I’m Charlie Baber. I am a Deacon in The United Methodist Church, and serve as a minister to youth and families, and love leading worship. I studied religion and art at Gardner-Webb University, and mastered Divinity at Duke University.
As a kid, I was always reading Bill Watterson’s Calvin and Hobbes, Jeff Smith’s Bone, Gary Larson’s Far Side, Berk Breathed’s Outland, and Ben Edlund’s The Tick. I drew full length comic books following the exploits of my anti-superhero “Mr. Pickleman” and gave copies to all my friends in High School. I drew monthly comics for the Richmond Times-Dispatch as a kid, and then editorial cartoons for my college paper. It’s been about 10 years since I’ve done comics on a regular basis, and had been looking for a way to use historical church figures in a comic that could raise awareness of the past, but not take it too seriously. As an adult, I have been most drawn to Craig Thompson’s Blankets, Mike Mignola’s Hellboy, Stephan Pastis’ Pearls Before Swine, and Bryan Lee O’Malley’s Scott Pilgrim.
Four years ago, I thought I’d do a comic on early church fathers and Catholic saints, but never found the time to figure out how I wanted it to work. Then in Spring of 2013, I thought I could just focus on one or two main characters who would interact with others. If it was set in today’s culture, I could be as anachronistic as I wanted and just ignore time boundaries altogether, so characters who died hundreds of years apart could interact in person (not unlike how you or I interact with brilliant ideas from those who have gone before us). I didn’t really think anyone would be that interested in my comic because most people don’t know all the historical facts surrounding these somewhat obscure characters. Then I was introduced to Kate Beaton’s wildly successful “Hark A Vagrant” comic, and thought that I might have a chance (please read her stuff, it’s brilliant). I didn’t really want to do a “Christian comic,” because…yuck. For better or worse, Wesley Bros just worked out to be the clearest expression of my weird sense of humor combined with stuff I know a lot about.
I generally write my comics on Fridays while my wife is at work, my daughter at pre-school, and my infant son is taking a long nap. Or at 5:30 in the mornings when my daughter is watching some insidious PBS children’s show. I use pen and ink because I’ve always loved and preferred black-and-white comics, and ain’t nobody got time to photoshop colors into a comic I don’t make money off of.
My primary resources for historical info are Richard Heitzenreiter’s “Wesley & The People Called Methodists,” and his compilation of “John Wesley’s Sermons.” He was my professor for Wesley studies and was the most obsessed person I’ve ever met about one historical figure…so probably part of what drew me to this topic.
Questions, thoughts, and Calvinist disparagement may be submitted to firstname.lastname@example.org.
Follow me on Twitter @cfbaber
Look in the Comments section below for a link to an interview about my comic process.