Anyone interested in discussing ideas for a Christian comic. My thinking is to use stories from the Bible but place them into a sci-fi context (a Star Wars style universe) A good example would be David and Goliath set in a setting of a battle in space (i.e. the battle of Yavin)
Suggestions and feedback is welcomed!
I'm just gonna toss my 2-cents in...
Christian comics, in my opinion, need to move away from illustrated Bible stories, and into stories of their own with a Biblical message.
I cannot count how many Bible stories I have seen in comic form since I was a kid. Hundreds. Historic interpretations, fantastic interpretations, modern interpretations,etc., etc. It has become a Christian comic creator cliche.
...Again, in my opinion.
And, might I add, unbelievers will not read them. That's a general statement, yes, there my be one or two, but in general, they won't.
Christians need to spread the creative wings that the Lord has given them. Explore stories. Explore genres. Pour your heart into them. Pour the Gospel into them. Be free to show Christ in forms yet explored.
I admit, comic interpretations of the Bible is a pet peeve of mine, but only because I think Christians- who ought the be the MOST creative force on the planet- severely limit themselves by re-doing what has already been done countless times before.
Think outside the box.
And yet Bible comics are the best-selling Christian comics by far, Steve.
THE PICTURE BIBLE illustrated by Andre LeBlanc - 86 million units worldwide in over 140 different languages.
HEROES OF THE FAITH by Johnny Yngente - over 100 million copies worldwide.
HE LIVED AMONG US - 18 million copies in over 27 languages.
MANGA MESSIAH brought in over $125 million in 2006.
THE ACTION BIBLE (drawn by Sergio Cariello which cracked the top ten in U.S. Christian bookstores charts) sold over 200,000 copies.
Second thoughts? (with proceeds like that you could finance many a 'vanity project') ;)
Blessings in Christ,
Well, if this is true I stand corrected, though it would be interesting to see exactly who is buying these. Churches? Mission groups? Parents? Individuals? I can't imagine unbelieving comic fans are scooping them up. (I'm leaning towards churches and groups... just a hunch.)
I have two or three comic bibles, or illustrated stories from the Bible and I never look at them. (They were gifts.) Again, for me personally, I find the idea tired and done ad infinitum.
I would love to see Christians strike out into new creative territory.
Thank you for your reply's regarding the theme. I think I understand you Steve in reaching unbelievers. My thinking is to use the stories in the Bible as Christ used parables. Themes of love, friendship, justice, and so on can be done without reference to the Bible. But to place the stories from Scripture into different contexts (i.e. sci fi, western, present time, etc.) but not label them as stories from the Bible would allow people to approach without the negative preconceived notions about Christianity.
One can use the biblical stories as templates to speak authentically about Christ and to give a three-dimensionality to those stories.
I would like to ask in detail what your understanding of "new creative territory" might be?
I guess I'm thinking in terms of genre. That is, pouring the Christian worldview into new literary skins.
I look out at the secular marketplace, and I see a DAZZLING variety of story lines, genre combos, storytelling techniques, etc. I see GREAT creativity.
Not so much with the Christian marketplace. Maybe I'm just not looking in the right places, but I see very restricted, limited stories. Sometimes poorly written, or ssoooo predictably Christian it falls into cliche territory. (The film "Facing The Giants" comes to mind. Ugh.)
Not everything we write must give the Gospel, or re-tell the Bible, or have the main character be saved, or have angels with flaming swords. I believe we can do more than that.
Marcher Lord Press is doing this. Check them out.
I think back to when I was just saved. Music was a big part of my life. I came from the punk/metal scene, and when I accepted the Lord I knew I should start listening to Christian music, because some of the stuff I was listening to was pretty dark.
But man... when I started listening to what Christians handed to me as "cool", I was aghast! I remember being a bit depressed over it. The Sex Pistols, Social Distortion, Metallica, Ramones... that music spoke to me. Not even so much the lyrics, but the emotion, the power behind it. It was real, and raw. It made my heart pound! (Still does!)
What I saw in the Christian marketplace- bands like One Bad Pig- were just... silly knock-offs.
Christian music has changed a lot since the early 90's, but creatively, the world is still ahead.
Christian comics and literature are way behind from what I see, and until we get out of the creative trap that everything we do be a glorified tract we will continue to be relegated to the corners of the entertainment industry. Easily ignored, and regularly mocked.
As Christians- children of the Creator God- we should be leading the way creatively.
Books like "Les Miserables", and "Uncle Tom's Cabin"- yes, the message in these books is DISTINCTLY Christian- have had great impacts in the culture. THIS is what we should be aiming at.
What is the Christian equivalent of "The Watchmen", or "Maus", or "Atlas Shrugged", or "The Hunger Games"? MAN! I just feel there is so much creative opportunity!
That's a HUGE and lofty goal, and in no way am I even close to hitting it. But... someday. Who knows?
That's my hope.
4 (For the weapons of our warfare are not carnal, but mighty through God to the pulling down of strong holds;)
5 Casting down imaginations, and every high thing that exalteth itself against the knowledge of God, and bringing into captivity every thought to the obedience of Christ;
6 And having in a readiness to revenge all disobedience, when your obedience is fulfilled.
7 Do ye look on things after the outward appearance? if any man trust to himself that he is Christ's, let him of himself think this again, that, as he is Christ's, even so are we Christ's.
8 For though I should boast somewhat more of our authority, which the Lord hath given us for edification, and not for your destruction, I should not be ashamed:
15 Study to shew thyself approved unto God, a workman that needeth not to be ashamed, rightly dividing the word of truth.
38 Whosoever therefore shall be ashamed of me and of my words in this adulterous and sinful generation; of him also shall the Son of man be ashamed, when he cometh in the glory of his Father with the holy angels.
26 For whosoever shall be ashamed of me and of my words, of him shall the Son of man be ashamed, when he shall come in his own glory, and in his Father's, and of the holy angels.
Well, Steve, I'm not too excited by what I see in the secular arena, for the most part. Bad storytelling, wonky drawing, and overrendered computer color are the norm, even at the Big Two. Yes, there are exceptions, and those few exceptions are fine technicians as illustrators, but where are the Milt Caniffs or Joe Kuberts of storytelling today? That kind of craftsmanship is rarer now than then.
As for Bible comics, yes, those are accurate sales figures. In the juvenile marketplace in Christian bookstores, THE ACTION BIBLE actually hit #1 at its peak.
Something on the artsy side that I think will appeal to you: have you seen Rick Griffin's THE GOSPEL ACCORDING TO JOHN? Not a comic per se, but very creative imagery and design work. I think you'll enjoy it:
Blessings in Christ,
"...but where are the Milt Caniffs or Joe Kuberts of storytelling today?"
Too true. By the way, I just got this GREAT book on Caniff. (Check it out HERE.) LOVE IT!
But I still think the secular media- that is all entertainment media, not just comics- is far ahead of us in terms of creativity.
That shouldn't be.
As for the sale numbers, I don't doubt that they are accurate, but my question is WHO is buying those books? I'd love to see the stats.
Rick Griffin's stuff looks interesting. I'll look into it further.
Hmmm, well, I'm gonna have to side with Steve here...
Which, brings me to PURPOSE.
What's the purpose of "Christian" anything? To bring forth the Gospel (aka: the "Good News"), rite? Are there many ways of doin this? Of course.
I grew up in church, my whole life, and a lot of what I've read and owned, throughout my years, were "preachy" books or illustrated bibles... Now, illustrated bibles/stories DO have a purpose... it's helped me to learn and entertained me when i was younger.
Thing is, I'm not a child anymore. As you get older your tastes and perception changes...as did mine, and I wanted more. I already know the stories of The Beginning, Noah's Ark, Moses, David and Goliath, Samson, and, yes, even Jesus. Is it so bad to have another alternative that both ministers and entertains? No, it's not... And does it have to have a bunch of key characters from the bible? No, it doesn't... as long as it's not blasphemes or anything like that.
Does it make me ashamed of the Bible? no. But just cause its "Christian" doesn't mean its not gonna be boring or suck.
And what about the non-believers? Do you think they're gonna wanna read something blatantly preachy? 9/10 its a no. But if you give them something like C.S Lewis and you'll see them become more intrigued and entertained, as well as ministered to.
As for Creativity? Well, It's my opinion that Christianity has been finally gaining momentum when it comes to Art, both Visual and Performing, over the past several years. But I believe comic books we have a lot of catching up to do. If God has given us the ability to create, then we should do so with our best intention and for His glory.
And for godsakes, Most sales and best sellers has nothing to do with any of this!... just cause it sells well doesn't mean its doin its job.... although that ACTION BIBLE does look cool.
Aside from the contradictions... Again with the C.S.Lewis, C.S. Lewis is not Christian, that'd be like saying Man of Steel is Christian, it has Christ tropes in it, but it's not Christian. And again the same goes for Les Miserables, just having God in it does not make it Christian(especially not DISTINCTLY), you have to point to Christ -exalted! Muslims believe in a God, Judaism believes in God, even demons believe & tremble, and this is all outside of Christ(ian). Christian media has the Gospel, pointing to Jesus Christ as the only way, truth and life, to our heavenly Father. And just because it's made by a Christian doesn't make it Christian, call it Christian Created Content, but not Christian Content/media. If it exalts Jesus Christ it's Christian, otherwise it's just inconsequential similarities that can and will more than likely be misconstrued.
Exactly! There's nothing wrong with retelling Bible stories, but if we want to make roads into the world- reach people who are not interested in Bible stories with a message- we need to find new stories that show the different facets of God.
Stories that ring true, stories with real characters, stories that lift up righteousness, and possibily even stories that don't always end happily.
As a Christian who is very familiar with music, film, and literature I cannot set aside my standards simply because something is "Christian". I think the Christian market does that time and time again, and we are paying the price for it.
We are largely being ignored.
Thank you all for your input, I hope the conversation can continue as it will fuel creativity. I agree with you Steve regarding the need to go outside the themes of mainstream Christian literature and dwell into the mystery of God's love and grace as well as the depth's of the human imagination and psyche. I have a few ideas of my own but its very raw so I will need some time to craft it into coherence.
As for the mainstream comics (the big two) its really a rehashing of the early 90's with very little story (and even smaller circle of quality artists) everything is a conspiracy - governments are all evil, coverups, etc.
I think the comic world in general is in need of a creative revolution with stories that awe us as well as challenge us. Stories about spiritual growth, and not just useless action (violence) and 2 dimensional talk.
I do not think that God's word can be exhausted. There is always a new-ness to the gospel that can be told and re-told in many forms.