Christian Comic Arts Society

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

*I originally wrote this mostly as a reply to someone else's post, but I thought it was worth repeating in a blog.

I think if you are a Christian and a storyteller, you don't have to turn your writing into a superficial representation of Christianity. A good story is a good story, and it does its job whether you emblazon crosses all over it or not. 

I remember when I worked as the Acquisitions Editor for a small Christian publishing house in Chicago, we were often sent piles of trite, unimaginative Christian manuscripts by authors wanting to get published. It was always a retold bible story, or a prairie romance where a midwestern woman falls in love with a pastor (seriously!), or (MAYBE) a desperate attempt to copy CS Lewis's Narnia books or Screwtape Letters.

There was/is a desperate lack of imagination in the Christian world---and to an extent a fear of the imagination. So many people are afraid to think outside the box for fear of what their fellow Christians might say, because it does not beat everyone over the head with basics, in the same ways they've already heard it told 10,000 times before.

And yet, we serve a God who created the world and everything in it. Drink that truth in for a second. Not only that, we were made in his image---in the image of the One who created all the vast varieties of everything in existence! God burst forth with wild creative energy, and we are meant to be like him.

We are redeemed, forgiven, and loved---we should be the boldest wildest most imaginative people out there. There is no need for mediocrity among God's people.

Jesus talked about farming and fishing and a woman who lost her money, and only later did he explain to his disciples what his stories meant in relation to God.

In the same way, you can tell stories with super heroes, or spaceships, or dragons--with no overt mention of God, and yet God can certainly use it (think about The Hobbit, for example!). The pharisees in the church won't like it, but who cares? Let them criticize your work unjustly, and he will honor you.

I try to emulate CS Lewis: Some of my work is back-door evangelism, like Chronicles of Narnia, knocking on the door of the heart before reaching the head. I also do some projects that are more like front-door evangelism--some overtly Christian stuff mainly for edifying other believers. 

My superheros--that is all back door stuff. Completely subtle and under the radar; not directly marketed as a Christian Comic--but the spirit of Christ who dwells in me leaves his mark on my work.

BTW: I'm going to re-release my superhero comic in about a month or so. I will let you know when it is out. There are no crosses or direct mentions of God; but lots of deep theological truths are at play in the core of the story. I hope that you like it.

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Comment by Tom Montgomery on July 21, 2017 at 9:43am

I was looking at my old art yesterday, and an amazing parallel came to mind. I noticed that the shadows were all really stark. There were no blurred lines and no subtlety in my drawing, and frankly, it looked bad.

A combination of stark bold lines and blurred smooth transitions works best I think, both in visual art and in storytelling. This is what real life looks like, and this is how to make your art more like real life. Leave some room for imagination; leave some edges undefined.

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Did you know that CCAS has monthly meetings in the Los Angeles area? Contact Eric Jansen for more info!

 

Also, members of CCAS have produced the APAzine ALPHA-OMEGA for over 25 years!  We have about five openings right now!  Contact Eric Jansen for more info!  (This is a 30-member active-participation-only photocopied magazine for Christian writers and artists who submit a "trib" every other month for fun, fellowship, and critiques by other members.  Between postage and your photocopying costs, you might pay anywhere from $5 to $25 per issue.)

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