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I Did It His WayA Collection of B.C. Religious Comic Strips
By Johnny Hart
Thomas NelsonCopyright © 2009 Thomas Nelson, Inc.
All right reserved.
Chapter One"About The Beginning"
1950s, New York State.
Sitting at a desk in the art department of General Electric, a young man scribbles down an idea before returning to his work. By day, he is a dutiful employee, by night, a freelance cartoonist ...
Johnny Hart had always been artistic, but he never considered that his idle sketches and clever jokes might lead to a legitimate career. Some might call it fate, others, Providence, but something led him to spend his life bringing laughter into the world.
Intrigued by the whimsical and informal style of the Peanuts comic he saw in the local paper every day, Johnny set out to create his own strip. He looked to the simple life of the prehistoric caveman for his inspiration, and soon the characters that were destined for fame began to emerge.
There was B.C. himself, a humble, naïve slob; Wiley, a superstitious poet with an aversion to water and a passion for sports; Cute Chick, the first pretty woman in a world that had not yet discovered objectivity; Curls, a master of sarcastic wit; Peter, a self-styled genius and the world's first philosophical failure; Clumsy Carp, a friendly, unassuming, narrow-minded klutz with an interest in ichthyology; Fat Broad, a gal with blunt honesty and an unswerving devotion to the domination of men; Thor, an inventor, artist, and self-proclaimed ladies' man; and Grog, a real caveman's caveman.
After signing with The New York Herald Tribune for syndication, B.C. made its debut on February 17, 1958. The world of cartoons, and the twenty-seven-year-old Johnny, would never be the same. Johnny went on to become one of four cartoonists in history to have two comic strips picked up by over 1000 papers.
Over the years, B.C. has charmed audiences of all ages and walks of life. When Johnny became a Christian in 1984, he was called to put his art to work for the Lord. His new-found faith began to appear in his comics, varying from light-hearted comedy to moving and thought-provoking content. Today, his family would like to share these inspirational strips as a tribute to Johnny's God-given talent and ever-lasting grace.
THE BIRTH OF A COMIC STRIP
One day, as he was on his way to the dentist's office, Johnny spied an old barn beside the road. Between the windows of the barn hung a little sign, which read, "To be continued."
Johnny often said that some ideas came to him so fast he had to scramble to write them down, while others took long hours of struggle. His family would laugh, saying, "I guess the devil really doesn't want you to do that one."
"To be continued" was one of the ones that came easily. It was published on April 20, 2003.
A LETTER TO GOD
In 1989, Johnny wrote a full week about the Cute Chick writing a letter to God despite Fat Broad's disbelief.
One of the most controversial B.C. strips that Johnny ever produced appeared on Sunday, April 15, 2001.
The power of the images he used made some believe that he was portraying the replacement of Judaism with Christianity, but Johnny was simply honoring two important holidays-Passover, represented by the menorah, and Easter, represented by the cross. The real thinking behind the strip was that Christianity is rooted in Judaism.
As Johnny explained, "I noticed one day that the center section of the menorah bore the shape of a cross. I wanted everyone to see the cross in the menorah. It was a revelation to me, one that tied God's chosen people to their spiritual next of kin-the disciples of the risen Christ. This was a holy week for both Christians and Jews alike, and my intent, as always, was to pay tribute to both."
Of the resulting hype, Johnny's wife, Bobby said, "When John began doing religious strips we knew there would be controversy. All he really wanted was for his readers to enjoy his work, look up Scriptures, maybe get a few laughs, and tell others about the message he prayed they would receive. Johnny never wrote a strip with the intention of offending anyone. That simply wasn't his nature."
JOHNNY'S FINAL STRIP
Sunday comics are written and produced approximately six weeks before their publication. On Easter Sunday 2007, the day after Johnny Hart passed away, this piece was printed. Ironically, it was the last inspirational B.C. comic strip he ever created.
Excerpted from I Did It His Way by Johnny Hart Copyright © 2009 by Thomas Nelson, Inc.. Excerpted by permission.
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