Essay / Art

Nate Butler: Lecture on the Biola Christian Comics Collection

The Biola University Library is the home of the largest and most comprehensive archive of Christian comic books gathered anywhere. It is a deep, diverse, and unusual collection, which was established in 2015 when two major caches passed from private collections into the safekeeping of this permanent archive at an academic research library. One was the collection of the late Don Ensign (“the father of Christian comics fandom”) and the other is a remarkable set of multilingual materials from the library of Comix35, the ministry that trains and equips Christian comic book artists internationally.

On Tuesday April 5, we will be hosting a special lecture about the Biola Christian Comics Collection on site in the Biola Library’s reading room, and our special guest speaker will be the person most qualified to interpret the collection and explain its significance: Nate Butler, CEO of Comix35.

The lecture begins at 7:30pm, and all are welcome. This is of course a big event for those of us who have been working on the Christian Comic Book Collection, and it’s an honor to have Nate in town to celebrate the library’s holdings. But beyond that, it’s a significant event in the not-yet-written history of Christian comic books, that quirky sub-sub-culture that will get more scholarly attention in coming years precisely because of this archive.

Parts of the collection will be on display in the reading room for the occasion, so come feast your eyes on comic books. Southern California is a hotspot for Christian comics, and I expect to see a few big names in the audience. I mean, big for a sub-sub-culture, you know. And speaking of which, I’m going to give out some free copies of Dr. Doctrine’s Christian Comix that have been living in my garage since about 2000. But I will not wear the sheep costume.

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