Lord willing, come January 13, 2021, I will have been in the Lord for exactly 20 years. It’s been a long journey that has gone much too fast. Twenty years full of great blessings, godly deliverance, and devastating losses—but God bestowed strength. Endurance. Perseverance. All of these things have allowed me to live a life that is so much better than I deserve.
When I was in the fourth grade a friend of mine brought a Wizard Magazine (look it up) to school and I officially fell in love with comics at nine years old. It became my obsession. I studied the medium and the creators in the industry, planning to be a comic book artist superstar someday. Nine years after that, I would find myself on the cusp of accepting Jesus Christ, and I was determined to transplant this dream of achieving comic book superstardom into God’s will. Submission to God is a concept that we as human beings often struggle with, and I was no exception. As I grew in faith I learned that submission is not a one-time act but a daily choice.
When I was added to the church I had never once considered that my goals might change. Even more so that my goals might need to change.
I was naïve.
Whether I knew it at the time or not, I was under the impression that serving God was being added to my itinerary rather than becoming my itinerary. If I had to cite the primary difference between being in the comic book industry as a Christian and not, it’s that the Christian does not create his or her art to entertain firstly. The Christian creates with the mindset to glorify God firstly, and then to entertain. This is a foreign concept in the commercial art industry (comics are essentially commercial art) as the audience is often perceived as the ultimate “god” involved—it’s a sales-driven arena–therefore all content is geared toward selling to the demographic.
I slowly began to realize over time that the industry I had been training to be successful in was not very welcoming to people of the Christian faith. I had thought that my belief in Christ would not only not interfere with my ambitions but would propel me ahead with forward momentum. But the industry I had come to love as a kid seemed to be taking an ever-increasing passive-aggressive stance against those that didn’t share similar beliefs to the majority active in comics. My comics aren’t drawn in a Marvel or DC house style. They don’t contain NSFW elements. I omit, censor, and/or unglorify swear words, gratuitous sexual imagery/innuendo, hyperviolence, and anti-Christian philosophies. In an industry that has largely been geared toward adults since the late 1980s, this can hurt your popularity and momentum. To discover that my refusal to include these things in my comics caused my efforts to be lost in the shuffle was devastating, and it took many years of struggling with depression, self-reflection, and constant prayer to recover from it.
Flash forward to 2020, and I’m in a healthy place creatively. One thing that I had been in denial about was the talent God gave me to write and speak. It was always commented on throughout my childhood and adulthood, but my response for many years was, “That’s cool, but I want to be a comic book superstar.” It wasn’t until I had a short story professionally published in an anthology book in 2015 that I felt I could no longer bury that talent. I’ve now finally come to a place of maturation that allows me to not compare myself to other artists around me.
I’m currently writing the first draft of what I hope will be my first novel. The working title is Lunar Romance and I’m having a blast doing it. The ideas are flowing and the pressure is gone because I now fully understand that God is in control. He’s always been in control. And I am so thankful that He was merciful enough to allow me to catch up to His rhythm for my life. Submission to God’s plan for your life makes living so much easier.
I still make comics. I just no longer make them with the intention of following in the footsteps of those around me. I create with the intention of following in Jesus’ footsteps and although that doesn’t match up with the dream of a love-struck nine-year-old that pored over Death of Superman comics instead of doing his division classwork–that’s okay. In fact, it’s better than okay. It’s golden because none of us are long for this world and some things are more important than dreams. Life is more important, and more important than that God, because God is life.
This has been quite a challenging year for us all, but my hope is that 2021 will be full of victories both great and small.
I’d like to thank Ericka for allowing my voice to be heard on her platform, and I look forward to continuing to use my words and pictures to entertain in a morally significant way; for that is my goal every single time I put pen to paper, or finger to keyboard.
-Daniel Brian Mobley
“Then Jesus told his disciples, “If anyone would come after me, let him deny himself and take up his cross and follow me.“Matthew 16:24
Daniel is a Christian comic book artist who is currently working on a novel. You can visit him on Instagram and view his art work here: https://junebugpress.storenvy.com