The CreationWise comic strip, often seen in AiG’s Answers Update, turns 20 years old this month, but had its genesis even earlier. In 1990 when artist Dan Lietha saw the video series Understanding Genesis, featuring Ken Ham and Dr. Gary Parker, the topic of creation apologetics turned into a passion, as opposed to merely being a passing interest. For the next four years, he devoured a lot of creationist materials, particularly those produced by Ken Ham.
To make it possible to listen to the messages while he worked as a staff cartoonist for a company in the Minneapolis area, Dan converted many of Ken Ham’s VHS videotape messages to audiocassettes and put in hundreds of hours listening to them. Ken’s message on creation evangelism motivated Dan to look for ways to get the foundational message of Genesis in front of as many Christians that he could reach as possible.
The strip was designed to creatively challenge the readers to think about Genesis . . . in ways they perhaps had never considered.
Dan realized that many more churches needed to be informed and challenged with the truths of the book of Genesis so they could be more effective in their evangelistic efforts. As an experienced cartoonist, Dan created a comic strip he called CreationWise. The strip was designed to creatively challenge the readers to think about Genesis and the rest of Scripture in ways they perhaps had never considered: God’s Word is true from the beginning and is authoritative!
CreationWise first appeared publicly in November 1994 inside a few church newsletters in Minnesota, as well as in the newsletter of a local creationist group. It was a small start, but people were beginning to notice the creative comic strip! Also, Dan had the idea of eventually becoming involved in full-time creation ministry, but that was a goal, he believed, far off in the future—or so he thought. He didn’t know then that his hope would only be a couple years away, and that CreationWise would be the key to the start of that dream. Here is what transpired.
Early in 1995, Dan learned that AiG President Ken Ham would be coming to Minnesota to speak at a seminar. A friend suggested that Dan send him some CreationWise comic strips to see if Ken could use them in his ministry.
Ken was in need of an artist who could not only draw but who also knew the ministry’s biblical authority messages and could creatively and effectively communicate them visually.
In 1995, AiG was in its early stages as a ministry, and Ken was in need of an artist who could not only draw but who also knew the ministry’s biblical authority messages and could creatively and effectively communicate them visually. The CreationWise comic strip samples that were sent to Ken demonstrated that Dan could do those things. This led to his illustrating the original version of Ken Ham’s A is for Adam children’s rhyme book and also two years of volunteer illustrating for Ken. Most of his drawings were images that Ken would use as illustrations in his seminar talks. And it also included drawing a monthly CreationWise comic strip for the AiG newsletter Answers Update, and that feature continues to this day.
Dan was hired by Answers in Genesis full time in 1997. Since then, CreationWise has progressed from black and white to full color. It has appeared not only in the AiG newsletters but also in books and magazines. CreationWise has also been featured on many websites and shared through social media. This little comic strip has been even translated into several languages. Some 20 years ago, Dan had no idea where all this artistic effort would go and did not know the scope of the audience for CreationWise.
The Lord has been good and faithful over these 20 years and this is really what we celebrate as we observe this anniversary of CreationWise.
Here are two of Dan’s favorite all-time CreationWise strips:
“I like this cartoon because it very simply portrays the importance of the battle for biblical authority. Genesis does matter, and we continue to lose biblical ground in our nation today because of the ground the church has already given up in Genesis.”
“This CreationWise is a favorite of mine because it hits the reader hard with the truth about very recognizable and loved characters and their influence on children. Don’t let your guard down because characters like these are cute and are watched by children. That’s all the more reason to keep your guard up!”
In honor of CreationWise turning 20 years old, Dan will be celebrating this anniversary each day during the month of November. Be sure to visit his Facebook fan page for postings of favorite CreationWise comic strips, special behind-the-scenes articles and videos, and giveaways each Saturday too! The giveaways will begin Saturday, November 8. Join us in celebrating 20 years of CreationWise!