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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Calvary Comics said:
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.

Sorry for the delay of this reply. That is an excellent movie. We got it the week it came out. All the kids really enjoyed it, and so did we. The Sherwood pictures are good, too, but the little kids are bored by them. They weren't at all bored with Jonathan Sperry.
I found this on the 'net the other day. You know things are bad in secular comics when some of their top creators are saying the following (on the first I edited out the profanity; anything in parentheses contains the same general meaning as the original words, but sanitized):

Comic Book Pros Shake Their Heads in Disgust

"I want them to stop catering to the perverted needs of forty-five year old men. I want to stop seeing Batman (fornicating with) Black Canary. I don’t want to hear Batman swearing, I don’t want to see him feeding a boy rats, I don’t want to see characters getting raped in the (posterior), I don’t want to see characters who have been straight for sixty years become lesbians overnight because the writer’s too stupid or uncreative to come up with something decent, I want to see new characters for a new time, and when the industry of superhero comics realigns its sights to the young people it was meant for, I’ll be there with both arms and feet."

– Darwyn Cooke

http://www.bleedingcool.com/2010/09/01/darwyn-cooke-and-the-lesbians/
------
"I get all the DC books free...and don’t read most of them.

"Part of it’s that they’re just not aimed at me — there are a lot of line-wide stunts that seem to affect all the books, which makes it hard to follow them as individual series, but at the same time there’s no apparent interest in building or maintaining a coherent universe. So whether you’re looking for self-contained series or want to wallow in the peculiar glories of a shared universe (and I like both), they’re presented in a way that messes up either thrill. At least for me.

"Add to that the tone of the books, which seems to be overwhelmingly grim, cheerless and bleak, and it’s a sandbox I don’t much want to play in or read about. But like I said, they’re not aimed at me."

- Kurt Busiek

http://www.bleedingcool.com/2010/08/28/a-new-name-withheld-for-the-...
-----
"Annnnd today was the day I stopped reading super-hero comics. One that I won’t name finally broke me. Collection stops as of now. No joke. It’s not one bad comic. It’s the unbearably last in a long string of bad comics. Just sick of reading the same story 100 times in the last three years. It’s been building. I didn’t say they were all bad. I said I’ve reached a limit."

- Mark Waid

http://twitter.com/MarkWaid/status/18088713004
-----
Look at this recent JUSTICE LEAGUE: THE RISE OF ARSENAL #3 (published by DC Comics) story transcript. It's remarkably stupid and insanely filthy (again, profanity euphemized in parentheses) :

Writer: JT Krul. Pencils: Geraldo Borges, Kevin Sharpe & Sergio Arino.

Page 1: Chesire shows up to theoretically kill Roy, blaming him for Lian’s death. They fight, and Roy’s thought captions on this page are about how hot she was in bed. No (kidding): ” Next to Kendra/Hawkgirl, Jade was the best in bed.” Chesire has poisonous fingernails that will kill you fairly instantly. She is shown scratching him with those fingernails, though he isn’t poisoned (?), and the scratch marks completely disappear on page 2 (??).

Page 2 -7: they fight, to such scintillating dialogue as “Bite me, Jade.” and “You’re a skilled assassin, but as a mother — YOU SUCKED!”. Roy uses various things sitting around (a tennis racket, a stapler, an extension cord) to battle Chesire — this is apparently Roy’s new superpower, fighting with whatever junk is sitting around, which is excitingly McGyver-esque! Using the extension cord like a whip (which is OK, “She likes it ROUGH anyway”), he ties Chesire up, porn-submission-style. Then they make out, and start to (fornicate)….

Page 8: .. except it turns out that he’s impotent!

Chesire then disappears from the comic without another word or mention of her.

Page 9: Since he can’t (copulate), he decides to go beat up guys. “I need a release.” and “For me, they serve their purpose” he thinks, as he sticks knives in faceless people’s arms.

Page 10: full-page splash of Roy standing over a bunch of unconscious guys. “Much better” says the caption as Roy makes an O-face.

Page 11: his dead junkie friend appears, and talks about the time they double-teamed a “couple of real skanks” in Nashville.

Pages 12 & 13: His daughter dead, and his dead friend prodding him, Roy decides to jump down off the rooftop in full costume and buy some heroin from a street dealer.

Page 14 & 15: he smokes heroin and nods out, in a two page spread.

On the same thread, the readers were informed that the classic Spider-man villain, the Lizard (Dr. Curt Conners) ate his own son in a recent storyline.

http://archives.tcj.com/messboard/viewtopic.php?t=7970

The above Comics Journal thread is called "Comics aren't for kids anymore. They're for sick people." You know things are bad when even that crowd is crying foul.
Calvary Comics said:
I found this on the 'net the other day. You know things are bad in secular comics when some of their top creators are saying the following (on the first I edited out the profanity; anything in parentheses contains the same general meaning as the original words, but sanitized):

Comic Book Pros Shake Their Heads in Disgust

"I want them to stop catering to the perverted needs of forty-five year old men. I want to stop seeing Batman (fornicating with) Black Canary. I don’t want to hear Batman swearing, I don’t want to see him feeding a boy rats, I don’t want to see characters getting raped in the (posterior), I don’t want to see characters who have been straight for sixty years become lesbians overnight because the writer’s too stupid or uncreative to come up with something decent, I want to see new characters for a new time, and when the industry of superhero comics realigns its sights to the young people it was meant for, I’ll be there with both arms and feet."

– Darwyn Cooke

http://www.bleedingcool.com/2010/09/01/darwyn-cooke-and-the-lesbians/
------
"I get all the DC books free...and don’t read most of them.

"Part of it’s that they’re just not aimed at me — there are a lot of line-wide stunts that seem to affect all the books, which makes it hard to follow them as individual series, but at the same time there’s no apparent interest in building or maintaining a coherent universe. So whether you’re looking for self-contained series or want to wallow in the peculiar glories of a shared universe (and I like both), they’re presented in a way that messes up either thrill. At least for me.

"Add to that the tone of the books, which seems to be overwhelmingly grim, cheerless and bleak, and it’s a sandbox I don’t much want to play in or read about. But like I said, they’re not aimed at me."

- Kurt Busiek

http://www.bleedingcool.com/2010/08/28/a-new-name-withheld-for-the-...
-----
"Annnnd today was the day I stopped reading super-hero comics. One that I won’t name finally broke me. Collection stops as of now. No joke. It’s not one bad comic. It’s the unbearably last in a long string of bad comics. Just sick of reading the same story 100 times in the last three years. It’s been building. I didn’t say they were all bad. I said I’ve reached a limit."

- Mark Waid

http://twitter.com/MarkWaid/status/18088713004
-----
Look at this recent JUSTICE LEAGUE: THE RISE OF ARSENAL #3 (published by DC Comics) story transcript. It's remarkably stupid and insanely filthy (again, profanity euphemized in parentheses) :

Writer: JT Krul. Pencils: Geraldo Borges, Kevin Sharpe & Sergio Arino.

Page 1: Chesire shows up to theoretically kill Roy, blaming him for Lian’s death. They fight, and Roy’s thought captions on this page are about how hot she was in bed. No (kidding): ” Next to Kendra/Hawkgirl, Jade was the best in bed.” Chesire has poisonous fingernails that will kill you fairly instantly. She is shown scratching him with those fingernails, though he isn’t poisoned (?), and the scratch marks completely disappear on page 2 (??).

Page 2 -7: they fight, to such scintillating dialogue as “Bite me, Jade.” and “You’re a skilled assassin, but as a mother — YOU SUCKED!”. Roy uses various things sitting around (a tennis racket, a stapler, an extension cord) to battle Chesire — this is apparently Roy’s new superpower, fighting with whatever junk is sitting around, which is excitingly McGyver-esque! Using the extension cord like a whip (which is OK, “She likes it ROUGH anyway”), he ties Chesire up, porn-submission-style. Then they make out, and start to (fornicate)….

Page 8: .. except it turns out that he’s impotent!

Chesire then disappears from the comic without another word or mention of her.

Page 9: Since he can’t (copulate), he decides to go beat up guys. “I need a release.” and “For me, they serve their purpose” he thinks, as he sticks knives in faceless people’s arms.

Page 10: full-page splash of Roy standing over a bunch of unconscious guys. “Much better” says the caption as Roy makes an O-face.

Page 11: his dead junkie friend appears, and talks about the time they double-teamed a “couple of real skanks” in Nashville.

Pages 12 & 13: His daughter dead, and his dead friend prodding him, Roy decides to jump down off the rooftop in full costume and buy some heroin from a street dealer.

Page 14 & 15: he smokes heroin and nods out, in a two page spread.

On the same thread, the readers were informed that the classic Spider-man villain, the Lizard (Dr. Curt Conners) ate his own son in a recent storyline.

http://archives.tcj.com/messboard/viewtopic.php?t=7970

The above Comics Journal thread is called "Comics aren't for kids anymore. They're for sick people." You know things are bad when even that crowd is crying foul.

Some great stuff in this post. However, I don't agree with Christian creators fleeing the mainstream business though. The only way to make things better is to take some action. What does running away do? What kind of impact could just a few Christian creators make within the business?
Matthew M. said:
Some great stuff in this post. However, I don't agree with Christian creators fleeing the mainstream business though. The only way to make things better is to take some action. What does running away do? What kind of impact could just a few Christian creators make within the business?

This is something I've wrestled with more than a few times over the past several years. Early on in my walk God impressed upon me how He provided a patch of land within Babylon for Jeremiah and would do the same for me. He's continued to provide within Babylon for me -- jobs that I can do in good conscience, while giving me confidence to turn away those I cannot (there have been many). That patch of land has shrunk through the years, but it has been made clear time and again that He uses us where we are. Where the heart is is much more important than where our feet are. God knows my heart is not in this industry, and that it hasn't been in some time. There is very little good about mainstream comics these days (I was blessed to see Darwyn's and Mark Waid's comments in Alec's post - maybe the Lord is doing something in their hearts - I hope so).

We have to divest of the world but it doesn't mean we leave physically ... that is, unless God says to do so. When it's time to leave (and I believe the time is coming for me), I trust in God to make it clear. It's easy to get caught up in the well-intended expectations of others, but we must each be led of God in these matters - not the reasoning of man ... even believing men.

I also think it's just as much a mistake for a believer to seek this job apart from God's clear leading. We (self included) can at times mistake our own desires in the flesh with what God is calling us to do. We have to be honest with God and with ourselves.

He is faithful!

God bless--

Lee
Lee Weeks said:
Matthew M. said:
Some great stuff in this post. However, I don't agree with Christian creators fleeing the mainstream business though. The only way to make things better is to take some action. What does running away do? What kind of impact could just a few Christian creators make within the business?

This is something I've wrestled with more than a few times over the past several years. Early on in my walk God impressed upon me how He provided a patch of land within Babylon for Jeremiah and would do the same for me. He's continued to provide within Babylon for me -- jobs that I can do in good conscience, while giving me confidence to turn away those I cannot (there have been many). That patch of land has shrunk through the years, but it has been made clear time and again that He uses us where we are. Where the heart is is much more important than where our feet are. God knows my heart is not in this industry, and that it hasn't been in some time. There is very little good about mainstream comics these days (I was blessed to see Darwyn's and Mark Waid's comments in Alec's post - maybe the Lord is doing something in their hearts - I hope so).

We have to divest of the world but it doesn't mean we leave physically ... that is, unless God says to do so. When it's time to leave (and I believe the time is coming for me), I trust in God to make it clear. It's easy to get caught up in the well-intended expectations of others, but we must each be led of God in these matters - not the reasoning of man ... even believing men.

I also think it's just as much a mistake for a believer to seek this job apart from God's clear leading. We (self included) can at times mistake our own desires in the flesh with what God is calling us to do. We have to be honest with God and with ourselves.

He is faithful!

God bless--

Lee
Lee,

I suggest you contact Art at Kingstone Comics. There might be a good fit there.

Ken Raney said:
Lee Weeks said:
Matthew M. said:
Some great stuff in this post. However, I don't agree with Christian creators fleeing the mainstream business though. The only way to make things better is to take some action. What does running away do? What kind of impact could just a few Christian creators make within the business?

This is something I've wrestled with more than a few times over the past several years. Early on in my walk God impressed upon me how He provided a patch of land within Babylon for Jeremiah and would do the same for me. He's continued to provide within Babylon for me -- jobs that I can do in good conscience, while giving me confidence to turn away those I cannot (there have been many). That patch of land has shrunk through the years, but it has been made clear time and again that He uses us where we are. Where the heart is is much more important than where our feet are. God knows my heart is not in this industry, and that it hasn't been in some time. There is very little good about mainstream comics these days (I was blessed to see Darwyn's and Mark Waid's comments in Alec's post - maybe the Lord is doing something in their hearts - I hope so).

We have to divest of the world but it doesn't mean we leave physically ... that is, unless God says to do so. When it's time to leave (and I believe the time is coming for me), I trust in God to make it clear. It's easy to get caught up in the well-intended expectations of others, but we must each be led of God in these matters - not the reasoning of man ... even believing men.

I also think it's just as much a mistake for a believer to seek this job apart from God's clear leading. We (self included) can at times mistake our own desires in the flesh with what God is calling us to do. We have to be honest with God and with ourselves.

He is faithful!

God bless--

Lee
For those who may not know, Lee currently draws for Marvel Comics (and occasionally handles writing chores), and has drawn for DC, Dark Horse, Eclipse, and other companies since the mid-1980s.

We've spoken often on this topic in person and on the phone. I've never once tried to coerce him to quit the mainstream, but have encouraged him to maintain a prayerful ear to discern God's voice, which he does. In my case, I left secular comics in 1999 (and illustrating for secular magazines and newspapers a few years after that), and the Lord has opened doors for me to write, illustrate, and publish Christian graphic novels which neither the secular nor Christian market would subsidize me to do. This may simply be our Lord's way of simultaneously keeping my options limited and also revealing His plan for me at this time in my life.

For me, my dream is already a reality: to produce godly, edifying, Full Gospel material that is not tainted by commercialism (the love of money) which has an indefinite 'shelf life' because it has an eternal message, and is suitable reading for young and old.

Finally, if we are indeed seeing the demise of print material, then, as Lee mentioned in a phone conversation the other day, the 'playing field' will indeed be made level again for a period of time. Digital books, with today's technology, will be equally easy for large companies and startups to promote and sell online. Indeed, with all these 'viral' attention getters obtaining rapid interest, the media moguls are at a loss to be trendsetters. It's grass roots time on the 'net, and will be shortly in the realm of digital publishing, which is very exciting for those who are ready to produce Christian comics in numerous languages for a global audience.

I dare say we can sell much larger numbers of quality books under these circumstances than Marvel or DC; after all, the recent Christian bookstore market is about ten times larger than the secular comics market in the U.S.

It's time to get your stuff ready.

Kind regards in Christ Jesus,

Alec Stevens
I think print will always be around because it doesn't need batteries. I always felt that print is also good for reaching third world countries with Gospel comics. Good thing is we can work digitally or digitalize the comics to make them available on digital media too.

I've also had the dream of producing comics that are Gospel-themed / Bible-based / biographical (eg. of missionaries). For some reason the Lord provided me a full-time job in visual effects for now (definitely not something I planned as I wanted to go into concept art and storyboarding, but was "coincidentally" trained for in school though I couldn't foresee it then).

Will keep seeking the Lord for His direction and timing. Already have some story concepts in mind.

Favian
I agree, Favian, that many nations in the "10/40 window" will continue for some time to use print media, but with low grade paper, not "prestige formats" by any stretch. For example, I've seen Christian comics from India which were on remarkably thin newsprint and which were black-and-white with one additional color. The lower quality printing made the evangelistic comics far more affordable for a largely impoverished nation.

I will keep this sort of thing in mind when and if I have an Indian ministry partner with me in reprinting SADHU SUNDAR SINGH (a bio of India's most famous Christian, and well-known in much of Asia) in a lower cost format.

At present, I'm establishing the beginnings of a line of non-fiction graphic novels---six are out, the seventh book is completed and slated for printing next spring, and I'm doing the preliminary work for the eighth---the first seven of which I intend for print (and perhaps the eighth, God-willing), and then I'll be pursuing the digital book market.

There are so many possibilities for material like this...once it's completed. When you're working full-time (like I am, teaching college art and art to homeschoolers), there aren't a lot of hours to waste; every moment counts.

Yours in Christ Jesus,

Alec
Alec, I was quite surprised to find a Sundar Singh comic when I first visited your site some time back. I have 2 of his biographies and his story is very fascinating, though I didn't think he would be very well known in the west. Have you read biographies of John Sung, the Chinese revivalist? During that period before the Cultural Revolution, God raised up great preachers like Wang Ming Dao, John Sung and Watchmen Nee for His work in China, and the fruit of their work survived the revolution and impacted the region, including the church here in Singapore.

I can totally understand the struggle of working full time and doing the Lord's work in this arena on the side and still maintaining a balanced lifestyle in other areas. Your zeal and focus is inspiring and provides a good reminder to be a good steward of my time and gifts.

Favian
Casting commercialism aside, I've prayerfully sought to illustrate the stories of anointed believers from different cultures who have been mightily used of God to win many to Christ, and to inspire others to avail themselves to be heroes of the faith, similarly be God-gripped vessels of recovery. Sadhu Sundar Singh was more famous in the early to mid-20th century in the western world, but many have recently been excited to learn of him. To the westerner, he is a very exotic and interesting character. There have been talks of a UK/India-produced film on his life and ministry for some time, and I pray it comes to pass.

I certainly know of Watchman Nee and Watchman Lee, as well as Hudson Taylor, founder of the China Inland Mission, and of Pastor Hsi, a former Confucian scholar in the mid- to late 1800s whose story would make a great graphic novel. He took on the name of "Sheng Mo" (conqueror of demons), and was raised up to pastor many Chinese churches in the decades prior to the Boxer Rebellion, and was even given Divine revelation to produce medicinal pills, coupled with prayer and fasting, to help opium smokers to break free of their addiction. In this area he was tremendously successful.

Years ago I once read riveting accounts of believers and missionaries in what is now North Korea; these stories took place in the decades prior to 1950. The devil has tried hard to put out that candle of faith there, but even now there is an underground church in North Korea (I've seen video footage of secret meetings) who loves the Lord Jesus Christ and is carrying the Gospel to their brethren.

All blessings in our Saviour,

Alec
Hey everybody its been a little while since I've posted around here-

Alec- those quotes were interesting- esp. the one from Darwyn Cooke. I think his name is respected for producing quality comics, even in the gay comics community- so I find the comment about a character being made a lesbian overnight as bold. Its good to know that people can recognize that as a bad writing tactic independent of making a political or ethical statement.

Frankly, I just don't enjoy the majority of comics today.

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