The Corner


Light in the Comic World

My friend Mark Rodgers is one of the extremely interesting people I know. I got to know him when he worked in the Senate and did interesting things with among others Rick Santorum and Bono (as in together, how’s that for a fascinating duo). He runs the Clapham Group which focuses like a laser on culture and also making for more creative coalitions for the sake of families and thriving civil society (the only way we’re ever going to fix the rest). Anyway, this is short notice, but he has an ask and it’s an action item for today (Jan. 4). He recently became involved in graphic novels (comic books) and a preview of The Light Princess by George MacDonald recently landed in my inbox. It’s beautiful and the idea is to develop more of these. But they need support. Would you call a local comic-book store today and ask them to order The Light Princess, if any of our conversation sounds like something you’d like to support?

Kathryn Jean Lopez: What’s so special about The Light Princess?

Rodgers: George MacDonald was a pioneer in modern fairy tales, and his work ultimately shaped writers such as C. S. Lewis and J. R. Tolkien.  In fact, Lewis said that MacDonald’s book Phantastes “baptized his imagination” and considered him his “master.”  Chris Mitchell, the former director of the Wade Center at Wheaton College, the depository of Lewis and the other Inklings works, considered The Light Princess the most profound of MacDonald’s works, and the one which parallels the gospel most closely.

Lopez: Why is making a request today to your local comic book store important?

Rodgers: Comic stores need to preorder comics, and they are unable to return ones that aren’t sold, so they are reticent to order comics that someone has not requested.  It is our hope that The Light Princess and other titles that are forthcoming will appeal to the mainstream market, but also bring new readers into the stores to request more content like it.

Lopez: Is there some way besides local comic book store where people can order The Light Princess?

Rodgers: The urgency for calling or stopping by your local comic story this week is that it is the only way to get the comic book series in print for now, until it is published in its entirety as a graphic novel in 2020.  But we really want comic stores to carry our titles, so don’t wait!  Just give your local store a call.

Lopez: Why are such messages of marriage and fidelity and trust in God so important to have on comic book store shelves?

Rodgers: The comic and graphic novel industry is important for three reasons. First, it is a subculture that needs redemptive stories.  Second, it is one of the few growth areas of publishing, both in print and online.  And third, the industry has an outsized influence on pop culture.  Comics are not just superhero stories, the acceptance of graphic novels as a legitimate storytelling medium, the explosion of ComicCons in virtually every major city and the seedbed that comics are for the film and television industries means that the genre will only be reaching more over time, not less.

Lopez: Is your target millennials?

Rodgers: Yes, but more-so Generation Z, which is the first fully digitally native generation.  They expect images to accompany words, and for storytelling to be visual.  Gen Z is growing up with graphic novels in their school libraries, and they are looking for meaning through modern myths.

Lopez: What is the mission and goals of Cave Pictures Publishing and how do people keep in touch with what you are working on?

Rodgers: Our website is and we consider ourselves a wall for modern mythmaking.  Our mission is to produce content that is excellently crafted, deeply questioning, and spiritually meaningful.  We are named after Plato’s allegory of the cave, because we believe in artists and authors who want to tell stories that speak to the soul and invite readers to explore new perspectives on life.

Lopez: What’s the team that brought this particular graphic novel to life? A writer and an artist, for two….? How did you come to work with them?

Rodgers: We were encouraged by several friends in the comic business, both of whom are involved.  Rick Rekedel, who was formerly a senior executive at Dreamworks is developing one of our titles to be released later this year.  John Nee is currently the publisher of Marvel Comics, and the founder of Cryptozoic, our business partner.  We are blessed working with accomplished writers and illustrators.  The team who has tackled Light Princess, Meredith Find (writer) and the husband-wife team of Renae De Liz & Ray Dillon (illustrators) are highly regarded in the industry.

Lopez: How did you decide upon doing The Light Princess and what do you hope people get out of it?

Rodgers: We want to bring MacDonald’s work and influence to a new generation. This particular title was recently adapted by Tori Amos as a musical, and it was one of several of MacDonald’s works that Maurice Sendak illustrated as a book.    We hope that it will “baptize” people imaginations as MacDonald’s work did for C. S. Lewis.

Most Popular


It’s Time for Colin Kaepernick to Move On

Colin Kaepernick. Remember him? Below-average quarterback. Above-average poseur. Not “activist,” not really. Activists actually say stuff. Kaepernick almost never says anything. He’s like the Queen or most popes — you have to read the deep-background musings of supposed members of his inner circle to get ... Read More

What The 1619 Project Leaves Out

“The goal of The 1619 Project, a major initiative from The New York Times that this issue of the magazine inaugurates, is to reframe American history by considering what it would mean to regard 1619 as our nation’s birth year,” The New York Times Magazine editors declare. “Doing so requires us to place ... Read More

Trump and the Black Vote

"Donald Trump is a racist, white supremacist, white nationalist. So are his supporters." Some version of that refrain is heard almost hourly somewhere in mainstream media. Democratic politicians seem to proclaim it more often than that. Listening only to the Left, you'd conclude that more than half a ... Read More
PC Culture

Courage Is the Cure for Political Correctness

This might come as some surprise to observers of our campus culture wars, but there was a time, not long ago, when the situation in American higher education was much worse. There a wave of vicious campus activism aimed at silencing heterodox speakers, and it was typically empowered by a comprehensive regime of ... Read More

The Age of Miscalculation

On August 7, 1998, more than 200 people were killed in terrorist attacks on U.S. embassies in Dar es Salaam, Tanzania, and Nairobi, Kenya. Americans learned three names most of them never had heard before: Ayman al-Zawahiri, Osama bin Laden, and al-Qaeda. On August 20, 1998, President Bill Clinton ordered a ... Read More