Acclaimed 'Superbook' Revived to Entertain New Generation

In 2010, the Christian Broadcasting Network (CBN) revived the classic animated series Superbook for a new generation. Now, CBN is partnering with Charisma Media in order to distribute the acclaimed animated series to retail stores across the country.

Many will recall the classic Superbook series, a biblical anime television series that was originally produced in the 1980s. The series, created by the makers of Speed Racer, produced 52 episodes—spreading God's Word worldwide. Superbook ultimately was dubbed in 43 languages, aired in 106 countries and was viewed by over 500 million people.

For the new series, CBN knew fans would settle for only the highest quality. Characters were reimagined for a new era. The art style was altered. CBN assembled a talented team of scriptwriters, designers and composers whose past experience included Disney, DreamWorks, Sony Animation, Pixar and other studios. No corners were cut in the pursuit of quality.

The result? CBN's Superbook reboot switches out animation styles—cutting-edge CGI replaces anime—but the mission remains the same: Share the truth of God's Word with as many people as possible. To do that, CBN and Charisma Media have teamed up to bring the series on DVD to stores nationwide.

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CBN CEO Gordon Robertson explains that the partnership between Charisma Media and CBN made sense: "Since 1975, Strang Communications (now Charisma Media) and Charisma have been on the forefront of educating, equipping and empowering Christians through its wonderful publications. Charisma Media honors and continues this rich legacy as it utilizes new technologies. For CBN, having a partnership with Charisma Media gives us the ability to reach even more children with stories of the Bible. Plus, Stephen Strang is a really great guy."

"The Superbook series has played a major role in shaping generations with a biblical worldview and will bring the greatest stories of the Bible to life," says Tessie DeVore, executive vice president and publisher of the Charisma House Book Group. "Our partnership with CBN provides a unique opportunity to engage children with gospel-centered spiritual truths for years to come."

Superbook released its first two episodes in October ("The First Christmas" and "In the Beginning"). Two more episodes will be released each month through April 2016—plus a bonus episode in March for Easter ("He is Risen"). By the end of April, families can expect 13 Superbook DVDs on store shelves.

Marcos Perez, senior vice president of sales and marketing for the Charisma House Book Group, says he believes Superbook is arriving on store shelves at the perfect moment.

"One of the most common reactions we have gotten from retailers is: 'Great timing,'" Perez says. "Anyone (who) sells children's DVDs is experiencing a slowdown as of late in terms of new releases coming to market. The momentum of new product is just not there like it was in the recent past. Also, the target audience for Superbook is 6-11 years old. So families that bought VeggieTales over the last three or four years, for example, are a prime consumer for Superbook today."

Each DVD also comes paired with an exclusive Family Discussion Guide. These discussion guides equip parents to teach their children more about the original Bible story and to address any questions that may arise. The guides include lists of relevant Scriptures to encourage families to read the Bible together. In addition, some guides come with advance warnings about potentially scary scenes in the videos, which will help parents shield younger or more sensitive children.

The Family Discussion Guide is just one of many ways that Superbook makes the Bible come alive for the whole family.

"There is no animation resource in the market for this age group that offers the benefit of biblical engagement and discipleship like Superbook does," Perez says. "Biblical characters in these episodes literally quote the Bible. God's Word is a key component to each script, along with close attention and research that was applied to achieve biblical/historical accuracy in the animation itself."

Not only is the series theologically accurate, but, according to Robertson, the series is historically accurate as well: "Each episode also went through an archeological and historical review to make sure that the scene is accurate right down to the dishes on the tables. We wanted children to understand that these are real stories about real people in history."

This Christmas, bring home Superbook and enjoy the power of God's Word in a package made for the whole family.

Taylor Berglund is the assistant online editor at Charisma Media.

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