I created Henry while a student at Williamstown Bible College in Williamstown, West Virginia. This would have been sometime between the fall of 1980 and the spring of 1982. No one was particularly the inspiration for Henry. I was studying to be in the ministry, and I was surrounded by preachers or men who wanted to be preachers, so I suppose it was natural that when he hit my brain, I made him a preacher.
I’ve always enjoyed drawing, although, unlike my daughter Angela, I don’t think I’m particularly gifted. I simply enjoy creating and one way to do that is the art of drawing. In one brief moment of inspiration, I realized that most of my favorite comics were made up of a few specific strokes of the pen that are easily repeated. (Take a close look at Charlie Brown, Blondie or even Mickey Mouse, etc.) A short while later, Henry was created—his face anyway. I’ve never been particularly good a drawing the human form, and hands completely escape me, but I created the face.
Soon, Henry the Preacher began to show up on the various chalk or white boards around the Bible College, and its little sister school, the Williamstown Christian School. Invariably, I included some little cute remark to make folks chuckle. I’ve been drawing him ever since—most times he’s a preacher, but he has occasionally taken a job as a bearing salesman. He still randomly shows up on whiteboards or chalkboards. If the inspiration hits me, I draw the dude.
I also created a little family to go along with Henry. He has a brother named Cosmos, who sports sunglasses (regardless the time of day or the weather), a leather jacket, and a goatee. Henry’s wife is Henrietta. His dad is Hank. There’s a couple others. I’ve never done much with the crew. Cosmos does show up once in a while, when I’m looking to rock a boat.
Over the years, Henry hasn’t changed much. He nearly always wears a tie, but rarely sports a jacket anymore. I had some notepads made up one time with his face at the top. I wish I still had one of those around.
Once, while attending Indiana Business College, I had a guy who thought he could get an investor to back me so I could try to syndicate Henry into a weekly strip. He needed a “portfolio.” That was a big problem. I couldn’t get his face right when I was trying to draw him for a serious purpose. For another thing, I could never draw him in any direction except looking straight ahead. Forget trying to add some form of movement. Years later, I did finally succeed in turning his head to one side. Hmm. Maybe there’s still some hope.
I still draw him sometimes, just for fun. The picture you see attached at the top of this blog was done a few years ago when I decided to create some more detailed, single-frame comics. I recently gave the original away as a prize in the Facebook New Year’s Party contest sponsored by my publisher. I asked a question and stated that I’d randomly draw a winner of the original drawing from among those who answered the question. I fully expected that question to go unanswered, but to my amazement, there were many entries. Seems Henry is a likeable guy.
I have a few more original Henry drawings lying around. Maybe he will make some future appearances. For now, though, he waits back there in my psyche. I still have my drawing pad of comic boards. Eventually, he’ll grab my creative brain by the ears and force his way out again.
See you soon, Henry.
Michael DeCamp is a husband, father, uncle, son, and brother. He built a career in industrial sales while maintaining a spiritual life in pursuit of a love for God. He has published two fantasy thrillers, one collection of supernatural/fantasy short stories, and one devotional book. (There are more on the way.) He also produces a podcast (The Cutters Notch Podcast) that provides a new episode approximately once per month.