When I was I kid I would always sit down to “read the newspaper,” like I was a little man. But what I was really doing was going straight to the comics section. I couldn’t wait to see what Charlie Brown or Garfield was up to. Who doesn’t like the comics?
And who doesn’t like John Wesley?
Okay, well, maybe not as much as we like comics. But my buddy Charlie Baber has found a way to make the Wesley Brothers something we can’t wait to catch up on. Charlie does a weekly comic strip called Wesley Bros. He takes the historical figures of John and Charles Wesley, the famed founding brothers of the Methodist movement, and puts them in modern situations.
Before he felt a call to full-time ministry, Charlie had always wanted to be a cartoonist. “In High School,” he recalled, “I drew monthly comics that were published in the Richmond Times-Dispatch and I made comic books that I would print and share with my friends at school.” He would then do editorial comics for his college paper. “And then I began full-time ministry and stopped doing art entirely for almost 10 years,” he remembers. He goes on to say:
As I was anticipating getting ordained last summer, I sensed that something was deeply missing from my life. It seems dumb to say there was a comic-shaped hole in my life, but I really have found great joy restored in my life and in my ministry just because I’ve picked an old passion back up into my regular life.
Charlie first had the thought of using historical church figures in modern situations in a comic while he was a student at Duke Divinity School. “I doodled in class,” he said, “when I should have been taking notes, but never made time to pursue it.”
In April 2013, Charlie decided to start Wesley Bros. And it’s perfect! He is able to introduce an amazing number of historical church figures while still maintaining two primary characters. And it doesn’t hurt that as an ordained deacon in the United Methodist Church, Charlie just happens to know a lot about John and Charles.
More next week from Charlie and Wesley Bros.