Saturday, December 29, 2007

One Banner #10: Creative Differences

Huh. Been a while since I drew that guy.
Up till now I’ve talked about why unity does not work, and still made it clear that I do not support complete unity, but haven’t said why. If there is any one overriding reason that Christian comic artists should not unify under one banner, one company, one ring to rule them all, it is creative differences. This issue is amplified by doctrinal differences, pride, artistic expression and ability.

Example: Artist A only wants to do comics about missionaries and bible adaptations- pure narrative documentaries, no artistic license. Artist B is okay with bible adaptations but wants to update the stories into a sci-fi setting. Artist A is offended that the characters are not wearing robes and sandals, and cites scripture as his defense. “The Bible doesn’t require updating,” Artist A would say. “The Bible is timeless and it doesn’t matter what they’re wearing,” Artist B would say. Then Artist C shows up and does a Bible comic, but fleshes out a scene with new and updated dialogue and character development. Now A & B think this is blasphemy, since scripture is being “changed,” but artist C thinks it’s cool because they’re still wearing sandals and robes.

Just down the road some guys don’t want to do Bible adaptations at all. They want to do superheroes struggling with Christianity (o but they’re wearing tights! The women look too hot and the guys need codpieces!). Or angels and spiritual warfare (most of which requires artistic license from a combination of scripture, tradition and imagination). Or end times (pre-trib trip? Pre-trip trib? Or any of a zillion interpretations of Revelations). Or superheroes and rock music combined (gag).

Then further on there’s a group doing comics with strong storylines but a more subtle spiritual message, more acceptable in the mainstream but less acceptable in the staunchy world of Christian marketing and churchface (because it involves, you know, thinking). And then there’s the downright irreverent, that have the nerve to make us laugh, to infer that, sometimes, Christians fart (it wasn't the dog) or act downright silly and/or obnoxious.

Take these differences and throw in religious conviction (aka self-righteousness most of the time) and you’ve got a melting pot that just won’t melt. Oh it’ll boil over a lot. But it won’t melt. Particularly where people have no ability to discern the difference between principle and preference.

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