CARTOONING/COMICS AND GAMING INDUSTRY NEWS
CHRISTIAN FORUMS PRESENTED AT COMIC-CON 2019
From left, Christian comics presenters Kyle Keene, Scott Mercano, Travis Hanson, B Dave Walters, Goldie Chan and Hector Miray. Originally published July 17, 2019.
▶ BY KEVIN SCOTT COLLIER
Christians are descending upon Comic-Con International: San Diego on July 19 for a weekend of events addressing faith in comic books. The San Diego convention is expected to attract 125,000 visitors per day. The Christian comics forums and presentations are hosted in partnership by The Christian Comic Arts Society (CCAS) and Rooted Chronicles. Three events are scheduled as part of the official Comic-Con programming to be located in the Small Press area (#P-08).
The weekend kicks off with the 12th annual Christian Comic Arts Society Mixer on Friday July 19, 2019, from 8:30pm – 10:00pm, Room 26AB. This 12th annual mixer of the CCAS presents Christian professionals in the comic book entertainment and education fields. The panelists, Joe Queen, Hector Miray, Scott A. Shuford, Eric Jansen, Mario DeMatteo and Luis Serrano, will discuss their faith and interact with the attendees.
On Saturday, July 20, from 7:00pm – 8:00pm, in Room 4, the topic is Spiritual Themes in Comics. The forum, moderated by Kyle Keene, addresses spiritual themes in comics, television, and movies. The panelists, Scott Mercano, Travis Hanson, B. Dave Walters, Hector Miray and Goldy Chan, explore how spirituality influences the entertainment industry and in turn impacts the culture’s perception of spiritual influences. This is the 23rd year of the Spiritual Themes in Comics panel.
On Sunday July 21, 2019 from 10:00am – 11:00am, the 22nd annual Open Meeting of the CCAS takes place. Moderated by Kyle Keene, Christian professionals in the entertainment and education fields discuss their faith and how it influences them in their professions, their decisions, and the creative process. Panelists include Sergio Cariello, Carmi Greene, Hector Miray, Luis Serrano, Joe Queen, and Mario DeMatteo.
“Every year, Comic-Con International is a great time of fellowship and outreach centered around our love of all things comics related,” Scott A. Shuford, CCAS Board Member & CEO of FrontGate Media, told CM. “The Christian Comic Arts Society will give out thousands of Bibles and tracts through our three events and in our booth, but more importantly, we'll spend quality time with other pros and fans.”
Event panelist Hector Miray, pastor of Vertical Church, which operates three locations in North Carolina, sees a changing comics industry that remains important as a tool to minister the Gospel.
“The comics industry may be changing, but it's still vital,” Rev. Miray told CM. “It's the groundwork and ground breaking of the stories that shift and entertain our culture.”
Rev. Miray, who is the author of the popular Faith & Fandom book series, explained the talented Christian community today has a lot to offer, but faith shouldn't be forced on people.
“It should also not be ignored [either], like not acknowledging it makes it go away,” he said. “The faith elements of mainstream comics like Batman, Domino, Firefly, Daredevil, etc. have made these stories more rich, vivid and beautiful. If you remove all elements and representation of faith in these stories, you are robbing the richness of the stories, as well as the reader.”
Event panelist Kyle Keene recalls a time when select Christians had issues with comics crossovers, thus appreciates the fellowship aspect of the event.
“It’s good to see Christians engaging with comics and popular culture in such positive ways. There has been a lot of negative, reactionary responses from some Christians over the years,” Keene said. “I think fear-based responses like that do little to share the heart of what this religion is really about. I’d rather see creators and fans celebrating shared joy.”
Like Rev. Miray, Keene cites Daredevil as a comic book that presents faith in action.
“I like seeing a character like Daredevil, whose religion moves him to protect those in need,” he said. “This sort of example in and out of comics can only serve to build bridges and bring shares understanding.”
Event panelist Mario DeMatteo stated he is “stoked” to be a contributing factor in the Christian comic industry as he’s heard from families who have expressed to him their frustration with the lack of high quality wholesome content available. DeMatteo is the creator and co-writer of Paul, the Apostle: Graphic Story Bible, released last September by Broadstreet Publishing Group LLC.
“There is a huge hunger for high quality Christian comics and graphic novels, especially for the middle grade market,” DeMatteo said. “The growing love for graphic novels is definitely spreading into Christian households across the country. It is an important industry to serve. If we as Christians can strive for excellence in storytelling and art, I am confidant the major publishers in the Christian market will embrace our projects."
CCAS will be featuring book signings and giveaways throughout the weekend at their booth, #P-08. For more information on the Comic-Con International: San Diego, go to the Comic-Con homepage.
CHRISTIAN GAME DEVELOPERS CONFERENCE A HIT
Video game producer Jeff Neet, CEO of Pixel Pug, is one of this year's presenters at the Christian Game Developers Conference. Originally published July 19, 2019.
▶ BY KRISTEN COLLIER
The Christian Game Developers Conference (CGDC), at Lewis and Clark College, Portland, Oregon, this year, on July 18 -20, brings “light and salt to one of the most influential industries of the 21st century.”
Video game producer, Jeff Neet, CEO of Pixel Pug in Loveland, Colorado, led a group Thursday, July 18, for a two hour session in what is known as a Design Sprint, which is normally a five-day process geared at reducing risk when bringing a new product to market. Potential problems are solved by answering design questions, with prototyping, and customer testing, so that they “become opportunities for solutions, and to aid in the flow of ideation,” Neet told CM.
Neet said this process was very helpful when he and his Pixel Pug team created a game for Intellivision this year that is set to be released in October, 2020.
Neet’s primary goal at this lecture was to help industry professionals learn how to create a game using this design sprint model.
“The CGDC occurs every year, and each year it brings wonderful opportunities to connect and network with others in the video game industry," he said.
Clopas game designer, Michael Alan Herrera, told CM, “As an organization, it is truly amazing to see God’s hand at work in the Christian developers whom He draws near Him. We pray that the conference [CGDC] will continue to serve those in our community, help build the Kingdom, and provide a venue for edification in the Christian game space.”
On Friday, July 19, Amin Josua delivered a presentation titled “Communication of the Gospel in a Video Game: a Multiperspective Discourse.” Other conference topics include Erin Marantette on “Cross-Discipline Character Design,” Thomas Henshell on “Generating Believable 3d Dungeons with AI,” and Ryan Vandendyck on “Publishers: Pitfalls and Potential.”
Jeff Neet is available to those in the video game industry looking for a Design Sprint Facilitator. He can be contacted via email here.
TRUTH FOR YOUTH BIBLE 'COMIC BOOK' GIVEAWAY
▶ BY CREATIVE MOTION
The National Truth for Youth Bible Week on American Family Radio will kick off on August 12 and runs through the 16th. Evangelist Tim Todd of Revival Fires International, located in West Monroe, Louisiana, partners with AFR annually for the event, which gives away a Truth For Youth Bible that is a 100-page full-color comic book.
“Comics are an excellent communication tool,” Todd said. “Young people already read them, and the high quality Truth for Youth comics are designed to appeal to teens. Comics are a natural for bringing the Good News of Jesus Christ to young people an they are the world's most widely read form of popular literature. Prior to giving his life to the Lord, Nate Butler, our Truth for Youth cartoonist/artist produced artwork for such clients as DC Comics, Archie Comics, Marvel Comics and has worked on many internationally known characters.”
Check for local American Family Radio affiliate to listen in and participate.
Revival Fires International gives away thousands of these illustrated bibles free to youth in high schools. The purpose is to put God’s word into their hands so they can pass them along to a friend in school. The entire effort is being supported by donations.
The goal is to get the books into the hands of our youth in the hopes our nation will turn around and "seek first the kingdom." Over the years, due to the annual event, young people by the thousands have received Christ after a friend gave them a Bible from Truth for Youth.