By Tom Maguire
The Bishop and his Editor are on the same page and now they’re even in the same cartoon.
Deacon Dan Reynolds, the renowned cartoonist for the Catholic Sun, has been coming up with his own ideas for years. But he has noble-mindedly turned a suggestion into the cartoon that accompanies this article.
This is what the Sun’s Editor, Deacon Tom Cuskey, suggested to the cartoonist in an email: “During a Lenten Book Club at the Chancery today someone described the Holy Spirit as being like Alexa: always listening and helping us with our needs by just asking. Beth Hoey [director of the diocesan Foundation] and Bishop [Douglas J. Lucia] thought it would make a great cartoon from you. I agree.”
In order to make it “a little more poignant,” Deacon Dan thought he “would work in some of the people who were involved in the evolution of the cartoon. … And I kind of drew the back of your head from memory,” he told this reporter, who is unaware of having aided any kind of evolution but who nevertheless is grateful for the artful way in which the back of his head is depicted.
How does he lower himself to accept somebody else’s cartoon idea?
“I wouldn’t say I lower myself,” he said. He added that he is always honored if somebody offers him a cartoon idea: “If it’s funny, I’m all for it.”
Cartoonist Dan will draw a character with just a general idea of who it is, but then when it’s done he thinks “there must be something subliminal going on there, because I’ll see someone that I know in the face of the character.”
He likens it to trying to hold an iron rod, running out in a storm of ideas and hoping it gets struck. “I just try to open myself to whatever hits me. … That’s the movement of the Holy Spirit for me.”
Deacon Dan, of Brewerton, is the Pastoral Associate at St. Margaret Church in Homer. For more than 30 years he has been a professional cartoonist. His work is distributed nationally via companies including American Greetings, and his work has also appeared in Reader’s Digest, Harvard Business Review, Boys’ Life, Catholic Digest and many other publications. He has four nationally published books with Andrews McMeel Publishing, as well as 22 other books that can be found on Amazon.com, including “Divine Comedy” vols. 1 and 2.
Dan also paints religious art and gives his “DIVINE COMEDY” presentations. “I do a live drawing right in front of people,” he said. “But it’s not a cartoon, but it’s a secret and I can’t tell people because I do something very special that is jaw dropping, that nobody knows that I do this until they go to the presentation. And I can’t tell you.”
The live drawing is “either paint or charcoal but it’s not the medium that I use, it’s what I do with it.” Whenever he runs into somebody who’s seen the presentation, even from a couple of years back, they’ll “say how much impact that thing had that I do.”
His mini-bio that runs with his cartoons that have been appearing in the Sun since Feb. 24, 2022, says that in his presentations, “You will learn how God loves you yesterday, today and ‘ever-laughter.’”
He is “getting a lot of feedback every time I go out and do one of my ‘DIVINE COMEDY’ presentations,” he said.
He actually has three presentations; two are related but each one is different in terms of the cartoons and the humor. The third one, which he hasn’t implemented yet, will be a “DIVINE COMEDY” Christmas edition featuring all of his Christmas work.
It won’t rival a Charlie Brown Christmas film.
“No, no. There won’t be any wilty trees in my presentation,” he said. “Or fancy dancing.”