Dan Reynolds is a freelance cartoonist whose work is distributed nationally via various greeting card companies. His cartoons also appear in many magazines including Catholic Digest. He released two new books that are a collection of the religious-themed cartoons he has amassed.
The books are Divine Comedy: Spiritual Musings & Hysterical Religious Cartoons and Divine Comedy: Spiritual Musings & Hysterical Religious Cartoons Vol. 2 (SmartAsk Books, 2017)
Reynolds spoke to Catholic Digest about his new books and what it’s like to create cartoons.
When did you start cartooning?
I never drew a thing really in my life until I was almost 30 years old. Unlike probably anybody else who does this kind of work, I didn’t grow up doing this. I think it’s a gift that just kind of awoke in me. Perhaps the purpose of that gift is still being revealed, but up to this point it went from the gift of trying cartoons, to the gift of being able to make a living doing it, to now the gift of being able to bring laughter as it relates to religious humor.
What are your Divine Comedy books?
Most recently, what I’ve done is pull together a collection of my religious cartoons. I noticed over time I had done a number of religious cartoons, because as a cartoonist you do what you know. If you’re familiar with particular topics, you tend toward them. When I was in the Navy, I worked for chaplains for four years. I help out at my church around 20 hours a week. I’m also in the Diocese of Syracuse diaconate program and, God willing, I will be ordained a deacon in 2020. One way or another I’m always running into my faith, so I have a lot of cartoons that deal with religious subjects. I pulled a bunch of them together and thought, “This might make an interesting book!”
I also have a number of them still, so I may be coming up with future volumes as well. I call the books Divine Comedy. The books themselves have really come after another thing that I’ve been doing called Divine Comedy Presentation. I do presentations using a lot of my cartoon work. The idea behind the presentation, which includes cartoons, jokes, and stories, is to bring across the idea to people that humor and joy are important and make an impact on one’s faith life.
What does it mean to you to be a cartoonist?
If someone is just drawing cartoons and they’re just pictures, those people are called illustrators. For cartoonists who do what I do, who send a message in the cartoon (in my case I emphasize humor) when I am drawing cartoons, I’m actually writing. You really have to be a writer first. The ability to write is essential in putting across the message in the cartoon in such a way that it has the most impact. In a sense, these cartoons are like an addition to my prayer life. I try to open myself up to these musings. Some of them are humorous but some of them are deeper.
Where do you get your ideas from?
In essence, every idea that has crossed the mind of man ultimately had its genesis in the mind of God. So, anything that I’m able to do, and this really goes for anybody else whether they realize it or not, it’s a gift from God. Realizing that makes it good for me because now I don’t have to worry about the stress of having to take credit for anything that I do because I know that it essentially comes from God. All the things that we do that are good, they come from God. Ultimately, my ideas come from God. I’ve been given this gift, and right now I’m playing it out and seeing where it’s going to direct me.
Divine Comedy: Spiritual Musings & Hysterical Religious Cartoons and Divine Comedy: Spiritual Musings & Hysterical Religious Cartoons Vol. 2 (SmartAsk Books, 2017) are available on Amazon.com. If you would like to learn more about Dan Reynolds or his Divine Comedy Presentations, you can visit his website DivineComedyDan.Weebly.com.
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