“Jesus a Joker? Certainly!” Such is the title of an article by columnist William Willoughby in a Washington Evening Star article about cartoonist John Lawing. Willoughby goes on to say, “…John Lawing was a born cartoonist. Little did he realize that when Christianity Today magazine started carrying his cartoons in November 1964 he would start a trend that would be copied in numerous Christian thought publications.” Regent University Library Special Collections & Archives is honored to have recently received an extensive collection of original cartoons by John Lawing, long-time professor at Regent University’s School of Communication & the Arts and one of the University’s founding professors.
The display, located on the first floor close to the Library gallery area, is only the tip of the iceberg of what is included in this marvelous collection. Besides a complete set of the series “What if…” that appeared in Christianity Today for seventeen years, there are cartoons from the Virginia Beach Beacon, Chesapeake Clipper, Time magazine, the National Courier, Christian Herald, The Fundamentalist Journal, CBN’s 700 Club, and many personal cartoons John did for colleagues wherever he was. My favorite in the display? A fellow is standing beside a church sign board that announces, “Closed Because of the Founder’s Death, Reopening soon under new management,” a biting commentary on the 1960s’ “God is dead” movement.
The Library is planning a reception in the near future to honor master of Christian wit John Lawing and his incredible artistic production. The display will run through June 2012.