Four years in…and we’ve finally arrived at the 100th interview! It is a blessing to kick off this moment with former teacher and current pastor Ralph Miley, a trailblazing pioneer in comics for over 20 years.
I’m done talking. On to the awesomeness!
When did you first get into comics as a reader/fan? As a writer/artist/creator?
I got into comics as a fan back in 1963 when my brother bought me my first comic, Fantastic Four #23.
Why comics? What do you like most about this medium?
It weaves dramatic imagery into visual storytelling. Also, superheroes are portrayed on a grandiose scale that combines fantasy, science fiction, and mythology.
What project(s) are you currently working on?
Most of my time is taken up with the Christian Comic Arts Society
(CCAS) and our presence at conventions like the San Diego Comic Con, Phoenix Comic Con, and Wonder Con in Anaheim, California. And CCAS
is hosting its 2nd Christian comic con called the Alpha Omega Con
in Southern California on September 19th.
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 prefer graphic novels because of their inherent long shelf life as opposed to waiting each month for the next issue of my favorite title to come out.
What sources of information and inspiration have helped you along the way?
Being a part of CCAS
has been an invaluable help to me. Being around comic book fans that love Christ is encouraging. Many of those friendships have spanned over decades.
The major source that has influenced my life is the Bible. I hope that God’s Word guides me in all my decisions, including my creative ones. Other books that I have enjoyed are Understanding Comics and Making Comics by Scott McCloud. Seeing the works of my Christian brothers and sisters is also a source of inspiration.
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?
When I get the time to focus on art projects, I use the superhero medium as a conduit to express my faith in Christ. Kevin Yong and I produced a book titled Ragged Capes
in which we used superheroes as allegories to articulate Christian themes.
Last September you helped organize the first annual Alpha – Omega Con (AO Con) in southern California. Say a little about the purpose of the convention and the major highlights.
Lord willing, we are praying that this year’s AO Con
be even more successful. We have a great lineup of guests that includes Sergio Cariello (Action Bible
), Butch Hartman (Fairy Odd Parents
), and Vic Mignogna (Dragonball Z
). Our first objective with the AO Con
is based on the realization that comic conventions were growing, and we thought it was the right time to have a Christian themed comic convention. We believe that the AO Con
provides a venue for Christian creators and fans to come together because they have Christ in common as well as the entertainment field. The first AO Con
seemed to reinforce our belief that Christians enjoy talking comics with other Christians.
Second, we want to provide an atmosphere where people who don’t know Christ can see Christians in a different light. Having a presence at the major conventions have allowed CCAS
to provide a different perspective of Christians outside the view that is commonly associated with Christians. The AO Con
is another vehicle to showcase how diverse Christians are.
Third, we want to introduce the Christian community to an aspect of that community of which they may be totally unaware. Though CCAS
has been at the San Diego Comic Con for 18 years, Christians come to the CCAS
table every year saying that they didn’t know Christian comics existed. The AO Con
is a venue to introduce Christians to a part of their family they didn’t know of before.
What advice would you give to other Christians who are considering making comics?
I would encourage them to network with other believers when working on projects. They can go to CCAS
to connect with other Christians.
Are there any future projects you are working on, or would like to work on?
Kevin Yong and I have almost completed our 2nd issues of the New Visions
anthology and Ragged Capes
. We hope to have them available by the end of the year.
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?
The past few years have proven to be very successful for Christian comics. The Action Bible
has been a HUGE success for Thomas Nelson. Kingstone Comics
by publisher Art Ayris
is another success story. And there may be other comic book projects coming the next year. I am very hopeful for the future of Christian comics, but unless the Lord builds the house, they that labor on it, build it in vain
. I would like to see a greater unity among the body of Christ in the comics field. Will we all agree? Not in this life, but we can still love each other as Christ commanded.
What is the best way for people to contact you, and to read/purchase your work?
There you have it! Make sure to check out the comics (Ragged Capes
is one of my all time favorites), as well as stay updated on the second annual AO Con