Christian Comic Arts Society

A Network of Christian Fellowship for Comics Fans, Pros, and Amateurs

Where are the Christian professionals in the mainstream comic industry?

Searching for like-minded Christians who want to use their art to change the world as God has called us to I came upon this site. As a leader of the Visual Arts Ministry at the Columbus Vineyard in Columbus, OH I am always looking for professionals in varying art fields who wholeheartedly seek out Christ. We have been blessed to host almost a dozen of such people through personal connections and there are more in our area and church, yet, untapped. For more information on our ministry please visit www.VisualSanctuary.org.

However, my personal crusade to find  Christian professionals in the mainstream Comic Industry has yielded few returns. Perhaps some are on this site, but I am also open to suggestions on blogs, magazine/news articles, and preferrably interviews on podcasts, secular or Christian.

If you know of any, please post.

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One that I know for certain is Sergio Cariello, who currently pencils The Lone Ranger for Dynamite Entertainment. He has also done a lot of work for Marvel and DC, as well as The Action Bible coming out next month. I have not seen or heard any interview with the man where he has not been sure to mention his faith.
I've been wondering about the same question too, Alex. I do a fair bit of Christian cartooning, but don't think it can be rightly called "mainstream". I'm currently working in the VFX industry. Anyway if you're interested you can visit my websites. I'd love to get in touch with more such individuals.

www.wensworld.com
www.zazzle.com/wensworld
http://wensworldcomics.blogspot.com
Where are the Christian comics professionals in the secular industry? Hopefully, they're leaving, or have already left. Gaylord Dubois is probably comics' most prolific author, bar none, and by 1975 he was "invited" to leave the industry because his kind of moral, outdoorsman adventure was considered passe' by the editors. Never mind the fact that he wrote all manner of comics, from adventure, super-heroes, humor, romance, western, etc. The reality is that he was a born again Christian, and the moral tenor of his stories was "too much" even in the late Bronze Age.

Nate Butler (a member of this group), former Archie and Marvel artist left the industry to found, in 1996, what is known today as COMIX35, and travels the world with this ministry, training the native to reach the native with the Gospel via comics and related visual media. He has packaged and published a number of Christian titles (see the www.comix35.org website).

In the mid- to late '70s Bruce Bezaire wrote some pretty grisly stories for Warren's CREEPY, EERIE, and VAMPIRELLA magazines, and at the time he was diagnosed with brain cancer. I don't know who witnessed to him, or how he heard the Gospel, but Bruce cried out to the Lord and not only received Jesus Christ as his Saviour, he was healed of the brain cancer, and told his editors at Warren what had happened, explaining why he couldn't work for them anymore. Artistically talented, Bruce illustrated a handful of DAN RED EAGLE Christian comics in the early to mid 1990s, and is a photorealist painter (and college professor). He has been working on a (quite cerebral) book on aesthetics for the past few years, and I hope we'll see more of his Christian comics work in the future.

Jeff Anderson (who is in this group, by the way) is one of the UK's best comics artists/illustrators. He drew the TRANSFORMERS title for Marvel UK, and, somewhat more recently, painted THE GRAPHIC BIBLE over a four year period for Lion Publishers, drew the Christian comics tract "Journey into Light," and the first issue or two of RIDDLER'S FAYRE. Responding to God's call to ministry, Jeff left the secular comics industry , and is now an Anglican reverend in northeastern England, though he's still providing covers to the RIDDLER'S FAYRE series and has his own Christian comics story slowly in the works.

Sergio Cariello was a former Kubert student (and former instructor) who has worked for most of the major U.S. comics publishers (Marvel, DC, Dark Horse, CrossGen, Acclaim, etc.), and is a member of this CCAS group. He is a born again Christian and also a fine musician (he composed the songs on guitar for his album "Eu Louvarei ao Senhor" ("I Will Praise the Lord") in Portuguese, as he is from Brazil. Sergio hasn't worked for Marvel or DC in quite a while, but God has opened doors for him to illustrate Christian comics for Zondervan (SON OF SAMSON), David C. Cook Communications Ministries (the ACTION BIBLE, e.g.) and for Kingstone Comics(upcoming titles). He's probably as fast with a pencil as Jack Kirby was (I kid you not), without any loss of quality.

Kathleen Webb drew and wrote for Archie comics for quite a few years (she's in this group, too), as well as drawing the "Holly and the Ivy Halls" comic page for Focus on the Family's BRIO magazine for many years, and more recently, writing some titles for RealBuzz Studios (you'll have to ask her or Buzz Dixon for more particulars).

In short: the secular comics industry has gotten so dark in content over the past few decades that I don't see how any Christian can really bear up under it for too long. "Righteous Lot vexed his soul daily, seeing the deeds which were done in Sodom," as the author of Hebrews tells us. If, in type, the secular comics industry is like Egypt, and Christian creators are like Israelites, then they need to come out of her, lest they share in her plagues. God has called us to much better. However, there is a wilderness between the former land of plenty-turned-oppression and the Promised Land. Many can't handle the wilderness, and go back to Egypt. It is a proving ground, to be sure, and the supply lines are sometimes quite short, but God provides.

Jack Chick started his comics tract ministry in 1958, but it wasn't until 1972 that it took off full force, and illustrator Fred Carter joined his staff at that time. It was likewise fourteen years before the apostle Paul's ministry launched into full gear (Galatians 2:1)---for Moses it was forty (before the burning bush experience).

Al Hartley had drawn for secular comics for decades before being saved, and the Lord opened the door for him to draw 59 titles for Spire Christian Comics (later Barbour) from 1972-1988). He never went back to secular comics.

There are a lot of capable comics professionals who are Christians who are drawing things that they shouldn't. I won't cite any names. My prayer is that God would open the way for them to do work that openly glorifies His Son, but they may have to take the first step of faith (at His prompting, not presumptuously), and I'm praying for these. I left secular comics in 1999 and secular illustration in 2001, and have no regrets. He has opened the doors for me to illustrate for various Christian magazines and tract ministries, as well as to publish titles under my own Calvary Comics imprint which sell in the multiplied thousands across the world (a new book is on its way in September).

Kind regards in Christ Jesus,

Alec Stevens
www.calvarycomics.com
Calvary Comics said:
Where are the Christian comics professionals in the secular industry? Hopefully, they're leaving, or have already left.

I respectfully disagree with you on that point, Alec. I do agree that a Christian artist should not draw things contrary to their beliefs, and if that is what they are being forced to do they should find another venue for their talents, as you have. However, if all the Christian artists only produce art for the Christian audience, will that truly help bring more people to Christ? I would tend to call that "preaching to the choir," as it were. Mark Miller is a music producer of Christian and country music (he produces for Casting Crowns, among others), and the lead singer of the country music band Sawyer Brown. In an interview with CBN he had this to say, which I found interesting, and I believe it is true:

"I even wondered early on why God didn’t put me in Christian music, growing up the way I did. Then I had to come to terms with God needs Christian bankers, God needs Christian teachers and Christian country rock singers."

God needs Christians everywhere, to help lead others to Christ who have lost their way. "He said to them, 'Go into all the world and preach the good news to all creation.'" (Mark 16:15) I will say that Sergio Cariello is a fine example of a "mainstream" Christian comic artist. He has been illustrating The Lone Ranger for the last few years, and in every interview I have read or heard, he has been sure to mention his faith. He has not shied away from it, as some do, he puts it out in the open. Now he has done The Action Bible, which looks awesome. He has more projects, both Christian and "mainstream" coming up, and he gives God the glory for all of it. I respect Sergio a great deal for being both the Christian and the artist he is, and for using whatever mainstream exposure he is given to further glorify the Lord.
I'm not against Christians doing secular comics, Michael, but I'm saying that it's becoming nearly impossible for Christians to draw secular comics in good conscience because of the increasingly violent and sexual content, even in "all ages" books. I know a lot of siblings in Christ who cringe at some of the scripts that they get, and if they reject too many, the scripts stop coming their way. This has been my personal experience as well. Years ago, I had to reject a GRENDEL: BLACK, WHITE, AND RED script by Matt Wagner (for Dark Horse) because it was a bloodbath. DC Comics gave me a script for a BATMAN CHRONICLES book where our Lord's name was taken in vain in the script (G-- d---), and a mafia type was tied up, being beaten to a pulp. This is not entertainment. Dark Horse Comics offered me the drawing chores on a Cliff deHaven-scripted graphic novel where post-apocalyptic freaks put on live sex shows in NYC in order to make money and to afford their drug habits. Absolute filth! I turned these down, of course. In 1993 I drew an issue of SANDMAN for DC/Vertigo, not really knowing how occult the book was (though my script was almost like an "Outer Limits" story without the main character in it except a panel or two). Subsequently I was offered the drawing chores for SANDMAN MYSTERY THEATRE with the Golden Age character (who wore a gas mask). The scripts were so violent, with women tied up and being beaten to a pulp (these saw print with Guy Davis' art instead) that I only drew a few sample pages (for which I was paid) and stopped there. My editor at DC's Paradox Press line understood that I'm a Christian, and allowed me to go through a pile of scripts to select stories to draw that weren't grievous in content. That was a rare privilege. Most editors wouldn't put up with that, and would rather hire artists who will draw anything, no questions asked.

Other artists compromise, then hardness sets in. I've seen that, too. Some Christians who are secular comics creators have drifted so far that, were I to mention their names to you, you'd be shocked to learn that they ever professed faith in Christ at all.

Today's "PG" is yesterday's "R," across the board---in comics, film, radio, and television. Look at all the filthy language that is allowed in the media as if it's "normal." The first PLAYBOY centerfold (not the Marilyn Monroe poster) was of Hugh Hefner's secretary. She was fully dressed, except her blouse was unbuttoned to just above her navel (which you couldn't see), and her cleavage exposed. Nowadays you'll see that on the cover of GOOD HOUSEKEEPING magazine in the supermarket checkout lane!

In today's mainstream comics, we see Kevin Smith's Batman urinating in his pants; a Spider-man mini-series where Mary Jane dies because Peter Parker's radioactive semen gives her cancer, then a geriatric Parker sitting on his bed (in full frontal nudity), despairing; a lesbian Batwoman; a cannibalistic Hulk who eats his enemies; Luke Cage, Powerman sodomizing a villainess to "teach her a lesson"; the Punisher cutting a man's intestines out, wrapping them around his neck, then fashioning a noose out of them to hang the man; Catwoman torturing a tied-up couple, gouging out the woman's eyeball, then eating it while the man watches in horror; need I go on? No exaggeration here---this is what they've done to these children's Super-hero characters. They also sleep around with each other as if it were perfectly normal.

Once upon a time in a 1960 Superboy lettercol (probably written by E. Nelson Bridwell, a professing Christian) it was said that the character read the Holy Bible. In Superman #195 the man of steel travels back in time to rescue Christians who are being persecuted by Romans.

How times change. Here's an excerpt from a recent Superman issue:

http://mississippifarian.files.wordpress.com/2010/03/screen-shot-20...

This is not even a passive attack against the true Messiah, but an obvious affront. But God is still on the throne while this title which used to sell a million copies per month has dwindled down to embarrassingly small numbers.

I couldn't believe this sex scene in mainstream DC title:

http://www.tcj.com/blog/deathstroke-and-volcano-vagina/

Here's the cover for the August, 2010 issue of GREEN ARROW #3:

http://www.comicbookresources.com/news/preview2.php?image=solicits/...

This is not for children; it is for perverse adults who refuse to grow up.
I'm afraid I hadn't actually realized it had gotten so bad. I stopped reading regularly after the Image boom of the early 1990s. I only started reading comics again with the current Lone Ranger series. I've only picked up a few other titles since then and have managed to avoid any of the above examples. I'm also glad I approve any comic my kids read before they read it, and that they prefer the more "kiddie" versions of the super hero characters (e.g. Batman: The Brave & the Bold, Super Hero Squad).

I agree with you about today's PG being yesterday's R, though. So tough to find decent family movies outside of Pixar.
Michael Dean said:
I agree with you about today's PG being yesterday's R, though. So tough to find decent family movies outside of Pixar.

If you haven't seen it already, check out the "Secrets of Jonathan Sperry" DVD starring Gavin MacLeod, Robert Guillaume, and a number of child actors. It is a solidly crafted, genuinely sweet film with a wonderful Gospel message that really will touch your heart.
Wow. Didn't realise it's gotten so bad...

I think Alec is right to say "Today's 'PG' is yesterday's 'R'". Just about a decade or 2 ago people here were complaining about the values in sitcoms, but now it's everywhere and worse and people are liking them (many Christians included).

I was wondering if anyone could give some advice on opportunities to work on Christian comics/animation/film. In Singapore where I live, the movie/animation industry is extremely young, not to mention Christian movies/animation/comics, which are almost non-existent.
Favian Ee said:
I was wondering if anyone could give some advice on opportunities to work on Christian comics/animation/film. In Singapore where I live, the movie/animation industry is extremely young, not to mention Christian movies/animation/comics, which are almost non-existent.

"Pray without ceasing." "The Lord owns the cattle on a thousand hills." "Do not despise the day of small beginnings." If there are no other Christians in Singapore who are ahead of you in this arena, you may have to be the frontrunner there. Check your available resources. I have a former college student, Dominic Chan, who used to attend my Bible study (though he is from a Catholic background) who lives in Singapore. His email addy is (or was) mdscuzzy@hotmail.com Feel free to make mention of me to him. He has been teaching in one of the local Polytechnics.

You may wish to make your artistic services available to local missions offshoots of larger ministries. Contact some other local churches, and make some connections with fellow creative believers there. Pray together, pooling your spiritual resources, and see what the Lord opens up for you. "You do not have because you do not ask. You do not have, because you ask amiss, that you may spend it on your own pleasures." If our heart intent is always, "Not my will, but Thine," we can expect God to move on our behalf and we can enter into the work that He had planned for us "from the foundation of the world." He has so much more available for us---if only we tap into it!

Kind regards in Christ Jesus,

Alec Stevens
www.calvarycomics.com
Favian, a quick look online yielded these three large churches in Singapore which, if theologically sound, could provide you with the connections/resources/opportunities you're seeking:

City Harvest Church
http://www.chc.org.sg/eng/index.php

Faith Community Baptist Church
http://www.fcbc.org.sg/

New Creation Church
http://www.newcreation.org.sg/
the hardest thing is to be in the world and not of the world, to me at least. it's easy to isolate yourself from the world and it's easier still to be worldly. and to be in any section of the world, especially "mainstream" comics, is hard, as a believer.

i could give you another list of Christians who do "mainstream" comics- but it is also a question of "what is mainstream?"

if you're referring to only marvel and dc by "mainstream" there are others, i think the best way is to look at people's facebooks and stuff like that, you'll definitely find them.

if by "mainstream" you mean secular and are including other publishers, there are Christians working for all manner of non-Christian publishers, again, i'd say facebook, etc. can be a good way to find this info out, but i'll say that i know or know of Christians all over the place- usually with work which is either "family friendly" or does have Christian content.

but again, Christians in comics are like Christians period. do some Christians curse in their non-Christian comics? Yes- but then, i'd say finding any group of Christians without at least one person who curses in conversation is a challenge. I'm not goign to say they are Christians, but I will say I wish the cursing wasn't there. There are all manner of Christians and all manner of people's definition of what is Christian. I try to stick as close to the Bible as I can, realizing that I am still a sinner who is saved by grace.

It's a struggle, it really is.
Thanks for your advice and encouragement, Alec. Appreciate it much!

By the way, when you mentioned Dominic was from a Catholic background, did you mean he came from a Catholic family or that he is currently one? Is he a comic artist?

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