A Few More “Reboot” Details

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As part of the recent “Reboot” for Nickel Boy Graphics, I began reworking some of the initial comic strips beginning with Laser Eyes Jesus. This was partly to make them fit into a new format that would work better across all of the comic strips (some funny, some serious), but also to align them better with my first goal: “Present the Gospel in a way that is visually connected with our times.”

Some of the reworking involved editing each multiple panel comic strip into a single comic panel that still had a touch of humor while giving the reader something to consider. So far I’ve been able to tie each of these to one of “The Five BIG Questions” that were selected as part of the “Reboot.”

The new square format, somewhat shortened dialogue, and absence of any additional commentary as you’d find in WordPress have worked well with Instagram, allowing me to reach a new audience. These are also being shared on the Nickel Boy Graphics page on Patreon (with commentary) as everything previously there was scrapped as part of the “Reboot.”

Anyway, you may want to flip through this slideshow, particularly if you are a new reader. These are going all of the way back to the beginning of the Laser Eyes Jesus comic strips! There are only three, so you can get a small sample from the very beginning.

Before closing, I’d like to thank the group Christian’s In Motion for providing support for this project through my Patreon page. In fact, they recently started their own page on Patreon as well. The work that they are doing is great (especially videos and podcasts), and I really appreciate the renewed enthusiasm that their support has given me! Thank you so much, Christians In Motion! Please be sure to check out what they have to share on both WordPress and Patreon!

“Of Goats And Emerods (With Apologies To John Steinbeck Fans)”

One of my favorite summertime novels were those of John Steinbeck. For quite a few years, I would read a different one each summer. So the title and some of the wording today is just a fond reflection of those summers. I’ve always appreciated the way a good novel can capture what it means to experience life.

When you sort through all of the gobbledegook and gibberish that has been cobbled together by Flamethrower Mommy, you’re really left with just a lot of what it means to experience death. So I’m not going to touch any of that! (In other words, I’m avoiding all of that like I would avoid a plague. Not even a cartload of golden mice and golden emerods would get me started down that path!)

What I would like to focus on instead is how Flamethrower Mommy uses words that are filled with death. Many of us may be carrying around similar messages. “This must have happened to me because I did something wrong” is one that seems very common. Along with that is “There must be something wrong with me. I’m a goat, not a sheep” is also another one that sneaks into our minds and disrupts our peace. (Instead of “goat,” substitute any negative label or stereotype.) Statements like this put the focus on self, not Jesus.

I also have a feeling that the best way to make changes in my life is to focus on Jesus, not on myself! As backwards as that sounds, it just might be right, especially when I realize that most days I don’t know what to change or how to change!

The question that began this comic strip is a simple one which comes from John’s Gospel. “Do you believe that Jesus is who he says he is?” It is very similar a question that appears in the other three Gospels. “Who do you say that I am?”

But I think the slightly different wording to the question in John’s Gospel works well with the miracle that follows.

Jesus said to her, “I am the resurrection and the life; he who believes in Me will live even if he dies, and everyone who lives and believes in Me will never die. Do you believe this?” John 11:25-26 (NASB)

And then Lazarus comes out of the tomb! He is raised from the dead! In other words, it is very important that you also believe what Jesus says about himself. Believing what He says about Himself brings life, not death!

Just as there are seven titles for Jesus in John Chapter One, throughout John’s Gospel, there are also seven “I Am” statements like this one. Each one is Jesus saying who He is. Each one brings life, not death. More on that list in a separate post!

In the meantime, focus on life. Focus on who Jesus says He is, not on what other people think you are or say you are.

A Listmaker’s Dream!

It just didn’t seem right to leave Laura out! She just had to have a chance to answer the mysterious interviewer’s question!

Her list will be posted later, but for now, I thought that there may be a few readers who would like to ponder where Laura is going with this and which chapter of which book of the Bible she’s talking about!

“The BIG Five!”

Part of this “REBOOT” has been to examine the questions that I’ve been using, and it occurred to me that it just really might be a good idea to take a look at the questions that Jesus asked. (I know, brilliant, right?!?) As a result, I’ve put together five questions that I want to use to guide what I present here. These are similar to goals in that respect.

And who is better than Laura Wilson to present a list of questions?!? (Hopefully you realize there’s a touch of satire here in the suggestion that Laura’s Summertime Fruit Salad” is more important than her Bible Study List! So 1950’s, right?!?)

I can’t really say that these are “The Best” of all the questions Jesus asked, just that they are the ones that resonate most with me. My encouragement to you is to seriously try making your own list, even if Bible study is not one of your favorite things. You will have your own “The Best” which may even change over time.

Here’s maybe the easiest Bible studies that you’ll ever do! Just pick one of the gospels. Look for question marks. (You don’t even need to read the words yet! Just look for the question marks!) Read the question. If Jesus is asking it, you’ve got one! You don’t even need to know the context most of the time. The questions are that good.

Yes, that’s a lot like “cheating” on Bible study, but seriously it’s not a bad way to get started, particularly if it’s something that you don’t particularly like to do or even dread doing. I’m almost positively sure you’ll find a question that speaks to you in a deep and personal way, and then you’ll want to read more rather than feeling like you have to read more.

My personal favorite right now that I’ve been thinking about off and on throughout the day is the last one: “Do you understand what I have done for you?” John 13:1-17 is the context, but the actual question occurs in verse 12. This question can touch all people in all situations anywhere in the world. That is a truly BIG question!

Finally, as a quick follow up to yesterday’s post, you know I’m thinking through Laura’s comic strip. You may notice some subtle differences today that I’m trying out. Yesterday I read two different posts from two different authors here at WordPress that made me think. Really think. They really helped give me some additional direction.

The posts were about women and Bible study. These made me think how ridiculous it would be for Laura to present a wonderful Bible-based list, then urge others to make their own list, but to FIRST send off for her exciting recipe. Like making an “Exciting Summertime Fruit Salad” is more important and more appropriate for a woman than studying the Bible! (If you’re thinking “That is so 1950’s, I think you’re right!”)

Anyway, here are the two posts, and I highly recommend both sites!

Theology Is For Girls” from “Christians In Motion” (So get moving! There are some great videos there too!)

Beth Moore Is Not The Boogeyman” from “Meeting God In The Margin” (This is a great blog title too. You’ll need to go there to find out why!)

“What Alien Invaders Eat For Breakfast!”

So…Alien Invaders have a strange appetite and a strange sense of humor to go with it! I’ve scrapped everything here (work produced since January 2017) and have started the biggest REBOOT of my entire life as a graphic artist! So bookmark this and visit again soon. (It’s not a scrap like “delete” or “trash,” just in my mind because I want to clear out my brain and do something new.)

Remember, I didn’t promise “cute and cuddly”…just trying to present an old and familiar message in a new and different way.

And I guess that really is the main point. While I started this adventure on WordPress to better understand my Christian faith, I’m feeling a need to get down to the absolute basic essentials.

So think about it. What if there really were Alien Invaders! Yikes! They are destroying everything! People are scattered, huddled together in odd places wherever they can find shelter like underground caves, sewers, wherever. There is no more internet. There are no more books. There is no more Bible, only what you can remember. What if you had only what is in your mind and heart to pass along to others? And even then, you can’t write anything down because there is no paper and no pencils or pens.

How do you share an absolutely essential message with only the absolute essential materials from nature like sticks and rocks? Hmm…

Just to be sure you know…I’m not saying at all that there have ever been, are now, or will ever be Alien Invaders! This is just a “What if…?” I’m also not sure about how cataclysmic the future will be, so the rapture and horrors for those left behind is not where I’m headed here.

So Alien Invaders are shown here just as a reflection of my own sense of urgency and to help me focus on the essentials and how to communicate them graphically.