How comic books take Jesus to the world
For the average person, the term "comic book heroes" brings to mind names such as Spider-Man, Batman, and Superman. But for Nate Butler, it's Jesus. Yes, the Son of God is a comic book hero.
Butler is president and founder of COMIX35, which trains individuals and ministries around the world in the production and effective use of comics-style literature to share the gospel.
Throughout Asia, Latin America, Europe, the Middle East, and Africa, billions of all ages avidly read comics—manga, manhwa, bande dessinée, historietas, foto novela, fumetti, or some other term in their own language and culture. Comics are the most-read form of popular literature; in Japan alone, 2.1 billion comics are sold every year.
No need to conjure images of Jesus in a cape or as a masked crusader. Butler and others use comics to present theologically sound and biblically accurate, yet graphically attractive and dramatically engaging, images of who Jesus Christ is. And God is using this medium to draw men, women, and children around the world to himself.
One Hong Kong publisher worked with COMIX35 to create Manga Messiah, a Japanese-style comic book version of the four Gospels in which Jesus is called by his Hebrew name, Yeshuah. That publisher tells how one woman and her husband had been reading Manga Messiah to their young children each night. One night, after the father read the story of Yeshuah's midnight conversation with Nicodemus, their 4-year-old said, "Daddy, I believe in Yeshuah. I want to be born again!" The parents immediately prayed with her to receive Yeshuah as Lord and Savior.
COMIX35 has worked in 42 countries and trained more than 700 people to create and use comic books as evangelism and witnessing tools in various cultures. The "X35" in COMIX35 refers to Exodus 35:30-35, where the Lord calls artisans whom he will fill with his Spirit.
Today, God is using the artistry in millions of copies of Christian comics to reach men, women, and children in ways that other print literature cannot.