Comics for Christ

Interview with French artist Didier Millotte

By Marija Birchard
 
Like many children in France, Didier Millotte grew up devouring comic books and imagining their heroes. His childhood passion never faded. Didier has published more than 20 comic books and graphic novels over the last decade, including his recent book on the life of Jesus. Last year, he was recognized as illustrator of the best Christian comic book of 2011 in France.
 

Today comic books are the world’s most widely-read type of popular literature, capturing the interest of both children and adults. Christian publishers around the world have begun harnessing the genre to spread the Gospel.

Why do you believe the comic book industry is so popular currently?
D.M.: A combination of strong graphic images, their ability to stimulate the imagination, and a narrative based on dialogue. These characteristics allow the reader to identify with characters in the story.

The reader is an actor and can easily project himself into the skin of the characters. Comic books allow the reader to "live" history by imagining it. We find that in movies, but comic graphics bring a pleasure that film cannot because film viewing is more passive.

Why are comics valuable for Christian publishers?
D.M.: Comics are a great vehicle for the Gospel message because they allow the reader to immerse themselves in the words and participate with the story.
 
In addition, fiction is an ideal form to send a spiritual message. Storytelling is a great force for human beings; it can move the heart as well as the mind. One of the best examples of this is Jesus’ parables.  
 
Tell us about a reader who’s been influenced by Christian comics. 
D.M.:
One day a Swiss boy was gathering old papers and magazines for recycling. He found some Christian comic magazines and thought, “Oh, cool, some comics!"
 
He took them home and read them. He was surprised that they talked about Jesus. "What's this? How strange," he thought. The stories touched his heart deeply. That was the beginning of his life with Jesus. Today Alain Auderset is an author, publisher and musician who has enjoyed great success with his Christian comics for teenagers.
 
What projects are you working on now?
D.M.:
I recently wrote a modern-day encounter of a young man in search of a father and an old Christian missionary. I’m also hoping to design a 200 to 300 page graphic novel of the Gospels with modern narration. And I’m working on several projects for kids.


How are you involved in training African writers and artists?
D.M.: In 2010, I was invited to teach workshops in Cameroon and the Central African Republic. There I met with African Christians interested in writing and drawing comics. Now I’m coaching an African writer on a script and will be helping the illustrator develop comics on themes of sexuality, AIDS, abortion, fidelity and more. 

Live in Chicagoland? Come meet Didier at Art for the World, on Sunday, April 15.

You can meet and learn from Didier at LittWorld 2012 in Nairobi, Kenya.

Contact him at dimillotte@gmail.com or on Facebook. 

Marija Birchard is a former MAI intern who graduated from Moody Bible Institute with a BA in Communications-Print Media. She currently resides in Wheaton, IL.
 
MORE:
 
-Didier Millotte's blog
 
-Look inside one of Didier’s children’s books
 

-Didier illustrated the Gospel and Acts in this French comic Bible

-Didier was awarded winner of the "best Christian comic" of 2011 for Monsieur Vincent

-Christian Comics International, a comprehensive online guide

-A free comic in French on the life of Jesus