I know that I am having a good conversation with someone when I can share a genuine laugh. I don’t know how many times Dave Campbell and I laughed during our talk, but I do know that each time felt like an authentic connection with a committed artist.
Dave spoke honestly about pursuing his dream of drawing a comic that was faith-based. There were false starts and interruptions. But things changed when he met writer Jeff Williams at a men’s bible study. That was the beginning of a commitment to start and finish a graphic novel they would eventually title The Calling.
Through it all Dave and Jeff knew that everyone from that men’s group remembered their conversation. Dave knew that every night when he came home from work that his children were watching him sit down to draw. He knew that they would be watching if he stopped.
Dave matched that commitment with a website where he promised that every Monday he and Jeff would publish a new page from The Calling. Week after week, page after page, their comic grew into a published graphic novel. Single issues followed, and later a trailer.
But, the mission wasn’t over. By now, Dave’s daughter was a self-published author currently enrolled at the Iowa Writer’s Workshop. She approached her dad about developing a comic together. She writes and he draws. The result is Groovy U.
In The Calling, Silk is a rising star in a street gang who experiences a Saul-to-Paul conversion that mirrors the story of Christianity’s prolific New Testament author. But, accepting a mission from God does not always look the way you think.
Groovy U is the story of Grovingston freshman Kacy Spade. Kacy is infiltrating her campus as a member of the ancient assassins The Order of the Blackhood which are contradicted by her introduction to The Way. How Kacy chooses to respond will change the course of her life.
The books are stories about changing your direction when your beliefs are challenged. A theme that Dave knows can be hard to address in comic books without becoming a reason to disengage. Which means addressing the challenge of seeing how far he and the writers can take a story without losing credibility. It’s a responsibility he is willing to accept.
Along the way, Dave has discovered how to market his books online, through trailers on YouTube, and with his own action figures. His vision for the future is a brand that he wants to continue building when he retires from his day job.
Raised in Ecorse, Michigan (Detroit area), Dave Campbell started drawing at an early age. Soon after, he gained an affinity for comics and further developed his drawing skills by using them as reference material. After high school, Dave went to the University of Michigan’s School of Art & Design, where he earned a BFA degree in graphic design.
In his adult life, Dave has worked at design firms, managed in-house art departments, pursued a career in music, and even started a team uniform company which he operated for 5 years. Through all of this, Dave never lost his love for the comics, which led to co-creating The Calling with writing partner Jeff Williams.
He is currently working on issue #2 of Groovy U, a new series written by his daughter Shelby Campbell. By day Dave works as an associate director of content management for a company that provides insight and analysis for various industries. He resides with his wife and three children in California’s bay area.
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