Wednesday, January 28, 2009

Awards for Christian Based Entertainment

Since entering the realm of what I guess is known as, "Christian entertainment," six years ago, with the publication of my first graphic novel, Eye Witness: A Fictional Tale of Absolute Truth, I wondered aloud....why weren't there any organizations which attempted to throw a spotlight on all the wonderful ways Christian comic book & graphic novel creators are honoring the kingdom, (as well as the people involved in many other forms of diverse entertainment)? Wouldn't that sort of thing be instrumental to helping expose many more people to this creative output who may not know about these kind of works currently?

Sure, there is the annual Christianity Today book awards, but their categories seem far to limited and restrictive to cover the broad nature of what's being published outside of standard prose only books...and they focus specifically on published works, not the entire spectrum of entertainment. Outreach Magazine seems like a natural to tackle this type of thing (since this is all about creativity in sharing the Gospel and/or the Biblical narrative), but likewise they just focus annually on a very narrow handful of publishing only categories, in their, Resources of the Year Awards.

A few weeks ago, I was approached by a gentlemen at a DFW area business to business networking group, (Professional Business Networking), who was one of the founding fathers of an annual awards contest/show, that though originally conceived to honor only those who've made a mark in world of Christian Music, had now expanded it to cover the wider spectrum of the diverse nature of "Christian Entertainment."

Now in their second year, The Christian Entertainment Awards, are now featuring awards in the categories of: Commercials, Film, Journalism, Literature, Live Entertainment, Music, Online (websites), Radio, Stage and TV. Within each of these main categories are subcategories. For example, within the Literature category, are sub-categories, including: Biography/Autobiography, children's books, fiction, non-fiction, poetry and graphic novels (which include comic books).

As with most awards contests (outside the major ones), there is a nominal fee to have your work considered, but the good news here is, that the fees go to the parent non-profit charity dedicated toward building a Christian Music Hall of Fame and Museum.

Here's a link to an overview about the awards and the charity.

Another unique wrinkle to these awards are, that anything published (in the case of graphic novels and/or comics) since Jan. 1, 2008 through the final deadline of May 31, 2009, is eligible for the 2009 awards. You can submit your works anytime up to that deadline. Each month an independent panel of judges will select a Gold Medal Award Winners from that month's submissions. The Gold award will be given to any entry the judges believe deserve special recognition within their category. There is no limit to the amount of Gold Award winners the judges can name, but to qualify the big prize, The Platinum Award, (what the judges consider the very best of all entries within each category), you must be named a Gold Award Winner, first.
This not only gives the publishers and creators a chance for multiple exposures and publicity on their exemplary titles, (since the Gold Award can be given out anytime between now and September 2009), but adds prestige and credibility to their works, to boot, through being named an award-winner!

The Platinum Award winners will be announced on September 1, 2009 and I believe there will be a ceremony at the 2009 Christian Music Hall of Fame awards, on Nov. 14th, 2009.

For more information, visit their FAQ page, or send an email to:

Personally, I think this kind of thing is a long overdue and it can only help develop more and better public appreciation of our works. I hope all my brother and sister creators help support this idea, by entering their books, graphic novels and comics in this inaugural season.

Hey...who knows, you might even get some TV exposure, as the CEAwards people are currently in negotiations with several cable networks to broadcast the awards ceremonies!

R.J. Luedke

Monday, January 26, 2009

James Bond & the Spiritual Condition: A Book Review

I recently finished reading the book, Ian Fleming's Seven Deadlier Sins and 007's Moral Compass by Ben Pratt (see Amazon listing) and want to complement the author, on successfully achieving the monumental task of sharing moral and spiritual truths in a new, fresh and insightful package.

Who, besides possibly the most dedicated Ian Fleming fans, knew he was slipping truths about morality, the human condition and the gospel within the tales of Bond...James Bond. As someone who really enjoys reading works that reveal previously unknown history of events and people...I found this book fascinating on a number of different levels. There seemingly was much more to Fleming than most casual Bond fans could ever have imagined and (according to this book) he could very well go down as one of the giants of 20th century literature, along side his contemporaries, Tolkien and C.S. Lewis...when all is said and done.

As someone who is also constantly looking for new insights into our emotional and spiritual condition, the book opened doors to afflictions of the 21st century man, that I had not previously considered. Most of us are familiar with many of the 7 deadly sins: Pride, Envy, Anger, Covetousness, Gluttony and Lust...but it's that seventh one, Sloth (which was known in the middle ages as Accidie), which ends up being the focus and real payoff of Pratt's book (and why I'd guess, it's chapter 007)!

After reading this chapter, it seems possible that much of the depression in our 21 century society might be explained in spiritual terms, rather than physiological ones. Pratt explains, Accidie comes from the Greek akedos, which refers to those who didn't care enough to bury the dead on the battlefield. In a more modern context, Accidie is when we lose our passion and joy for life. Pratt quotes a description from St. John of Damascus, "a sorrowfulness so weighing down the mind that there is no good it likes to do. It has attached to it as its inseparable comrade, a distress and weariness of soul and a sluggishness in all good works which plunge the whole person into a lazy languor of bitterness." Pratt goes on to even describe the kind of people who fall prey to this "sin"..."dreamers, romantics and idealists. The Sin of those who believe hard, work hard and live hard. It is often the sin of those of us who believe that we can make a difference in this world."

In a personal note, this chapter helped me come to gripes with an emotional and spiritual cloud I had felt over my life the past year, as my following the path to create the Eye Witness series (under divine direction) has indeed been anything but easy and many obstacles which had been placed in my path these past 6 years...not just from a publishing and creative standpoint, but in my personal life as well... had succeeded in breaking down not only my passion for my mission, but for life itself! Pratt's explanation of this condition and better yet...his answers on how to deal with this "spiritual condition", (not to be confused with depression as a result of physical or mental illness), was a breath of fresh air into my own psyche, which I had not previously considered. At first I was a bit annoyed at the inference that what I might be feeling is a "sin", but trust me, his explanation is more than sufficient, understandable and condemning...if you can set your pride aside (but you'll have to find out about it for yourself...I don't want to give away too much meat here).

Even if you have never read any of Bond tales in their original novel form, this book should appeal to lovers of the movie Bond, (as Pratt supplies quite a bit of cross referencing to both). If fact it's made me now want to go out and rediscover Flemings work for the first time in its original form...just to better understand and appreciate some of Pratt's contentions.

I highly recommend this book for: Lovers of James Bond; fans of 20th century literature; and anyone who may be struggling with a sadness and lack of passion for life and just can't discover the root of their feelings, and/or don't want to go the way of pharmaceuticals to find answers.

R. J. Luedke


Wednesday, January 21, 2009

Clark Kent meets Peter Parker?

Now's this is what you call a GRABBER of a headline, from one of the L.A. Times fanboy least it got my attention!
(by: Geoff Boucher)
Ah, one of the great moments of my childhood was in 1976 when all the rules of physics seemed to stop and the impossible happened: Superman met Spider-Man. What happened? Well, they started punching each other, of course.

The book had GREAT cover drawn by Ross Andru (based on a Carmine Infantino layout and tightened by Dick Giordano inks) and a fun story by Gerry Conway with Lex Luthor and Dr. Octopus as the bad guys. It was sold as one of those great oversized tabloid editions.

I was thinking of that landmark DC-Marvel crossover this morning when I saw footage of Brandon Routh, the most recent Man of Steel on the silver screen, meeting the considerably shorter Tobey Maguire, who was pitch-perfect as Peter Parker in Sam Raimi's "Spider-Man" films. If Warner Bros. brings Routh back as the last son of Krypton (that's no done deal, of course) perhaps we'll see a summer showdown between the two signature heroes of the top comic-book companies. That would be cool.

The two actors met at a charity event, here's the lowdown from MTV: "They were on hand at Abram Simon Elementary to perform some community service as part of the president-elect’s call to community action on the Martin Luther King Jr. holiday. But the momentous meeting was the kind that comic geeks salivate over. Maguire was hard at work with volunteers in a classroom at the school trying to figure out how to build the IKEA-style shelving units, when Routh walked by just behind him, but the superheroes-in-street-clothes barely acknowledged each other as they pitched in while wearing their civvies ... Though Maguire was kept busy screwing panels of the shelves together, a short time later, as Routh pulled books from boxes to stack them in the newly built cubbies, he happened across a — no joke — Spider-Man book, and walked it over to his super-brethren. 'I think this is yours,' he said, handing Maguire the book. The web-slinger laughed, and the actors shook hands and chatted for a few moments before Routh walked back across the room to shelve 'I Can Read: Spider-Man 3, Meet the Heroes and the Villains.' 'I think I can probably beat them all up,' Routh said. 'Just kidding.'" [MTV]