"Comics are a gateway drug to literacy"
In my last entry, I talked about why I'm focusing so much on Spiritual Warfare in this series. Now I want to discuss why I chose comics as the way to tell this story I'm so passionate about.
First and foremost I absolutely LOVE comics, or sequential art for all you fancy people out there. In my opinion the sequential art form is one of the best, if not THE best way to tell a story. The form is visual in nature much like film or theater, however this form of visual storytelling has an element that the other two do not. It's not controlled by time. You can literally keep your eyes on one panel for however long you wish. In that way, it is truly art with words or even sometimes without words. Much like one would gaze at an art piece in a museum and be moved by it's beauty or find a story within one painting on a wall in a gallery; so much can be said with one picture. As I said before, there are times in sequential art that words are not necessary. The art itself tells the story.
As an artist, this form of storytelling fascinates me and allows my imagination to roam through the pages. I enjoy prose narrative of course for similar reasons, but there's nothing quite like allowing your eyes to take their time on one page of a comic or graphic novel which in turn allows the art to come alive and sometimes tell an even deeper story than the words on the page can tell.
Ever since I was a kiddo I've loved comics. Like most kids, I was fascinated with super heroes like Batman and Superman as well as non traditional heroes like The Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles. Luckily for me, I was a 90's kid. So I was blessed with having amazing animation that had dual level storytelling AND excellent comic books growing up. Both helped me fall in love with visual story telling. As I grew up, comic books began offering more than they previously did in generations past. Neil Gaiman, Alan Moore, and Frank Miller had paved the way for more edgy, non traditional comics like Spawn and the rest of the Image Comics line that eventually spawned (pun intended) the hit comic series The Walking Dead.
During this time comics started taking themselves more seriously and so did the mainstream media.
Now we find ourselves in a time where nerds reign supreme in mainstream media. It's an awesome time to be a comic book nerd!!! We have movies breaking records, comics being taught in colleges, and just about every type of nerd outlet you'd wish for.
So I say all that to say this: Comics are a legitimate and unique way of telling stories that shape our culture and make us see things differently. Comics have such a rich past and a VERY promising future in story telling.
So...why does Memoirs of an Angel need to be a comic book series?
In short, it doesn't. In fact it was almost a prose novel series. The biggest reason I chose to tell this story in comics is because of how much I love the medium. It truly is, as I said before, perhaps the best way to tell a story to a visual world (and make no mistake, we are a visual world). Another reason I chose to create this world in comic book form is because I love the comic book culture. Over the last few years of getting into the indie comic creating crowd, I've met some awesome friends that I wouldn't trade for the world. Also, as a Christian, I've noticed that Christianity and it's message of Christ has nothing of substance to offer this crowd. As a comic book reader I can honestly say there might be one "Christian comic" that I enjoy.
If I set the bar really low.
But that's only because as someone coming from the Christian perspective, I understand and cherish the message the creator(s) is trying to tell. Someone who rejects Jesus and Christianity altogether will look at it and scoff because...well...the storytelling and artwork usually sucks. Plus most of the time "Christian comics" don't tell a story, they preach at you...and not very well.
Now don't worry, I'm not labeling Memoirs as a "Contemporary Christian Comic" (CCC) by any means. You will probably never see this series on the shelves of the Family Christian Bookstore because it's not family friendly by any means, nor will it ever be. It's meant to tell the gritty side of my faith. The stuff no one wants to talk about. The spiritual warfare aspect for sure can get dark and gritty, but I'm not even really talking about that. I'm talking about real problems that people face. Real issues and questions that need to be dealt with and addressed like, what happens when God seems non existent? Where is He is this world full of pain and suffering? If God is real and all good, then why do bad things happen to good people and good things happen to bad people? Clearly there is much pain and suffering so if there is a God then He must not be all powerful, right? What about depression? What about fighting your personal demons that keep you awake in the middle of the night and you feel like no one, not even (or especially) God (if there is one) would give a crap if you died right then and there.
I know I'm getting a little intense and that's intentional. I want to show people that the Christian worldview addresses these issues well and not superficially. However I don't just want to do what most CCC's do and address issues without telling a good story. I want to tell a real story about truly deep characters that you will fall in love with and/or absolutely love to hate. I want to dive deep into the behind the scenes of our world and get a glimpse at the deep shadows that haunt our lives and the warriors of light that boldly face them.
And I want to do all of this through a story telling medium that I am extremely passionate about. I want to capture this story through artwork that honors my two loves as a child: animation and comics.
So as we continue on with the series, I hope you, too, enjoy this ongoing horror/fantasy epic told through the sequential art medium.
Until next time,