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?
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,
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.
Lee Weeks is one of my closest friends, and a mature brother in Christ. We've spoken on this topic of what has happened to secular comics (and other mainstream media) at length. The comic book (but not the comic strip) is an American invention, and more particularly, that of mostly Jewish New Yorkers. The stories they wrote show much Messianic longing in the form of Golden Age (1930s-50s) super-hero 'power fantasies,' giving gangsters, Nazis (and other Axis powers of WWII), and super villains a strong comeuppance where immediate justice in real life seemed to be lacking at times.
God gave the Law, the prophets, and the Messiah to the Jews. The Jews are the chosen people of God; He has a land covenant with Israel, and, as evidenced in 1948, in 1967, and 1972, He fights for them. Prophesy must be fulfilled; God cannot lie. Still, there is no other way of salvation than through Messiah Y'shua (Jesus Christ), so earthly blessings do not equate with eternal salvation. Jew and Gentile alike must come to that Cornerstone and be broken (lest He fall upon them and they be ground to powder).
The Jews are natural storytellers (and for good reason; they were to evangelize the world---but didn't---and if the 144,000 of Revelation are Messianic Jews, then they shall indeed do within a 3 1/2 year space what the Gentile believers failed to do in 2,000 years), and Jewish comic creators also know how to spin a good yarn with the best of them. Stan Lee raided the King James Version of the Bible for ideas in the 1960s (probably after writing five issues of BIBLE TALES FOR YOUNG FOLK in the '50s did he realize what a treasure trove of plots/characters the Bible is), and it is evident with titles like "If Thine Eye Offend Thee" or paraphrased spinoffs like "A Blind Man Shall Lead Them" (a Daredevil story); with characters like the Watcher (an angel is called a 'watcher' in the book of Daniel), and with stories of self-sacrifice for the benefit of others ("This Man...This Monster" from FANTASTIC FOUR #51, 1966 being a classic example). The Gospel isn't there, but many Biblical principles are there, and a generation of children and young-at-heart grew up with those being a character-shaping source.
That's all gone now. The moral Jewish writers of the Golden and Silver age have been replaced with immoral and amoral 'hipsters' who do not know how to write noble or innocent characters, being depraved at heart themselves. Even sideline comic book characters are anti-heroes. Cynicism, eroticism, brutality, and the occult are in full flower. Now I don't have a rose-colored view of the past, as there were some titles that got out of hand in the '40s and '50s, hence the comics code of 1954, but the code pretty much lost its legs forever by the 1980s.
What I've encouraged Lee Weeks to do is to write his own stories as well, as he has a good handle on what makes a crackling good yarn and the mechanics of visual storytelling, his Spider-man DEATH AND DESTINY mini-series being one such example, and I know he has more in the works. I think Scott McDaniel (a brother in Christ) and writer Chuck Dixon have paired up for similar reasons (not just economic, but moral). Most Christian artists in secular comics, however, do not have that benefit, and are often assigned scripts by ungodly but popular writers which they either turn down (a good way to eventually end a career) or they acquiesce and become callous to the Holy Spirit's leading.
Someone earlier (perhaps in another thread) referred to drawing Christian comics as "preaching to the choir." Not so! I've had many unbelievers (and more importantly, genuine seekers) purchase my books, and at least one fellow comics professional gave his heart to the Lord as a direct result. These have given me many opportunities to share Christ with former editors, publishers, and fellow artists, writers, etc. in the secular industry, as well as on secular message boards, and good fruit has come of it. Ralph Miley has shared a number of testimonies of how the CCAS booth and comics there have provided an open door for evangelism at the San Diego Con and the like.
No, I don't agree that we need more Christians in secular comics. Rather, I'd like to see the Lord's artistic workforce leave off toiling for "Pharaoh" and create openly Christ-exalting material that will glorify the Lord, edify the church, and challenge the lost. Too many siblings in Christ have told me that they're too busy with their secular work to do anything for God via comics. I understand and sympathize with supporting a family, but I believe God has greater for us---without neglecting our homelife responsibilities---if we consecrate ourselves in prayer and obedience to His Word, by the power of the Holy Spirit.
Re: Kingstone - T'would be nice but how do you get any of their stuff?
I looked at the website - but it's unclear how to buy - do I order a catalog? Can I buy online...just didn't seem obvious at all.
Oh - nevermind - Found the "Shop" button. But why isn't their stuff front and center?