Charlie Baber the Author and Artist

On this page, you can learn a bit about author and artist Charlie Baber. Here, we share his growing up, education and service, and what spurred him to create the Wesley Bros Comics.

Education and Service History

Charlie Baber at Highland UMC. Credit: Andrew Fletcher
Charlie Baber (Photo Credit: Andrew Fletcher)

Charlie Baber grew up in Cartersville, VA and raised on a chicken farm. He fondly remembers putting away chairs after potlucks at his family’s local church, Oakwood United Methodist Church. Growing up, Charlie engaged in youth groups, music performance, and worship when not busy in school or doodling comics on the side. He participated in Virginia’s Governor’s School, where he took several courses at Longwood College. He majored in Religious Studies and minored in Art at Gardner-Webb University in Boiling Springs, NC.

After graduation, he pursued his calling to Youth Ministry at Central UMC (Shelby, NC). From there, Charlie continued his work in Youth Ministry at Highland UMC (Raleigh, NC) while he was a student at Duke Divinity School (Durham, NC). He earned his M.Div. from Duke in 2010 and was ordained as a Deacon of the United Methodist Church (VA conference) in 2013. He served at Highland UMC for 8 years as youth minister and 2 years as associate pastor before coming to University UMC (Chapel Hill, NC) to refocus his passion for youth ministry with the incredible students and volunteers in the greater Chapel Hill community.

Growing Up Comics

As a kid, Charlie was always reading Bill Watterson’s Calvin and Hobbes, Jeff Smith’s Bone, Gary Larson’s Far Side, Berk Breathed’s Outland, and Ben Edlund’s The Tick.  He drew full length comic books following the exploits of his anti-superhero “Mr. Pickleman” and gave copies to all his friends in High School.  Charlie drew monthly comics for the Richmond Times-Dispatch as a kid, and then editorial cartoons for his college paper. 

It had been about 10 years since he had done comics on a regular basis, and had been looking for a way to use historical church figures in a comic that could raise awareness of the past, but not take it too seriously. As an adult, he has been most drawn to Craig Thompson’s Blankets, Mike Mignola’s Hellboy, Stephan Pastis’ Pearls Before Swine, and Bryan Lee O’Malley’s Scott Pilgrim.

Divinity School Comic Creation

In Divinity School, Charlie thought he would do a comic on early church fathers and Catholic saints, but never found the time to figure out how he wanted it to work.  Then in Spring of 2013, he thought he could just focus on one or two main characters who would interact with others.  If it was set in today’s culture, Charlie could be as anachronistic as he wanted and just ignore time boundaries altogether, so characters who died hundreds of years apart could interact in person (not unlike how we interact with brilliant ideas from those who have gone before us).  He didn’t really think anyone would be that interested in his comic because most people don’t know all the historical facts surrounding these somewhat obscure characters. 

Then, Charlie found Kate Beaton’s wildly successful “Hark A Vagrant” comic, and thought that he might have a chance (please read her stuff, it’s brilliant).  Charlie didn’t really want to do a “Christian comic,” because…yuck (his words).  For better or worse, Wesley Bros just worked out to be the clearest expression of his weird sense of humor combined with stuff about which he knows a lot.

Never Outgrowing Comics

Since Charlie started Wesley Bros, it has been well-received and to his surprise, finds use in many ways. College courses, church congregations, and ecumenical folks from every walk of life now live, learn, laugh, and think with the Wesley Bros. Since 2013, Wesley Bros Comics has spawned into the UM Communications animated shorts: Wesleys Take the Web, and a collection of comics is published through Abingdon Press called Submitting to Be More Vile: The Illustrated Adventures of John and Charles Wesley. Most recently, Charlie published Incompatible: How the Church Cast Out LGBTQ Christians & Where We Go Next, featuring characters from the Wesley Bros Comic.

Wesley Bros is about more than Charlie’s long-term obsession with comics and having an artistically creative platform. He equally enjoys storytelling and writing contemplative pieces to support his comics. Charlie connects to people not only through his comic’s art and words. He strives to deliver meaningful content to promote discussion, thoughts, and feelings.

Charlie Baber at University UMC. Credit: Julia Huneycutt
Charlie Baber (Photo Credit: Julia Huneycutt).

Author and artist, Charlie Baber, always has ideas about his next project. The next adventure of John and Charles Wesley from Wesley Bros Comics. Stay tuned!