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Chaplain Dann's Chick (like) tract: The Loner


The plot is fictional, but Dann did work as a cowboy at the Matador ranch before the war (as shown in the cover photo). He did not meet his future wife there, however. He met Esther after being discharged from the Marines after WW2. The photos inserted in the tract are of him and his wife years later, which gives this story a strange flash back quality, jumping back and forth in time. (Especially since some of Dann's images are drawings from Rev. Wonderful, and are of him much later in life!) Dann forgot he ever made this tract until he stumbled across a single copy. It was damaged, with the front cover cut in half. However, I was able to reconstruct the cover image using the same photo found elsewhere. (But I could not do the same for the inside front cover's original art.) Dann hand cut, stapled, and assembled all his tracts. But that doesn't mean they were as rare as you might think. He said he often made 1,000 at a time! Still, the survival rate was probably microscopic, so it's a real pleasure to be able to offer them here on the world wide web for others to appreciate.

The dedication Dann put into his tract ministry is really amazing. He not only ministered in prisons for free, went to swap meets to give out tracts, and offered to speak and entertain at other churches, but he also wrote, drew, and made his own tracts-- tens of thousands of them. And that does not include the over 1,000,000 Chick tracts he estimates he's passed out to strangers or mailed out to missionaries. If you find any of Dann's tracts interesting, you really need to get the Crusaders comic about him as well, Unwanted. To say Chick has influenced his life would be a dramatic understatement. Dann basically made himself a poor man's amateur version of Chick: What he lacks in art quality, he more than makes up in enthusiasm for the cause, throwing himself completely into the fight to wrestle as many souls from Satan as humanly possible. It's interesting that he and Chick are similar in age and both fought in the same war in the same region (Pacific) and are personal friends. In an alternate universe, Chaplain Dann might represent the kind of life Chick would have lived if Chick Publications was never formed (or if it had been run out of business by the Catholic backlash of 1984). Just imagine if all of Chick's 250+ tracts were home made and photocopied and assembled on the kitchen table-- then passed out or mailed out at the personal expense of the artist. (There sure wouldn't be over 850 million of them made, not on a landscaper's wages!) Chick is considered the ultimate underground cartoonist because he self published it all without any help from the corporations, big publishers, or "the system". But Dann worked against even greater odds-- no office, no employees, and no profits! It was all a one man show, spending his time, talent, and personal income to follow in the footsteps of his two biggest heroes: JC and JTC (Jesus Christ & Jack T. Chick)!

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