About Us

Freethunk was developed for freethinking unbelievers in response to the growing Christian pop culture and emerging pop cultures from Islam, Mormonism and other competing religions. The idea began as a result of my cartooning (Jeff Swenson, that’s me!) where I dedicated one cartoon a week to criticizing religion. I felt this was important because of my past beliefs and association with the Christian religion (or faith if you prefer). This was back in 2000 for the blasphemous cartoon of the week and then in 2004 I started Freethunk.net as a website. The site was awkward in its first incarnation, but featured an ebook collection of cartoons. From there, games and articles were added that were of possible interest.

Around 2006, Freethunk started a relationship with IHS, The Institute of Humanist Studies of NY providing cartoons for their news editions and appearing on their podcast. The site attracted more interest and as the owner I tried to reach out to as many freethinking cartoonists as I could so we could spotlight their work. Many of them, unfortunately, have ended their series or in some cases just disappeared. I also looked to see what we could do to talk to Christian cartoonists and ended up with a great interview with Reverend Fun.

Between 2008 and 2009, due to financial pressure the site was put on hold. There were some minor updates but as we all know, in order to make a website work you really should be updating daily. I just did not have the time and I was turning my back on cartooning during that period as well. I kept questioning if it was all a waste of time considering that I could work a standard office job, finish my day and have time to read a book or watch a movie and relax. Running a website always keeps you on edge, even small sites can be exhausting when you’re doing everything yourself or paying out of pocket for all the costs. My goal was to collect my cartooning work into print form, which I did for a complete edition and a best of edition (now revised for a rerelease for one complete edition on Amazon) and close that chapter of my life.

So I took an office job with hopes of leaving my starving artist syndrome behind me and all of the stress you acquire with being self-employed…however, I kept getting requests for cartoon work and decided to fulfill them for extra money.  My office job was going well, the boss seemed to love me, the money was comfortable and steady and I figured I was going to keep moving on up. Maybe with a little luck I could get a better house, take some vacations, and generally live like all those supposedly happy people around me that my wife knew.  …Well, damn, that didn’t last long. The economy collapsed and the landslide took out my cushy job. Now I had to take a crap job and draw on the side to make up the difference for the loss of pay.

But then the cartooning gigs led to some working relationships with some rather smart people who saw the potential to get things started up again. I didn’t have much “faith” in Freethunk or my cartooning in general, but I figured what the hell. I’ve got nothing to lose and no matter how I tried I couldn’t stop drawing anyways. Cartooning for me is not about success or money or even if anyone reads it. It somehow became my obsession (I guess it always has been) and I now embrace my starving artist syndrome (which isn’t quite true to say starving as I survive pretty well for an artist in comparison to my fellow brethern/sisters in the cartooning field).

As a result of relaunching Freethunk.net I have gained some compatriots in freethinking (or at least friends) who contribute to the site. They may not be as staunch as I am in my vision for Freethunk but they’ve been certainly willing to help out as creative types who are also obsessed with comics, fiction, movies and TV. So far we have J. Ells of the Bible Belt comic strip, Chaz Wood who is an author and artist, and our sponsor site ComicsGoneBad.com who literally saved Freethunk with an updated WordPress design. In addition, I’m receiving positive feedback for once instead of just angry complaints from Christians or Muslims–not that I mind the complaints (this site welcomes the criticism, keep us honest).

As we head into 2011 I am hoping to continue to find my balance. Yes, I have to pay the bills, but I have to draw too and I am planning to go full throttle with daily updates this year as the past 3 months have proven that it can be done. We’re going beyond just single panel cartoons that point out the flaws of religion (though, they will appear). We want freethinking characters that we can relate to. Freethinking entertainment is actually all around us, it just needs to be emphasized and built upon. Expand your imaginations atheists, agnostics and various unbelievers and see what is possible without God. You’re not crazy, they are!

UPDATE: It’s 2016, Freethunk is still kicking.

4 thoughts on “About Us

  1. Your story is fascinating. I was searching the web for a drawing of the ten commandments – as a single slab depicting the first 4 and the last 6. I found your drawing and would like permission to use it (with credit of course) in a book I am publishing later this year. Your drawing will illustrate my text discussing the ten commandments. My book will be entitled, “Break Through the Wall: how God Communicates with His Lost Creation.” Publisher will be Teach Services Inc. located in the state of Georgia.

  2. Howdy Jeff- you surely don’t remember me but a long time ago you put one of my goofy comics on your site…I think it still comes up in a google search. I remain appreciative and am glad to see Freethunk up and live. Let me know if I can ever send some support your way. I think we have some kindred spirit blood in feeling a need to express ourselves creatively…while taking a dump on religion. I’m going to get around eventually to a links page on my website (jerrymcmasters.com) and will put you at the top. Take care, Jerry

  3. Oh yeah, I remember there were a lot of gods in it. Thanks for checking in and saying hi!

  4. Hey Jeff, Remember me?
    I’m the Christian that believes God is from AFTER the big bang.
    That “They” use controlled terra-formation of nebula into star systems and planets.
    Remember me Jeff, the industrial millionaire that makes test equipment for high tech corporations?
    Remember, you got all bent out of shape because I typed “your” rather than “you’re” as a contraction error.
    And of course, that nullifies my engineering skills, math, and science knowledge.

    I warned you that at sometime in the future there was certainty of a nuke war between US , Russia, and China.
    Just look Jeff at how history has unfolded since my firm prediction.
    You know, Russia with Putin seizing Crimea.
    Xi and China making fake islands and then seizing ocean rights around them.
    ]Sort of Hitler like isn’t it?
    And of course Kim Un with his nukes ready to go.

    I know that you will say the upcoming nuke war is no real proof of God’s hidden plan that your Dad tried explaining to you for years.
    And to some extent I agree with you on that.
    The nuke war, in and of itself, is not a full/real proof of such a plan being carried out.
    But I have so much more to say in real proofs.
    Anyhow, I apologize for my careless spelling and grammar.
    To my own hurt I always despised the snobbery and crooked rules of our English language.

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