“The Dumbest Idea Ever”

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Friday Night Reading

Tonight, I just finished reading a book called “The Dumbest Idea Ever,” a graphic novel by Jimmy Gownley. The book is a comic-book style story telling of Mr. Gownley’s life of a boy who grew into his life as a young cartoonist and the deep and impactful life lessons he learned.

This has to be one of the most inspiring graphic novels with a powerful message that I have ever read in a while.

Anyone who is called into art, illustration and cartooning and any creative work needs to get their hands on this book! Jimmy’s life as a kid resonated with my now 29 year old experience…starting off and not too sure if things will go the way I hope. And yet, there’s a deep desire and yearning to draw and to write and I don’t think I’ll be able to stop even if I wanted too.

Jimmy went through a period of deep depression and unhappiness and he went through a period of ego-driven silliness But, Jimmy came out of that like so many of us and made things right. When he leaves his little town he sees the world is much larger than what he realizes when it comes to art and talent and considers what he must do as a cartoonist.

Say Something Important

One of the take-away’s I got from the book was the moment that took place between Jimmy and his friend. He encouraged Jimmy to “say something important” in his comics.

I think this can be said for all of us and in anything we do, especially, for writers and creatives and more!

In anything we do I think we should ask the question, “what are we trying to communicate?” Are we creating what we are creating so we can tell people that “we love them” or are we trying to show someone that even though life sucks for a minute “it’s going to be okay?”

I think we should ask that question for every post we make on Facebook or for every sentence we prepare to write in the midst of our crafting of a letter, a story or a blog post.

Jimmy Gownley’s Similar Start To My Start

My mom told me that I should write about my life and my experiences…that I should blog. I too thought that was the “dumbest idea ever” deep down. No offense to my Mom of course. But, I genuinely thought to myself, why I on earth would the world want to hear about a 20-something-year old guy whose got a deep interest for storytelling, cartoons and random stuff.

Who would care!?

A few years later, I end up writing books and I rock this blog…and you, the readers, I’m humbled that you entrust your time to me and provide the mouse clicks to my blog articles.

It genuinely helps keep me going!

I felt the same way about cartoons until a few cartoonists, awesome ones, encouraged me to keep going. I almost gave up but I’m so glad that I didn’t. I got a lot more to go and much more to learn but I’m grateful for the support.

 

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Bullies, Bronies and Bibles

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My Little Pony!

Good storytelling has no gender and the more I read and write the more I realize it!

A friend of mine introduced me to the series, “My Little Pony: Friendship is Magic,” and I had a chance to review it thoroughly.

I like it…a LOT! There, I said it! But don’t go throwing stones my way. Here me out!

I’m fascinated by the storytelling as well as the character dynamics and the message behind the series. Ultimately, it’s all about love and tolerance but not in a weird or controversial way. The newest “My Little Pony” (MLP) features the main character as Twilight Sparkle who comes to Ponyville in an attempt to do some research but instead ends up making friends and making connections with a few choice ponies: Rainbow Dash, Applejack, Rarity, Fluttershy and Pinkie Pie.

Together, they bond and grow in their relationships with each other and realize that their’s something deep and powerful about friendship and love and much more.

Sounds a little too “squishy” and “cutsie wootsie” for guys to enjoy too, right!?

Bronies!?

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Apparently I’m not the only one whose into the series…or at least curious. There’s a whole collection of guys known as “Bronies” that exist, guys who are HUGE fans of the MLP series. While this may sound a bit strange, believe it or not, these are legitimate individuals who find the storylines as well as the personalities, characters and animation to be just as attractive as giant robots and explosions and fight scenes involving round house kicks and all things usually considered “manly.”

Am I a brony!? Not really. I wouldn’t count. I’m a friendly passerby who finds the series quite intriguing and a big heart for the community of fans! After all, I don’t think Brony status can truly be properly achieved unless I have become a complete fanatic of this very interesting series.

Just sayin’!

Bullied and Teased

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Their’s a dark side to quite a few things and the fan base for MLP is no different. Boys and older men and women who strongly embrace MLP as the series of choice have been picked on, teased, bullied and called awful names. Many who are simply fans of the show or just like the show for what it’s worth genuinely are considered “weird” or “awkward” and the list goes on. Sure, there’s some who take it a bit over the top…overall, just big fans!

It’s no different than some of my own experiences as I grew up loving multiple cartoons, current events and reading. I was mercilessly bullied and teased for being “different” and the MLP crowd faces the same kind of treatment day in and day out, whether it’s in person or online. Sometimes, many of the fans just lay low.

I was often teased and picked on for being the 11-year-old kid who was watching the news, reading the newspaper and news magazines and drawing and sketching in the back of class. I was socially awkward and was totally misunderstood by my peers. I couldn’t understand what the big deal was with pop-culture and the stuff they cared about and they couldn’t get me. It either ended in strong emotions or deep feelings of shame and depression.

But, most of the fans, whether they are hardcore or just passing through, are just interested in the series for it’s artful and insightful value and values. The series pushes a strong message of love and tolerance and brings to light the funny and often random quirks of each of the characters and the circumstances they are in.

Going Out Unto All Nations…Including Ponyland!?

I’m grateful for Otaku’s (anime geeks/nerds) such as myself and I’m grateful for Bronies! I’m grateful for sports fans and I’m grateful for music fans! But specifically, I know I am called to go out and minister and reach the outcasts…the bullied…the so-called peculiar…the socially awkward…the Otaku’s…the Nerds…the Geeks…the Gamers…and yes…the Bronies…and the list goes on.

This week is holy week for me and many other Christians as I write this article and as we draw closer and closer to Resurrection Sunday, the day we recognize the fact that Jesus IS risen! He lives…His message lives…His work is still in progress…His sacrifice…His Love for us!

We could go on for hours about the question of whether or not this series is appropriate for grown men and women to watch. We could go on for hours about boys enjoying the series. We could go on for hours about the fact that this show is even on the air. We could have that discussion on true manhood and masculinity as much as we want and at anytime! In fact, I welcome it!

But, for the moment, I want to address the fact that Bronies…like any culture or sub-culture…should be reached. These are individuals who are looking for love and for acceptance.

Growing up, I wanted the same thing. I was into certain things I liked and I was surrounded by people who were either too ignorant or self-centered or critical or religious to really get me. So, I either hid in my box and sheltered myself from all of the hate and malice or kept quite and kept to myself.

What helped me? When certain adults in my life actually cared enough to get into my world and get to know me rather than judge me. Instead of hold a critical, judgmental view of me, they cared enough to see something in me that I didn’t see.

They showed me love! True, genuinely, God-like, Christ-centered, non-fake, no strings attached friendship and love. I could trust them.

1 John 4:7

Beloved, let us love one another, for love is from God, and whoever loves has been born of God and knows God.

John 13:34

A new commandment I give to you, that you love one another: just as I have loved you, you also are to love one another.

And of course John 3:16

“For God so loved the world, that he gave his only Son, that whoever believes in him should not perish but have eternal life.

And what does love look like? 1 Corinthians 13:4-7 gives us a great view

Love is patient and kind; love does not envy or boast; it is not arrogant or rude. It does not insist on its own way; it is not irritable or resentful; it does not rejoice at wrongdoing, but rejoices with the truth. Love bears all things, believes all things, hopes all things, endures all things.

Preaching to Pony Fans

I intend to reach this group and any other groups in the spectrum of all things geeky, nerdy and cool. Why!? Because I’m called to do it! I run into all kinds of individuals and I enjoy meeting them.

Truth is, I’m sure Jesus did too.

I want them to experience the MOST out of life and have it more abundantly. Jesus did too and I want them to experience it too. Whether individuals agree with me on Jesus or not, I still want them to know that there’s a Christian brother that loves them and let them know that God and Christ loves them too and wants a relationship with them too, hooves or no hooves.

 

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Show Your Work (Even To Yourself)

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Daily, I’m getting over the idea that my work is “not good enough” or not “cool” enough!

For about a week or two I have been enjoying a picture of my comic strip’s main character, Ken, hanging out on my iPhone wallpaper!

I’m proud of this drawing and I’m often reminded of how far I’ve come in my art and illustrations!

What is it that you’re hiding that you’re working on right now? Anything at all!?

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Relating To Fictional Peeps

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What do you see in yourself when you see your favorite character in a TV show, cartoon, book or storyline of some kind?

This is something that I have been struggling with for some time now and it is a very good thing I have! This question has allowed me to discover some things about myself as well as my own characters in my own work.

Take Angelo from “Angelo Rules” for instance! I have been asking myself why I am SO into his character.

Easy…because he reminds me of certain aspects of my own character and personality. Especially since I was able to talk my way in and out of stuff ALL the time. It was how I survived most of my childhood…and teen years! Angelo’s sly and clever traits are a reminder of my own traits and abilities that I use more for good rather than mischief.

What characteristics and personalities do you pull from your favorite characters from your favorite book, TV show, web series or whatever?

 

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