Brian Dawson had lost everything – his wife, his 16-acre farm, his job and himself.
While reaching for his gun to commit suicide, his hand stumbled on a Bible and he ended up grabbing it first – a decision that would give birth to an inspirational graphic novel adaptation of the gospels.
King of Kings: The Chronicles of Jesus is a four-part graphic novel based on the life of Jesus. The project began in 2007 and was completed in 2010 and since the beginning of its publication it has made an impact on the world, reaching at least 22 countries.
It landed the cover of Inspire magazine, England’s largest Christian publication, and is currently being used as a fundraiser for Kenton United Methodist Church in Delaware to help fund a mission trip to Tennessee to build lower income housing.
Of course, Dawson never imagined he would be making graphic novels when everything in his life had reached the nadir of despair. After a bad divorce in 2005 he fell into a life of drug and alcohol abuse, leaving him with practically nothing overnight.
“I became unemployed and homeless living out of my truck and in the woods for a time. I was completely without hope and separated myself from everyone who was trying to help me,” Dawson shared.
Nothing would change him – not his brother who offered him housing, and not even after almost overdosing and realizing how negatively his decisions had impacted his life.
“I almost overdosed at one point, and even though I was beginning to see how badly my life was falling apart, I couldn't quit. My brother moved me in with him in Virginia, but I would make the two-, three-hour drive back to Delaware to continue to get high.”
Looking for a way out of his misery, he stole a gun from his brother and returned to Delaware to end his life. He recalled, “As I reached in the back seat for the gun, I grabbed a Bible instead and there and then asked God to save me from this life I had created. It was the last time I … touched drugs.”
Since then, the 38-year-old born-again Christian has never reverted to his toxic habits. And when he felt his addiction creeping back, Dawson fought it, referring back to an inspirational saying: Don't tell God how big your storm is, tell the storm how big your God is.
He highlighted, “Trusting fully in Christ to walk me through darkness is a promise Christ made to us all. It's not a ‘possibility’ but rather a ‘guarantee’ if we hold fast to this promise.”
While attending Townsend Freewill Baptist he began to walk with Christ. Although his transformation wasn’t immediate, the church gave him the opportunity to know God more each day and strengthen his faith.
During that time, having worked in the comic book industry, he was compelled to begin his graphic novel and decided to work on a visual adaptation of the stories from the Bible. During the nascent days of his project he would have to maintain a balance between ideas and learning how to project those ideas on paper. Four years later, a completed version of the four books was released.
He hopes that by adapting the story of Jesus with colorful illustrations he can provide a visual medium to reach the younger audience or people who might otherwise not reach for a Bible. He’s hoping they “might use this as a resource to start or strengthen a relationship with Christ.”
Times of trouble still persist in Dawson’s life but he maintains an attitude that “no trouble in front of me will ever be greater than the God who is beside me.”
His advice to those who feel desolate or at the end of endurance: they “only need to reach out to Christ,” he assured. “He wants that relationship with us. He wants to protect us and shape us into something beautiful.”
On the Web: http://www.kingofkingsillustrated.com/