman—and new believer—who traveled to many places in the ancient world, including Asia Minor, Greece, and Rome.Now, one of these classic adventures is being reprinted by Manuscript Press, which has been reprinting classic comic strips like Tarzan and Flash Gordon. Tullus, Adventures of a Christian Boy in Roman Times is a full-color 52-page comic book, available in print and digitally for the Kindle. Publisher Rick Norwood shares with us his thoughts on making Tullus available to a new audience.
You’re a professor of Mathematics at East Tennessee State University. What inspired you to tackle founding Manuscript Press?
I’ve always been a reader. My love of reading, and the discovery of manuscripts that had never been published, written by my favorite writers, and of old books and comics long out of print, led me to found Manuscript Press. I’ve always published books that I loved to read.
What inspired you to bring Tullus back into print?
As a child, I read Tullus. It was part of a Sunday School paper that was handed out every Sunday. I loved it, and when I had to miss Sunday School (when the family went on vacation, for example) I always hated missing installments.
What was that Sunday School paper like?
Sunday Pix was eight to twelve pages long. In addition to Tullus, every issue included “The Bible in Pictures”, a smaller strip about a boy with pet fox (Reddy the Fox), adaptations of classics, such as “Twenty Thousand Leagues Under the Sea” and “The Gold Bug”, and other stories.
After my confirmation, when I was too old to go to Sunday School, I still wanted to read Tullus, so I subscribed, and got issues through the mail. I was still reading Tullus when I started reading Spider-man.
This is the only bible comic book I knew about as a child. It included a feature titled “The Bible in Pictures”, which I read every week. That feature eventually led me to read the entire Bible, from cover to cover.
Tullus ran from 1943 – 1976. Was there any particular reason why you chose this story as the starting point?
In the first issue, I publish one complete year (52 pages) of one Tullus story, which fortunately has a beginning and ending. I would love to continue to publish Tullus, but that depends on sales. Knowing that continuation was uncertain, I chose my favorite Tullus story.
The story then continues with further adventures of the characters. If I have the readership, I’ll publish the following year, and at some point I would love to go back and publish the previous years. I’ll publish bimonthly if I have the support.
Who are you hoping will read these Tullus reprints?
I hope everyone who loves a good comic book story, and everyone who loves a good Christian story, will read Tullus.
I would love to continue to publish Tullus, but that depends on sales. I need to sell at least one thousand copies to continue. I know there are that many people, in fact many more than that many people, who would love this comic book if they knew about it.