Whenever I talk about artist blackballing in the entertainment industry, almost invariably the first argument I come across is “well there aren’t any…” or “there are a low percentage of…” leading to believe that it’s just too hard to find good artists who aren’t insane and/or profess to be Christian. That is a lie that the mainstream big-entertainment corrupt corporate media propagates at every turn.
Of course, there aren’t any who work for those big companies that do the blackballing. Those companies may not have an outright policy against shunning Christians, but they do it, as they want to tell stories that are allegorically about how great secular society and hedonism is. I rail on Disney quite a bit for this, but the facts are the facts, and they — especially their comics division — are very much guilty of this.
But we have an opportunity like generations in the past didn’t have. We have social media. We have the internet. We have the ability to connect and organize just as other groups have done for the past for their causes. Our cause is a righteous one, an eternal one, and if we all band together we will affect much greater change than our enemies could ever keep up with.
I’m not calling for a “boycott!” of any artist or anything like that. I know exactly how hard artists work, and, even if they’re not doing their work for a righteous cause, it’s still hard work and the goal is not to detract from their efforts. That boycott mentality is the kind of garbage that we are fighting against.
However, I am calling to take a look at Christian artists, artists who share our values. It’s important that we give a voice to those who are professing real truth and justice, and are willing to speak out on it. After all, if we don’t as artists, the culture won’t, and isn’t. At some point, even the rocks will cry out. It’d be much better if we could stave that off and start a revival in culture as those created in God’s image.
And so I present to you this list: Christian Artists Who Don’t Suck. The title is jarring, as it’s supposed to be. A lot of Christians don’t like such crass language, but the reality is a lot of the Christian entertainment industry in recent decades was thrown into a certain segment of overt message-work that wasn’t subtle, and isn’t the highest quality. The reason most Christian work ended up there is because of the cultural blackballing and segmenting that’s done on the secular side — after all, the greatest art in the world was done in the name of Jesus Christ. Look at Michelangelo. That stands the test of time, and part of the reason is its content. In the age of the internet, we can create great content that doesn’t have to be the kind that, in the 80s-90s, gave cause for mocking, but should be celebrated as good works in God’s name. These artists have inspired me in that vein:
John C. Wright is the original purveyor of The Last Crusade blogs, of which i’ve jumped on the bandwagon. His biog is something i open up to read every morning, joined on there by his wonderful wife L. Jagi Lamplighter-Wright who is a wonderful writer in her own right. John is a true grand master of science fiction, with incredible imagination and beautiful prose. My favorite is Count To A Trillion.
Brian Niemeier is an independent author of the Dragon Award Winning Soul Cycle. He blends genres with space opera and horror in that series, with a wild, fast paced ride that everyone cheers for. Brian’s a great guy, and outspoken Christian as well. He’s on the forefront of indie publishing and does a lot for the culture war.
Nadine Brandes actually labels herself a Christian fiction author, working with Enclave Publishing, the leading publisher in Christian SF/F. Her Out of Time series is in the very popular YA Dystopian subgenre, but actually does reference the Bible and give Christian concepts. It’s not as dark as a lot of the other work out there as a consequence, but has really cool concepts. Nadine blogs a lot about writing and faith as well, and is worth checking out.
What’s interesting is I’ve struggled to find many big name comic writers who profess Christianity. There’s a couple, but I’m not entirely comfortable endorsing them. With the help of Mike Abuan, a great artist himself, I’ve found a couple of Christian comic artists to look out for.
Mike Miller has worked for Marvel and DC in the past, but it’s been a few years since he’s been on some projects. He has been pretty outspoken about his faith, and there’s speculation that’s led to him being blackballed and the typical angry nerd crowd has tried to boycott him at times. The cultural elites try to tear down anyone of of faith, especially in the comic industry, so he is someone to go out and support.
Lee Weeks has done work across the board from Marvel to DC. and beyond. You’ve seen him on Spider-Man, Daredevil, Batman, Superman, and according to his instagram, it looks like he’s got some work from DC forthcoming.
Jethro Morales is an artist who’s worked for Dynamite doing Green Hornet and Dejah Thoris of Mars. That should appeal to many of my #PulpRevolution friends themselves. He’s a wonderful person, and I’ve chatted with him over the years. He’s done a lot of independent work as well, and draws very relatable characters. Jethro is impressive in his posts praising God and professing his faith, and is someone to support.
Crowder. – Crowder is on the cutting edge of Christian music. He’s labeled as “techno-folk” and it’s kind of an interesting way to look at it. His most recent album is phenomenal, and after seeing him and his group of musicians live, there are very few out there who can reach his professional prowess either in Christian music or in the secular realm. He makes straight forward Christian music with lyrics like you would expect, but has transcended the genre with amazing artistic ability.
Mae – I loved this band in the mid 2000s when they hit the scene with Destination Beautiful, which contains one of my favorite songs of all time, “Skyline Drive”. They were excellent and only continued to get more artistic. Their next release, The Everglow is a concept album, all revolving around a singular story, and while the songs on that one because of the theming blend together a lot more than the first, it’s still completely solid. Then they went and decided to do a series of EPs that each had a theme. There’s a lot of experimentation in this, and not as much pop sensibility, but it shows Dave Elkins’ artistic growth al the same. After that, they ended what they were doing and I hadn’t heard from them in years — but this morning I discovered they released a new single on soundcloud. It’s got both pop and artistry involved in it, a beatles-esque build which I hope marks a big return. Keep them on your radar.
Dashboard Confessional isn’t known as a “Christian singer” but was very popular in the early 2000s, redefining the emo punk scene into something completely different, something acoustic and beautiful. His concerts had a youth group atmosphere to it, and I’d always thought that was interesting. When A Mark, A Mission, A Brand, A Scar came out, he actually toured with a giant banner behind the stage of a crusader on a horse that said “Fight The Good Fight”. I thought that was very cool, and in 2017 could you imagine someone doing that? Very brave. His last release Alter The Ending was a few years ago now, but it’s marked with the song, “Get Me Right” which while he mostly sings about girls, this song actually has to do with one’s pride and failing in that, which the bridge has some of my favorite lyrics of all time:
Jesus I’ve fallen I don’t mind the rain
If I meet my maker, I meet my maker clean
Jesus the truth is, I’ve struggled so hard to believe
I need my maker to cure my of my doubting blood
And drain me of the sins I love
And take from me my disbelief
I know it should come easily
But it remains inside of me
It battles and devours me
It cuddles up inside of me
And whispers it convinces me I’m right.
Beautiful and powerful stuff right there. Very honest, and something we can all relate to. He’s done a country/folk project Twin Forks since then, which has some good old school honest music you can sing along to as well. He’s really developed as an artist since those early days and is someone worth listening to.
I’ve given 3 examples in different fields to check out, but this is by no means an exhaustive list. I also acknowledge that I have a lot of friends who profess Jesus Christ as Lord and Savior and have wonderful art. For the sake of brevity, I posted three examples in different fields, but this is an open call to action and here’s what you can do: if you’re an artist of any sort, and you are a Christian, post in the comments below. Over time, this can become a great list and resource for people to check out Christian works. Goes for anyone who knows of great Christian artists as well. We can make a difference in the community and culture by banding together and supporting the great artists above and in the comments. Let’s do it. Deus vult!