CCAS Events at Comic-Con

Apart from crowds, costumes, coffee and comics, there was something else at Comic-Con – Christians! I saw a flyer for CCAS (that’s Christian Comic Arts Society) on the always popular freebies table, so I had to go. The guys and girls from CCAS have been going to the Con for the last 12 years, shining the light. They have seen many Christian companies come and go during that time, but have been blessed enough to always get a table, and have continued growing in numbers. It’s encouraging to see such talented, humble believers using the gifts God has given them. The first of the three panels was entitled, “Spirituality in Comics,” and had an eclectic mix of panelists, including Captain Marvel expert and Alter-Ego writer, P.C Hamerlinck, Cory Edwards (writer/director of Hoodwinked and the upcoming Fraggle Rock: The Movie), Scott Wong (Brethren Entertainment) and Holly Golightly (Broadsword Comics). It was hosted by author Leo Partible. You gotta love the Con – where else would you find a bunch of Christians and a self-declared witch discussing the same topic?
There were plenty of laughs and light-hearted discussions all focused on the portrayal of spirituality within the medium of sequential art. The highlights included the love of Japanese artists for anything remotely religious to cram into their work. (The CEO of Squaresoft has apparently never read the Bible, but most of his video game designers get their information from the Internet and take what they like, thereby giving the world the dazzling mix of “nuns with guns.”) and the similarities between Emperor Palpatine and Oprah.

The biggest laugh however came when the panel was asked, “What is the main aim of spiritually based comics?” to which Holly replied, “To pay the rent.”

Saturday night was a time of networking and fellowship hosted by the CCAS team. We had a great time getting to know other believers and encouraging one another in our work. After prayer and a brief history of CCAS we mingled and laughed loudly for the next 3 hours. According to CCAS, this has been their most successful year with many visitors to their table on the showroom floor, lots of free comics given away and a host of new members joining the Society.

The last of the events was the CCAS panel hosted again by Leo Partible on Sunday morning. Writer/artist Robert Luedke (Eye Witness) gave a short, but inspiring sermon to the packed room, starting with the unusual question, “Do you smell?” This lead to an explanation of our aroma and whether we smell of life or death to the world around us. The panel also included Clint Johnson (Faith Walker), Robert H. Flores (CCAS), Jerrell Conner (Revelations: The Prophets), and Sergio Cariello (The Lone Ranger). Luedke mentioned that comics are the easiest way to share a message in a creative fashion, quoting creator Doug TenNapel (Earthworm Jim) who stated that he does not have access to millions of dollars to make a film, but is able to produce quality comics on a much smaller budget. The main thrust of the morning was a challenge to fellow Christian creators to identify their gifts and a way to use them. Luedke emphasised the fact that creative talents are spiritual gifts, while Cariello encouraged us to no be afraid of who God has created us to be, noting that often times, Christians can be stricter on themselves than God is. Both also mentioned that they don’t hide their faith from the mainstream press and have been bold in declaring their Christianity in interviews, with God blessing them for it.

The future of Christian comics looks to be in good hands. There are some genuinely exciting books out there and a number of mainstream artists working in The Big Two who are writers and artists of faith, all glorifying the Original Creator.