RICH INTERVIEWS: Alec Stevens Writer/Co-Artist for Hosanna in the Highest

First Comics News: Are the books you create inspirational?

Alec Stevens: I believe so, and many readers have attested to being moved and challenged by their content.

1st: Is there a theme to all the stories in “Hosanna in the Highest”?

Alec: Yes, as with all of my books, these are true stories with the common theme being that, regardless of culture, location, or time frame, Jesus Christ, the Son of God, is the answer to life’s deepest questions and problems, and the way to heaven.

1st: Which character have you most enjoyed writing about?

Alec: Aside from the Lord Himself, any mature, born again believer who exhibits His character, wisdom, and power. Men like Sadhu Sundar Singh from India, Brother Yun of China, B. H. Clendennen of Texas, or Steven Sebyala of Uganda have all had remarkable, miraculous experiences that only God could have orchestrated. Several of these gentlemen I have met in person.

1st: Who are a few of the other talented artists who worked on Hosanna in the Highest?

Alec: Some of the single illustrations were drawn by U. S. Abell, Jack Hamm, John G. Lambrides, E. J. Pace, Henry O. Tanner, and Edwin B. Wallace, whereas the stories, besides mine, were drawn by Harold Johns and Charles L. Ramsay. Each of them professed faith in Jesus Christ and served Him in their generation, but have since passed on, some fairly recently. Most of their material is in public domain and long out of print, but in one case I obtained the gracious permission of the Salvation Army in London, UK to reprint the story of Kawla Kuma, a wonderful Christian soul-winner in Mizoram, northeastern India which was drawn by Harold Johns in the 1960s. In some of my other anthologies, I have indeed worked with living artists, by the way, besides the new stories which I illustrated myself.

1st: Why do anthologies make for a good way to present a comic?

Alec: I do have a number of full color graphic novels in the Calvary Comics line, but black and white anthologies have a special place in my heart.
I love the variety of artists, approaches, and themes. The stories are also concise and to the point. There is no “padding” to fill out the page count, so these 80-page anthologies, such as Glory to God, Hallelujah, and Hosanna in the Highest, have rich, meaningful content and much to glean after multiple readings.

1st: Can you tell us what “The Gadarene” story is about?

Alec: It is an account from the Gospel of Luke in the New Testament of the Bible, concerning a fierce man possessed by a legion of demons in northern Israel who was deemed by his peers to be beyond help and avoided at all costs. He dwelt among some tombs in the region of Gadara (near the Sea of Galilee). Close by were men who herded swine (which may have been acceptable to the Roman powers-that-be who had conquered Israel and the surrounding regions, but was anything but kosher to the Jewish populace who observed the Mosaic Law). Jesus in His compassion set the man free from these wicked spirits which, in turn, entered the swine and caused several thousand of them to leap from nearby cliffs and drown in the waters below, effectively dealing with two problems at once.

1st: Who is Emanuel Minos and why is he part of this comic?

Alec: Emanuel Minos (1925-2014) was a Congolese youth whose adoptive parents brought him back to Norway after years of missionary work in Africa. Minos came to be a respected Pentecostal evangelist throughout Scandinavia, and he was approached by an elderly woman after a series of revival meetings one evening in June, 1968. She proceeded to share of a God-given, prophetic vision she had received, detailing significant events which would occur before Christ’s return.
Most of these have since been fulfilled.

1st: What most jumps out at you about Hosanna in the Highest?

Alec: That’s probably a better question for my readers than for me, being the publisher. Nevertheless, I’d probably have to say the closing story, “The Widow’s Prophecy” (about Minos and the aforementioned encounter), is probably the most riveting I have ever illustrated. It is certainly timely.

1st: Do you have any ideas for more comics in the future?

Alec: Oh, yes. My next three books are completed and ready for publication, and the fourth is almost as well. God-willing, the first of these will see print in spring 2020. It is a full color graphic novel about a famous English cricketer who put aside his sporting career to undertake missionary and evangelistic work in China, India, and Africa. I have additional scripts for yet more graphic novels and anthology stories also completed.

1st: Where would you say your inspiration comes from?

Alec: If I said, “From the secret closet of prayer,” then it wouldn’t be much of a secret anymore, would it? All kidding aside, I have to say that the Lord Jesus Christ is my Source and Supply.

1st: Besides Calvary Comics’ comics, which other ones would you recommend?

Alec: While I hesitate to give blanket endorsements of other publishers, there are selected titles by Cook Communications, Chick Publications, and Kingstone Comics which I like certain aspects of. One good “filter” to use for Christian comics news and items of interest is the COMIX35 website and ministry, founded by my friend Nate Butler.

1st: Why use comic books to deliver the message of God?

Alec: Any media can be used to communicate the Gospel, and since I have worked professionally as an illustrator and comics artist in the secular arena from 1985 to the early 2000s it seemed a foregone conclusion to me.

1st: How has Jesus and God affected your life?

Alec: Anyone who turns from sin to the living God, receiving Christ as his Saviour, is indwelt by the Holy Spirit Who guides him or her into all truth, imparting the character of Christ as one grows in this newly acquired grace. For the past thirty years, I have been drug and alcohol-free, to cite merely one aspect of this amazing grace, and my character and interests have been greatly changed. Others who have likewise experienced a similar transformation often bear witness to an instant kinship when we meet. We are indeed of the same Spirit.

1st: Any final words for all your readers?

Alec: Yes. Accept no substitutes—-except for the One Who went to Calvary’s cross, shedding His precious blood and laying down His life for our sins to satisfy the justice of God in our place. Attempting to stand before a holy God on Judgment Day in our own “righteousness” is an insult to the One Who sent His Son to die and rise again on our behalf. Jesus said to His disciples, “I am the way, the truth, and the life. No man comes to the Father but by Me.” This is indeed so.

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