I've seen a lot of posts about people starting this company or story or whatever, but it would be nice to have them all in one place. We all have the overall vision of spreading God's Word... but truly what is your particular vision and what are you doing to get there?
This thread will be a good way to come together to know the endeavors of others and help and know what to pray about. Its time for these visions to become a reality and with all of us praying for one another it can happen :)
So what is my ultimate vision/goal? When I started Astria Legends (as a company) I wanted a vehicle to be able to take my story out of the box and present it in ways seldom seen. Using a mix of acting, spokenword, dance, art, and voice acting I could take the story and bring it to life (in ways right now you really only see in things like Disney on Ice or such like). I've already done a "live trailer" tour last year and am perfecting what I call one person "Interactive Presentations" which I demoed at a work conference a couple weeks ago. (and received a massive quantity of overall comments that it was 'the most creative thing I've ever seen...I've never seen anything like it')
Basically I want it to grow to become a brand... the live trailers and one acts bringing "Disney on Ice" and beyond type works to places that don't normally have them and also a way to get the story and God's Word out to the public. The VISION is for this to become so known for the company that I can help other Christians with powerful stories bring them to life too. I just have to create that foundation with God's help (as He has been molding and shaping this vision for years now).
My vision for my own story series? To really dive deep into sin and the destruction it causes, how to fight it, and what happens when you fall into it. (separating the Sin and the Sinner) Also that your choices are powerful and can have dire effects on those around you, even ones that you will never meet.
These are some impressive visions! May God empower and guide them, as worship to him and encouragement to others.
Over a decade ago I had a hunger to storytell for Jesus. I had experienced some of the most powerful lessons about God's intents and nature from secular-themed fiction, so for me the thematic field was wide open. I wrote and sketched, improving my craft because a sacrifice to God should never be haphazard, but my soul, my family, and my job came first.
About four years ago I was looking for a field of adventure to storytell in; fantasy and science fiction themes appeared to be pretty well covered by some quality graphic storytellers. However I lived near a California mission town, and I found the historical collision of Fransican missionaries with native cultures to be rife with tension and loss and self-sacrifice.
As I pursue this goal I'm continually checking in on responsibilities I've taken on, and asking my God if I should increase, maintain or decrease my commitment to this vision.
To counter the harmful effects of religious legalism present in Christian communities, through a fictional story in a very secular medium (graphic narrative). Also to show thoroughly rounded female characters who do not fit into the current norms depicted in comics. Also, to tell a good solid superhero story.
I can't help but notice what people think of Christians. Anti-gay, ultra-conservative, anti-progress, anti-humanitarian, anti-equality... The American culture and media at large believes utterly in this anti-, ultra-, extremist perception of Christianity, to the extent that many people who identify themselves as Christian also believe it and act accordingly. They believe that to be Christian is to spend their entire lives straining to separate themselves from the world and be "better" than everyone else. This belief manifests itself as legalism.
Now for the irony. Jesus Christ, whom Christians are supposed to form a relationship with and strive to become like, reserved some of his harshest words and severe warnings for a sect of very religious Jews known as Pharisees. This isn't racism - Jesus himself being Jewish, of course. No, his problem with the Pharisees was their legalism and arrogance. They piled rules on top of rules until it was impossible for ordinary people to follow them all. They searched God's law for ways to put other people down and elevate themselves. And they did not preach or demonstrate forgiveness or redemption, which is the cornerstone of Christianity.
Modern-day Pharisees are legalists. These so-called Christians use "faith" as an excuse to promote a hateful, intolerant worldview that is anti everything and hardly mentions Jesus, except to portray him as a god of condemnation.
I'm quite tired of it. In the past, legalists have howled and raged against great Christian authors who have dared include fantasy elements in their works, such as magic, fairies, and fauns. They have a stranglehold on the Christian publishing industry, which publishes romance novels devoid of any mention or implication of sex, even between married couples, and which is populated by some of the most insipid YA novels I have ever read. Legalists are also behind those loathsome tracts - little comic-like booklets which exploit every example of religious ridiculousness known to mankind, many of which outright contradict each other while perpetuating lies about every faith. Christian comic books are rare, and prone to the same disease of insipid writing and second-rate plots and characterization that plagues Christian YA.
All this is to say that I am writing and illustrating a perfectly normal graphic novel which deals with a flawed, super-powered young woman doing her best to overcome a terrible past and escape the future that was planned for her. She chooses Christianity as her path, and struggles to apply the principles of her new faith to her complicated circumstances. Her ability to control a plasma energy field around her body is not based on her faith (ugh) but can be equally effective for good or evil. In fact, her abilities are especially prone to destroying everything around her.
Redemption was easy. It's discernment that is her primary struggle.
This, I believe, is how Christians operate in real life. Salvation and redemption is simple, unlike how it is portrayed in some very Catholic-flavored mainstream comics (such as Constantine.) You can't lose salvation.
However, screwing up is a very real possibility. Most Christians do go through a legalistic phase, and many become complacent and neglect to do the works which they were created for. This leads to the literary idiocy I mentioned before. I don't want to create a "secular" comic that ignores the realities of faith. I don't want to create a comic that romanticizes, exaggerates, and misrepresents a faith for the sake of the plot. I don't want to create a comic that turns Christianity into a sunshine-and-roses happily-ever-after guarantee. So for my young hero, I want her to struggle with her power, her faith, and her world in ways that are true-to-life and don't flinch from some of the uglier realities and possibilities.
I want her to also counter some of the equally ridiculous examples in mainstream comics which depict females as either sex kittens or victims. This is silly. Women can be fully realized characters with their own perfectly valid agendas and methods, and they don't have to show their breasts, butts, or both in order to do that. I'd like to counter objectification with characterization. She is a person first, and her identity as a Christian, a woman, a super-powered freak, a daughter, and a refugee from abuse are all part of that. There are legalists who don't believe she's "really a Christian" because they know about her past and her current struggles. There are people from her past who pit themselves against her faith and tell her she's being selfish, or thinks she's too good for them, or that her hope is false. There are people who accept her and those who can't figure her out. All this amid having to make restitution for her previous crimes, working out a solution between a safe house and probation, and an alien invasion and other crises superheroes must avert.
If this comic does actually reach people and succeed in creating a realistic portrayal of Christian faith in action in a superhero universe, and succeeds in promoting the message that anyone can be saved no matter what they've done, I think that would qualify as a bona fide miracle. I think I'd be satisfied if I just manage to create a good solid story and portray Christianity accurately at the same time. In the long term, I would like my work to become part of the case against allowing legalists to set the standards of Christian publishing.
As a Christian, I answer to God Himself for what I do, so I am highly motivated to do it right. Any success I see will be because God has approved, and if there isn't any, then God must be limiting the damage :) I will strive not to go beyond Biblical precedent in my plot, but that gives me quite a lot of latitude.
Hi. I think this sounds great...I would love to share my vision as a painter trying to communicate in a non religious way. I would love to share more