I pray all is well. For today’s interview we have Ken Raney. For 25 years Ken was an Advertising/Marketing Manager for a fairly large manufacturer and managed a staff of 5 which included writers, designers, and an in-house photographer. He was laid off in February 2009 and felt the Lord leading him to start his own business. He started 2 corporations: Clash Creative, Inc. which is a design and illustration business and Clash Entertainment, Inc. which is an entertainment/portal website for Christian teens and tweens.
When did you first get into comics as a reader/fan? As a writer/artist/creator?
I discovered comics when I was in high school when I bought a box of Marvel comics from a classmate. I was very inspired by the artwork and of course started to produce my own crude comics. You know, magic marker and colored pencils on typing paper.
Why comics? What do you like most about this medium?
I really admire creativity and the artwork in comics are very creative. I do not read current comics, however, as I find them to be mostly soft-core pornography.
Say a little about the project(s) you have worked on in the past (if any), and what they were about?
I’ve been working for Kingstone Comics for about 4 years now. I do some graphic design, retouching, and production management for them. My company Clash Creative produced one comic for Kingstone called Martyrs. Also, we have produced 2 comics for The Voice of the Martyrs. The first one was entitled Hope Amid Horror and was the true story of persecution in Indonesia in the year 2000 and was released in 2010. The second book is Rescue the Captors.
What format(s) do you prefer for telling your stories (e.g., on-going series, mini-series, one-shot, graphic novel, etc.) and why?
I’m an illustrator, not a cartoonist. I like the single image. The little comics work I have done just showed me that it is not for me.
What sources of information and inspiration have helped you along the way?
I love movies and magazines. Anything with pictures.
Say a little about how you’ve been able to communicate your faith through your project(s)? What has that process been like? How has it evolved over the years?
The Lord has blessed me in that since I started Clash, I have worked with almost exclusively Christian companies. I had been searching for ways to use my gifts for the Lord and it seems that so far He has a use for me.
What advice would you give to other Christians who are considering making comics?
Like anything else, follow the Lord’s leading. I think in most cases, if you have a passion for something, and you seek to follow Jesus, he will lead you in ways that will be even better than you planned. Now, it is important to develop the talents He has given us. We should seek to be excellent in anything we do, and to do it for the Lord even if it is for a secular company. Also, I think it is important to take a stand for Jesus and not compromise with His Word. Even if it means having to turn down a job or project we would otherwise love to do.
Are there any future projects you are working on, or would like to work on?
Sure. Don’t we always have a list of projects we’d like to do? I have been working on a middle-reader story entitled “The Forever Quest” for about 39 years. I even had a book contract at one time, but it fell through. I’m still seeking the Lord as to where that project might be going. Currently I am pitching a middle reader novel series that Peter Leavell and I have created. It is called “Dino Hunters” and we are considering it an “apologetics adventure”.
What is your take on the current state of Christian or Christian-themed comics? What, if anything, would you like to see more of in the future? What, if anything, would you like to see done differently?
Kingstone has done something no one else has been able to pull off, but even at that, it’s a tough row to hoe. Comics themselves are a niche in publishing, and then Christian comics appeal to an even smaller audience. I think it is very important to follow the leading of the Holy Spirit in whatever we do. He will bless it, but it may not be a success in terms of profits, sales figures, etc. Perhaps success will be measured with a different metric.
What is the best way for people to contact you, and to read/purchase your work?
And that is a wrap! Be sure to support Ken’s work and spread word! Also share this interview, and be on the lookout for #99!