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Christian Comics Pioneers

Win Mumma (USA)

Win Mumma was born in 1935 and accepted Jesus Christ as Saviour very early in life. "I made deeper commitments to Him as I matured and understood the need to let Him be Lord of my life," Win once wrote. "I can testify that following Christ is the way to know lasting joy and satisfaction."

Win grew up admiring, devouring, and trying to emulate the comic art of Walt Disney, Walter Lantz (Woody Woodpecker, Porky Pig, etc.) and the realistic panel art of Ham Fisher, Milton Caniff and Alex Raymond. "A neighbor boy and I spent hours creating our crude animal comic strips. Later, Walt Kelly became the cartoonist who's drawing style and storytelling abilities I most admired."

In spite of this intense interest in drawing, Win chose a Bible major in college, thinking that he should be available to God to use as a pastor or missionary if that was The Lord's will for him. However, the Lord seemed to make it clear to him that the field of art was His choice for Win. "He did this by the means He often uses - circumstances. While I was in college, the opportunity to work on the art staff at Back to the Bible Broadcast helped pay my college expenses as well as give me valuable experience in developing art and graphics skills. As soon as I was out of college, I was drafted into the army and, rather than being assigned to the chaplain corps, which would have been the logical place for someone with my degree, I was instead assigned as an illustrator on staff at one of the army training schools," Win explained.

Immediately after being discharged in 1962, Win was hired as a full-time artist on Back to the Bible's staff, and was assigned as the designer/illustrator of their youth magazine, Young Ambassador. They ran a series of full page illustrated panels called "Great Christians through the Ages" featuring saints like William Tyndale, Martin Luther, Fanny Crosby, etc. which were then published in book form. These were realistic illustrations and became Win's first "real published work".

In 1978 the editors decided to run a double spread each month featuring Old Testament Bible stories in comic book form. They called it "O.T." as a takeoff on Johnny Hart's "B.C." which was a popular strip at that time, and it was drawn in a cartoon rather than realistic style. Through the magazine, Win's strip reached more than 80,000 homes around the world and ministered to 200,000 children and young people each month. Some of these strips were also then published in book form by Back to the Bible (shown above at right).

In the 1980's, Tyndale House Publishers asked him to adapt the "O.T." art into three comic books featuring three of the Old Testament characters (Moses, shown at left, Joseph, and Samson) and develop a fourth book on the life of Jesus. These were published as the "Cosmics" Series in 1987 and sold around 30,000 copies at that time.

After several years, Tyndale discontinued handling the books, and Win bought up the remaining inventory. He sold them for a while through the original Christian Comics Catalog and then through his own web site. (These books may be available still at the online Christian Comics Catalog.)

Win once noted that, "Over the years it was my privilege to do illustrative and cartoon work for David C. Cook, Zondervan, and Horizon Books, a division of Christian Publications.

"I also enjoyed doing a small amount of inking work for the Nate Butler Studio." This included both work on the Christian comics Aida-Zee and Paro-Dee as well as assisting on several Archie comics stories and other licensed properties/projects on which that studio was involved in the early 1990s. He was a contributor to the Proverbs & Parables comics anthology as well.

Win also did other art for the secular field, working for several ad agencies as both a free-lance and staff artist. For ten years he was an illustrator and art supervisor for the Nebraska ETV Network and produced numerous illustration and cartoon projects for the University's athletic department, including the familiar logo for the Cornhusker football team. He illustrated and published a comic book on the history of Nebraska football in 1976 (shown at left).

Win was blessed by his career as a Christian cartoonist and by the opportunity to hear from some of the people whose lives were impacted by his comics. He wrote that, "At a gathering of Back to the Bible overseas workers, a young man from Sri Lanka sought me out to tell me how helpful the 'O.T.' Comics series had been to him as he grew up. He is now in full-time Christian work with Back to the Bible Broadcast in Sri Lanka. I think this indicates that, in addition to being a tool to win young people to Christ, Christian comics also play an important role in helping young Christians grow in their faith."

Win married his wife Maurine in 1961 and had two daughters, Keren and Christine, and four grandchildren.

He passed into the presence of the Lord on November 10, 2003 in his sleep. His family reported that "He had not been ill, and had always said that when it was time he wanted to fall asleep in his bed and awaken in Heaven. That is exactly how God saw fit to let him go. He loved the Lord, he loved his country and he loved his family. He leaves behind a legacy of faith, courage and love. His grandchildren brought him particular joy and he was able to see all of them on the day before he passed."

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