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Jack T. Chick's Museum of Fine Art REVIEW WING-2
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All reviews are Copyright ©2000 by Monsterwax
"THE ACCIDENT" Review! (Art by Chick ©1999.) A tract drawn in a cartoonish style that tells the tale of a rich aristocrat who owns a castle full of treasures. His greatest item is a "carpet of snow" made from the the hides of the (virtually extinct) white tiger. But in his zeal to show off the rug to a visitor, he opens the door and knocks over a bottle of ink on his priceless treasure. Now it is stained! The poor little rich man is so sickened by this disaster that he winds up ill in bed. He can't stand the thought of the stain, so he orders the rug burnt. (This must have been before the days of Goodwill Industries.) Lucky for his Lordship (get it? He's a British "Lord" just like God) he has a physician who is also an ardent fundamentalist. With a bedside manner learned at the "how-to-win-souls-but-offend-patients" School of Medicine, this doctor casually informs Lord Winthorp that he is scheduled to burn in hell. An intense close-up shows Winthorp's face as his mouth drops, his hair stands on end, his eyes go cross-eyed and his monocle pops out (page 11). We can either assume the physician has just stuck the thermometer where the sun don't shine or doc's threat of damnation has made an impression. Sure enough, it's the latter case. Winthorp wants to become a Christian and avoid the lake of fire. Five minutes later, he feels clean and declares "the stain is GONE!" And they all live happily ever after. Grade B+. Back to Main Page.
"BAD BOB" Review! (Art by Carter ©1983, 1999.) Gather 'round children to hear of a slob who many Chick readers know as "Bad Bob." And yes, he is VERY bad. Why? Because he parents spoiled him. Or "parent" rather, since there is no sign of a father anywhere in this tract. Mommy gives little Brat Bob everything he wants and never spanks him. Fast forward and Bob has a beard, long hair and dark glasses. He pours drinks on the waitress if she doesn't give him what he ordered. The weanie bartender in the background yelps, "Call the cops, Bob's gonna tear this place apart again." His friends claim, "Bad Bob is crude, rude and socially unacceptable, but we just love him... Bob's the best connection we've ever had. He can get us acid, smack, dust, coke, speed and black beauties." (You can bet they're not talking about African Americans either, because Bob's portrait on the cover features a prominent Confederate flag.) Fortunately, our boys in blue are ever vigilant in their efforts to remove societies trash from the streets. The cops nail Bad Bob and his cousin in an undercover drug operation. Once in Jail, the two get a visitor. It's a pretty young boy who tries to witness to them. They cut lose with a string of @!!!**! and the jailer rescues the would-be punk just as the inmates nearly grab him. The jailer then lectures his captive audience that everyone deserves to "burn in hell... You two have spit in God's face and rejected His gift of eternal life, so both of you are on your way to the lake of fire." (You get the strong impression that this is one guard who doesn't provide the inmates with free condoms.)
Later that night, the jail catches fire and the guard saves Bad Bob, but the cousin becomes toast. The kindly jailer offers his condolences to Almost Baked Bob by telling him "your cousin will be in flames like that forever and ever!" Bob declares he wants to repent right away. The guard says "I'm going to leave you alone so you can settle things with God." When he leaves the uncuffed criminal alone in the emergency waiting room, Bob escapes by breaking a window and jumping from the second story to freedom. (No wait, that was Bad Bundy.) Actually, the former Bad Bob begs for forgiveness in classic King James English, going so far as spelling "Oh Lord" as "O Lord" and "Savior" as "Saviour." Chick informs us that, "At this point, Bob becomes a child of God. He is born again and made spiritually alive. He will not go into the lake of fire, but will go to heaven." Happy ending, right? Not quite. The last panel shows Bob's former drug clients depressed because they now have to find a new dealer. (One of them is a dead ringer for Captain Kangaroo!) Oh well, God's gain is Lucifer's loss. Favorite Panel Award goes to page 3 where the fruity Child Guidance Counselor is waving his hands in disbelief that a mother could even THINK of spanking her child: "Good heavens, NO! Do you want to destroy his creativity? It could ruin his personality." Another must for your collection. Grade B++ for Big Bad Bob. Return to Main Page.
"BEWITCHED?" Guest Review by Jayelle! (Art by Chick ©1972, 2000.) Well, it's obvious that Jack Chick believes in recycling, for one of his earliest tracts has been resurrected. Bewitched? is back and (barely) updated for the new millennium! In the '60s version, Debbie is lost to drugs and occultism, all because she watched Bewitched, the devil's favorite TV show. Since there aren't so many teenage Debbies running around these days, the troubled soul's name has been changed to Ashley. Bewitched? is credited for paving the way for all the devil's "occult and vampire programming viewed by MILLIONS today!" Chick proves for a fact that meetings are hell with a demonic conference. Ashley, whose drug habits, friends and pad are charmingly 60s-retro (or just not redrawn), gets involved in spiritism by contacting her dead mother. She seems to be well within hell's grasp--except that she has a "praying grandmother." Will the forces of evil claim her with one last acid flashback--or will her grandmother be able to save her first? The suspense will kill you! This tract doesn't have the best art (drawn by Jack), but it's nostalgia-inducing and definitely up to Chick's paranoid standards. Grade A for "Acid flashbacks"! Back to Main Page.
"THE BIG SPENDER" Review! (Art by Carter ©1982.) This is a modern retelling of the prodigal son. It's another "story within a story" tract and the Bible version of the prodigal son runs parallel a similar story that occurs to the main character. Howard is a gambler who wins $250,000 at the casino. Like an brash young fool, he refuses a check. "Lay it on me in cold CASH, baby!" (Austin Powers would be proud! Yeah!) The teller warns him it could be dangerous, but Howard responds "I'm a big boy. I can take care of myself." Unwiser words were never spoken. The very next panel he gets run off the road and two thugs beat the $%* out of him and steal the dough. Howy winds up on a respirator but eventually recovers... at least physically. Once healed, he's broke and homeless. His "friends" want nothing to do with him. Page 6 is especially brutal. Howard goes to someone that he lent money to and gets turned away big time. "Try skid row, mission, you bum. And don't come back here any more. You're a loser." He limps to the mission and hears a preacher tell the prodigal Son story. He gets saved. A tear jerker phone conversation soon follows with his father back home. The very last panel is full of unintended humor. When the son asks why the father forgive him, the dad doesn't say it's because he loves him. Instead, he makes it sound like it was an obligation. "I HAD TO SON. JESUS SAID, 'For if ye forgive men their trespasses (SINS), you heavenly Father will also forgive you.' SNIF" (Sniff misspelled, but he is under a lot of strain.) One can only imagine what the home life is like with a dad who provides translations within parentheses even during his most heart felt conversations. You get the distinct impression he's quite the lecturer. As if that's not enough, he also provides foot notes in his heart-to-hearts. Whata guy. There's plenty of interesting pictures in this one, a solid story line and oceans of emotions. Classic Chick. Grade A. Back to Main Page.
"THE GUNSLINGER" Review! (Art by Chick ©1997.) The adventures of Terrible Tom, a gunslinger sent to murder The Preacher, but who instead becomes born again. Meanwhile, The Marshall comes to town and gets the drop on Tom. (Not that Tom would ever hurt anyone again, seeing how he's "seen the light", but The Marshall doesn't take any chances. Into the pokey goes (now Terrific) Tom, and the following morning they hang him high. The Marshall looks on grinning while The Preacher covers his eyes. The audience appreciates the loud CRACKing noise as Tom's neck snaps. Marshal gloats "At last! Terrible Tom got EXACTLY what he deserved!" But what's this? In heaven, Faceless God welcomes Tom home! Oh yeah, God forgives everyone, even the mass murderers... (How could I forget, it's one of Chick's favorite themes.) The Marshall doesn't get the message though. The Preacher offers to save him, but the law man says nothing doing. He's too honest and law-biding to need Jesus. "If I'm not good enough for heaven, then NO ONE is." Poor fella. He lived before Chick tracts and didn't know how the system works (until it's too late, that is). Just three hours later a rattle snake strikes The Marshall square in the face! (Now that's GOTTA hurt!) Evil spirits in black Klu Klux Klan outfits pull his ghost down a desert pot hole to hell. Within minutes, The Marshall is covered in flames, screaming at the top of his lungs. "I was a GOOD man! I UPHELD the law!" Of course, we all know Chick's response to such claims: "But you NEVER received Christ as your savior." He's totally toast. Favorite Panel Award goes to the last shot as The Marshall is CONSUMED in flames, yet you can still see his face and recognize him. (How come the burn victim's skin never peels in Hell?) Some folks will probably think sending the killers to heaven and the lawmen to hell is like something out of Catch-22. But John 3:16 (Whosoever believeth in him should not perish but have everlasting life) gives Chick plenty of ammo for this interpretation. The bottom line is this: If you sin all you life and convert the very last minute, you're much better off than those who waste their lives living like angels but don't accept Jesus. A thought provoking and controversial comic. Grade B+. Return to Main Page.
"HAPPY HOUR" Review! (Art by Chick 1976.) A pretty depressing tale of a father that drinks like a fish and leaves the kids at home to starve. Did I mention that he beat his wife to death while trying to rob the cookie jar for drinking money? Yeah, a real nice guy. The perfect target for converting to Jesus and making a born again Christian. All it takes is for him to go to ONE church service and suddenly it happens. He gives up drinking, (presumably) gets a job, and the family becomes happy again. Such is the power of God. And to think he did it all without the help of a Chick tract. Amazing! Grade: B for Brutal wife Beater.
Additional "HAPPY HOUR" Remarks by Ramon: I recently reread Happy Hour for the first time in years after I pulled an extra copy at random for one of my black coworkers (though he liked Soul Story more, he still gave Happy Hour the a-ok), and I found that it was more enjoyable for me the second time around. Janice, one of the deadbeat dad's children, is very street smart for her age, and has an unforgettably intense facial expression in those panels where she holds her father accountable for spending Aunt Mary's donations on booze and subsequently breaks the bottles and wields them like defensive weapons should her now-angry father overreact at the loss.
Review some of her dialogue:
"He won't buy food...He'll buy drinks."
"He's a drunk, Aunt Mary!"
"You big liar, that's not food! Where's the groceries?"
"You touch us and I'll cut you, Daddy! We wish you'd died instead of Mommy!"
Where else do you get such bluntness in a religious piece of literature outside of the more overlooked bits of the Bible? It is this off-the-wall and obtuse shock that I've come to expect and admire from Chick's tracts and comics, and since I agree with him on most of the social and religious issues he confronts (and let's face it, he isn't known for shying away from anything except church), such as abortion, sodomy, soteriology, tentative eschatology, and evolution, for example (I disagree with his verdict on rock music and role-playing games, though I respect his viewpoint), I'm unlikely to get offended by the unrestrained passion he exhibits in communicating his thoughts in so relatively crude a fashion.
Back to Happy Hour, it appears to me that the father, Jerry, didn't commit murder after all. Mrs. Jenkins, in answering Janice's question ("Did Daddy kill her?"), assures her, "No, honey...The doctor said she had a bad heart." Apparently, in panels 2-4, Jerry pushes his persistent wife away so that he can rush off to the Cheers casting call (where everybody obviously knows his name), and the force with which he shoves her is, admittedly, violent enough to knock over both the chair he was standing on (to reach the lofty nest-egg cupboards) and a humble rickety table (which is probably all the family can afford on an alcoholic's income), but the sequence of the story still lends itself more to my interpretation than to your usual wife-beating scenario. He was concerned with putting some distance between himself and his nagging wife, not with trying to inflict physical pain upon her repeatedly. Those with cardiac disease are especially at risk of a heart attack after an intense argument, and this certainly qualifies as such. Add the cumulative stress which living in this kind of situation would likely entail, and you've got a high-risk environment for a coronary just waiting to happen. You can accuse the father of many things, from selfishness to neglect and so on, but murder is just going a bit too far. Grade B+. Back to Main Page.
"HI THERE" Review! (Art by Carter ©1975.) An unflattering rendition of red neck construction workers, one of which meets his maker after making many anti-Christian remarks. The poor soul's name is Charlie Conners. We see him cook his goose during lunch break, when he explains to all the other red necks that "We came from Monkeys. In fact, we started out in the ocean as a blob of goo! So actually the ocean is our mother. And when you're dead, you're DEAD, and that's it, baby!" The other losers sit around and pick their teeth as Charlie pontificates, nodding in agreement. When lunch is over they return to work. Charlie is walking down a cat walk when death appears and announces "hi there!" Charlie responds by cussing "@!!**!" and falling backward. He drops several stories and lands on a spike. His final words are a fitting "gurgle...ugh... help me...I ...uh... I'm starting to bur... ugghhh!" Kinda sums it up nicely, doesn't it? One of his comrades waxes eloquent with, "All his troubles are over, now." Chick responds with "Oooh? Are they really? Lets see..." And sure enough, Charlie is down in burning hot hades. Interestingly enough, he's not guarded by a demon, but an angel. One wonders what this angel did to get assigned to this kind of duty. He appears stuck with Charlie for over a thousand years, until after Jesus returns to Earth and reigns for ten centuries. (I think I'd rather have toilet detail.) Finally Charlie makes it before Jesus to face judgment. Surprise, surprise, it's Lake of Fire time! (I'm guessing that's a few degrees hotter than the caverns of fire where he spent the first 1,000 years, but I'm not sure.) Unlike other Faceless God judgment scenes, the accused remains dressed in this story. Granted, his clothes are all rags, but they're the same rags he wore 1,000 years in hades. (They must be fire retardant... and pretty darn stinky.) Lest anyone accuse Chick of not trying to scare the audience, his next to last panel features death waving to us from a dark grave yard and saying "I'll be seeing YOU!" (Subtle, huh?) Other Trivia: There is also a Chinese version of this tract with everyone's eyes (except the angel) being given Asian slants. Grade B+ for "Back to Work, Boys!" Back to Main Page.
"HIT, THE" Review! (Art by Chick ©1993.) Chick often takes popular movie titles and names tracts after them (see TERMINATOR and SUPERMAN). This tract may not be named "The Godfather," but it is certainly a take off on it. It starts out with a mobster named Tony bombing a home and killing the husband and two kids of Rose. Fast forward 15 years and Tony is in the hospital for gunshot wounds. Guess who his nurse it? Rose tells Tony she's waited 15 years to kill him and hovers over him with a menacing syringe. Unfortunately, she can't because Jesus told her she should forgive him. A sermon ensues, reducing Tony to tears. His wounds recover miraculously. The Catholic priest comes to visit but is turned away. Tony is saved and returns to his old gang. He meets all the other mob dons and proclaims (page 19) "I know you godfathers are reasonable men... so I'm going to make you an offer you can't refuse. Either accept Jesus Christ and go to heaven or die in your sins and burn in hell." Tony looks just like Brando at this point, complete with the godfather hand gestures. Your Godfather collection is not complete without this tract. You better collect it or someone might stick a horse head in your bed. Grade B for Brando. Return to Main Page.
"HIT PARADE" Review! (Art by Carter ©1979.) The theme of this tract is "Anger God and you'll get what's coming to yah." It chronicles how Jehovah always smites the enemies of Israel, but sold the Jews into slavery the moment they misbehaved. The gays get special attention in this tract also. Sodom is compared to modern day America. One panel ends with the ominous line "This time the US will feel the sting of God's Awful Judgment." The reader turns the page and WHAMO! It's the mushroom shaped cloud of Thermonuclear Attack! (Scare tactics, anyone?) This tract is depressing but an accurate reminder of how bad things seemed during Jimmy Carter's Presidency. (It was printed in 1979.) As page 15 puts it, "Patriotism is a joke-- the dollar is dying-- Russia has overtaken us militarily-- our population is defenseless and the smell of war is in the air." It's hard to imagine now, but like many "boomers", I remember having nightmares of nuclear war during those very years. Nothing seemed secure. Inflation was amok, unemployment was high, gas prices soared and Iran had us by the short and curlys. This tract was probably VERY SCARY during its day. Plenty of its gripes are still current, but enough are outdated that it will (probably) never be reprinted. The fine line art is superb, but the graphics are somewhat crowded out by text. Grade B+ for Big Boom Boom. Return to Main Page.
"HUNTER" Review! (Art by Chick ©1987.) This tract is to comics what "Reefer Madness" was to movies: Hardcore anti-drug propaganda taken to the nth-degree! And it's full of the conspiracy paranoia that makes Chick tracts so much fun. The cover sets the tone: Young Bobby is pictured inside the center of a rifle scope's cross-hairs. Satan commands his slaves to bring him more souls on the next page. They race up to Earth and threaten their rich mortal collaborators, who quickly hold meetings to discuss how to increase their quotas. They decide to lean on Curt, a high school Football Captain and class Vice President who's the Big Man on Campus. Curt has a constant smirk on his face and looks suspiciously like Bill Clinton (see page 8). Curt targets Bobby and Jimbo, two new youngsters at school. They are thrilled to get attention from "the Big Man." He invites them to a party that is filled with dolls, drugs, and the devil's rock & roll. Curt offers them something to smoke with "happy powder" in it. (He thinks to himself, "One drag on that primo and you're mine, stupid!") Some girls give Bobby a PCP cocktail, and he goes bananas! ("Poor baby. He can't handle it. He's freaked! Haw, haw.") They decide to dump Bobby on the side of the road somewhere. He winds up in the Hospital screaming at the top of his lungs. A month later, his brother Doug meets with the doctor (a dead ringer for Billy Dee Williams) to hear the prognosis. "All his insurance is gone," The doc explains, "You'll have to admit him to a state mental institution for long term care. His mind is gone; he'll never recover." Doug responds with classic understatement: "This is terrible." Yes Doug, it is. And so is the rest of the script. But fortunately, it is so campy, it is fun nevertheless. Rather than dwell on medical options, the doctor then launches into a sermon about Jesus and the 2nd coming. Within minutes, they are both on their knees in the doctor's office and praying-- not to heal Bobby, but to save Doug. (I wonder if Medicare is paying for this?) Back at "high" school, Clinton-- I mean Curt-- is lining up Jimbo with a fix. Since Jimbo made a threat about turning Curt in, Curt decides to give him some "pure stuff to take him out." As he delivers his going away present to Jimbo, Curt smiles and says, "It's been real nice knowing you kid (may you rot in hell!)" Jimbo injects the drug and promptly o.d's The last page shows Curt getting congratulated by his evil mentor. He wins a football scholarship (or was it a Rhodes scholarship?), a fancy new sports car, and a firm hand shake. He'll make a great politician... Meanwhile in Hell, Jimbo is shocked to discover he's standing naked in a pillar of flames. Satan rubs salt in the wound by taunting him. It's a downbeat ending, but that's why they call it "dope!" Favorite Panel Award goes to page 12. Bobby is FREAKING OUT and racing toward the viewer with THAT CRAZY LOOK in his eyes! Kids! Don't try this at home! Grade: A for Addiction. Return to Main Page.
"KISS THE PROTESTANTS GOODBYE" Review! (Art by Chick ©1981.) Once The Whore of Rome (Chick's pet name for The Vatican) started fighting Chick Publications over the publishing of the Alberto series, Jack responded with several counter-attack tracts. They included The Poor Pope, My Name... in the Vatican? Is There Another Christ? The Death Cookie and Kiss the Protestants Goodbye. This particular tract sports a tombstone on the cover inscribed "Rest in Peace." Chick reminds readers that Rome executed millions of Protestants during the Inquisition for refusing to bow to the Pope, and that the origin of the word "protestant" means to protest. Then he launches into Vatican conspiracies to infiltrate the Protestant seminaries, corrupt the the King James Bible, and turn one Christian church against another. You can tell that Chick feels DEAD CERTAIN that he is right and is BURSTING AT THE SEAMS to tell the reader of ALL the various Catholic behind-the-scenes intrigues. 99% of the writing is in BIG CAPITAL LETTERS as if he's SHOUTING from the ROOF! As a result of all this information, very few illustrations are included (a definite minus to an otherwise A-1 comic). But this obscure tract is still very desirable on account of all the inflammatory language and "Jesuit under every bed" conspiracy claims. There's no telling how much of it is accurate or not, but it certainly gives insight to Chick's Biblical beliefs and how hot the feud between Chick Publications and the Catholic Church got during the early '80s. In Chick's words, after Alberto was published, "IT HIT THE FAN!" (page 18). Grade: B+ for Blasphemer! Return to Main Page.
"THE LETTER" GUEST REVIEW by Richard Lee! (Art by Carter ©1982.) This tract is a very entertaining story, and is one of two tracts (Reverend Wonderful being the other) with the real-life personality of "Chaplain Dann" as a main character. He has been the subject of several Battle Cry articles. The first panel shows Chaplain Dann passing out (what else?) Chick tracts. As he attempts to hand a copy of Somebody Loves Me to a woman named Mildred, she chews him out for being a fanatic; "I'm a Christian and what YOU'RE doing cheapens the Gospel! I let people SEE how I live. I don't cram it down their throats like YOU do! You, sir are fanatic and an embarrassment!" Mildred is dressed in fine clothes, wears a Martha Stewart hair style, and lives in a mansion. She must be a well-to-do Episcopalian or Presbyterian. She's not an undignified blue collar fundamentalist who would pass out tracts in a Chaplain Dann-like manner. It seems obvious that Jack Chick wrote The Letter with such mainline Protestants in mind, since they are not exactly known for their Evangelical fervor, but better known for their upper middle class socio-economic status and having more at stake in the wider culture. Her last caustic insult to Chaplain Dann is "How dare you place yourself with the Apostles! YOU'RE SICK! Get away from me or I'll call the police!" The Holy Apostles are in a class by themselves, and would not be a bottom-of-the-food-chain, blue collar Chaplain Dann type who hands out religious propaganda in an actual attempt to convert anybody!
As Mildred falls asleep mumbling about how she is so glad she is not like the protagonist Chaplain Dann, she starts to dream about the regions of the damned. Somehow, someone in Hell manages to write a letter without the paper burning up. (One wonders how a tormented soul could have enough light to write a letter in the blackness of hell, but this is only a dream sequence.) Two demonic/angelic messengers (not the cute demons with horns that Jack usually draws) take the letter and pass through the nether regions as others writhe in hellish torment.
They reach Mildred's gated estate (she definitely ain't a Pentecostal or Baptist!) while she finishes a telephone call from her pastor thanking her for her "generous gift" to the church. Mildred says that it was "her Christian duty." (This is a not-too-subtle jab at mainline Protestants who relegate generous gifts to their churches while ignoring the larger Christian duty of evangelism. Chick rarely misses an opportunity to take a swipe at the mainliners for having misplaced priorities!)
One of the demonic messengers enters her master bedroom to deliver the message while the other one waits outside the gate. Judging from the scream "EEEEEEK!" the waiting demon knows that contact has been made. The messenger tells Mildred "here is the letter I was to deliver. It's from a friend...IN HELL!" She reads it, and it's a poem from a friend: "Though we lived together here on Earth, you never told me of your second birth. And now I stand this day condemned...because you failed to mention Him." As she continues to read it, the demonic messengers are shown returning to their domain, again bypassing the souls in torment. She finishes the letter, "And yet in coming to this end, I see you really weren't my friend. Signed Frances." Mildred wakes up from her dream, horrified and shaking. She reflects how Christ died for the sins of the whole world, and how she'll share Christ with Frances on Monday night. (It seems unlikely that a mainline Protestant would be so well versed in the Scriptures she quotes from, since contemporary mainline Protestantism is more focused on social action than "soul saving" evangelism.) When Monday night rolls around, she calls to find out that Frances died the previous Saturday when her car hit a tree. The final frame is classic: Mildred's eyes are open in horror, realizing that she was ashamed to tell her friend about Jesus Christ, and now it's too late!
This tract undoubtedly has frightened many Christians into being more zealous in sharing their faith and preventing others from taking deep dives into the lake of fire. The scenes of torment with a touch of sulfur smell added to the ink on the tract adds to the overall ambiance. A true tract classic! A+ (Return to Main Page.)
"THE PRESENT" Review! (Art by Carter ©1993.) This tract features an unusual art style for Carter. The first seven pages have characters drawn as goofy cartoons from a ferry tale book. That's also the tone of the story. It tells how a good king sends his beloved son to the village to tell his people he has prepared some apartments for them in his Castle. But the villagers don't believe the son and kill him. The king is outraged and sends his army to destroy the village. Then Chick reveals that this story is really the true story of Jesus. He shows scenes of the same story taking place, only the characters are no longer cartoonish and goofy looking. Instead, they appear as skeptical Jews confronting a generous Jesus. An angry pharisee yells out that they should "Crucify him!". And so they did. The sacrifice, judgment and eternal torment are summarized using panels seen in previous tracts. Then the usual "how to pray and get saved" panel concludes the story. This is a decent enough tract, but probably not anyone's favorite. However, it is effective at communicating Chick's main message, and for that reason, it is probably pretty popular with missionaries and other witnesses. Grade: B. Return to Main Page.
"THE PASSOVER PLOT?" Review! (Artwork by Chick ©1972.) This tract has several blood red inserts, which certainly add to it's novelty factor. It tells one of Chick's favorite Old Testament Tales: God's vengeance against Egypt. The ten plagues are all outlined with typical Chick glee. Venom oozes from every panel as the Egyptian misfortunes are added up like trophies. Hey, they asked for it, so they got it! Then again, it also mentions that God hardened Pharaoh's heart, so in a way, he was just "following orders." (Details, details!) Then it compares the Passover blood smeared on the Jewish doorways to the blood Jesus gave on the cross for Christians. (Same God, but a different Chosen.) How the Jewish Pharisees tried to cover up the resurrection is also outlined. The Favorite Panel Award goes to just such a scene: A sneaky Jewish leader is paying off a corrupt Roman soldier with a fist full of coins. He whispers "Say his Disciples stole his body! Matt. 28:12-13." Normally, biblical references are provided with * and a footnote, but by actually including it within the word balloon, it makes it look as if an ancient Jewish Rabbi is quoting the New Testament long before it is written! (Haw-haw-haw!) Grade B+. Return to Main Page.
"PLAGUES" Review! (Art by Chick ©1991.) Like The Passover Plot?, this tract also tells the story about Egypt and the Plagues. The artwork includes fantastic detail that makes Fred Carter's work so wonderful. The subtitle is "The Story of Moses, Part 1", so it presumably goes with the Sin Busters tract subtitled "The Story of Moses, Part 2". Instead of focusing on Passover, it gives more attention to how Moses was discovered as a baby on the Nile, grew up to lead the Jewish revolt, and how Pharaoh's army was held back with a pillar of flame and eventually drowned in the Red Sea. It's basically an Old Testament tract, but a good one at that and well worth obtaining. The cover features a great graphic of a Vulture staring at two dead feet on a dried up mud flat. Ten toes to taste, but which will be first? Creepy! Grade B+. Return to Main Page.
"RANSOM" Review! (Art by Chick ©1995.) There are some Chick tracts that are so unrealistic, they are hilarious. This is one of those. It's so exaggerated, so stereotypical, so unbelievable-- you gotta love it. The plot is pretty basic: two thugs (one complete with a pirate eye-patch and gold ear-ring hoop) kidnap the poor sister of a rich couple. The rich folks are total snobs and could care less. When the kidnappers tell their victim that she hasn't been ransomed, she jumps on the opportunity to preach about Jesus. "Oh Yes I have!" She declares, "My ransom has been paid in full... and I've been set free!" (Children please note: Don't try this line on your kidnappers if you are ever abducted. They will probably kill you just to shut you up.) But in Chick-World, the criminals want to hear all about it as they untie her. Both crooks instantly convert to Christianity and not a moment too soon, as the cops have traced the ransom call and are surrounding the building. They bust in and arrest the thugs but the victim refuses to press charges. Instead, she screams "How DARE you invade our Prayer meeting! Have you no respect? These are my new brothers!" (Eat your heart out Patty Hearst, this lady makes you look normal in comparison.) Favorite panel award goes to page 19. As the Christian crooks devoutly pray, a tear drop falls from the Pirate's eye patch. That's really kinda gross if you think about it. Grade: B+. Return to Main Page.
"REVEREND WONDERFUL" GUEST REVIEW by Richard Lee! (Art by Carter ©1982.) This tract appears to be a sister tract to The Letter, wherein the real-life Chaplain Dann guest stars in both tracts. The opening page displays politically correct religious diversity as one of the characters appears to be a Hindu. The people are fawning over a Rev. Dr. Westhall, a slick highly educated respectable clergyman who obviously is not a born again Fundamentalist. As often as Jack Chick is able to do so, he addresses Catholicism in his tracts. This one is no exception. Dr. Westhall has just had a private audience with the Pope, and is scheduled to give a dinner speech after speaking with reporters. Thirty miles away, Chaplain Dann is praying for boldness to share the Gospel with the one whom he hopes God will lead him to. Sensitive to the instruction of God, Dann is lead to the location where he is destined to meet Dr. Westhall. Meanwhile, Westhall is at a prestigious dinner party where his accomplishments are announced. He is voted "the most loved man in America...He's so humble...one of today's GREAT men of God." Chick is implying in a not-so-subtle manner that TRUE men of God are never loved or accepted. In fact, although Westhall is fictional, Chick is implying that Westhall is based on Pope-lover and most loved preacher Billy Graham, who in fact WAS considered one of America's most loved men, and seldom slandered in the news media. (Chick indicates in Smokescreens that he believes Graham to be a pawn or knowing agent of the Vatican.)
As the story continues, Dr. Westhall gives his speech: "Yes, God cares about souls, but He also cares about SOCIAL JUSTICE...the poor and needy! We must UNITE to fight ignorance and bigotry. Oh, how it must hurt God to see Protestants, Jews, and Catholics bickering over incidentals...We must PULL TOGETHER to usher in a great New Age, for the glory of God." Like The Letter, this tract is a swipe at liberal mainline Protestants who tend to emphasize social justice over evangelism and the literal Second Coming of Christ. Furthermore, Chick considers the union of Protestants, Jews, and Catholics to be a compromise of Biblical doctrine, and such a unity will constitute a super church in the end times which foreshadows the return of Christ. As Westhall leaves in a limo, he converses with a Catholic priest whom he calls "Father." Chick refers the reader to Matthew 23:9, which seems to forbid the use of such religious titles. Westhall's assistant forgot his notes, so they are forced to go back to the office to retrieve them. The slick limo is to be compared with Chaplain Dann's humble Ford truck which drives up nearby with "1 HOPE 4U" on the license plate. Again, as in The Letter, Chick highlights the subtle socio-economic angle which separates the likes of Chaplain Dann, a lowly Fundamentalist, with the high and mighty types of a Dr. Westhall, a prestigious mainline Protestant. As Westhall descends from his office stairs, Dann confronts him: "The Lord sent me to talk to you about your soul...If you died tonight, are you sure you would go to heaven?" You can barely see the Chick tracts in his shirt pocket. As Westhall's assistant and priest-friend come to his rescue, they extol his pedigree: "THE Dr. Westhall...D.D., M.A., B.A., Th.D., D.R.E. Come on, Dr. Westhall, or you'll miss your plane." As he leaves, Chaplain Dann shouts, "But you never told me...are you SAVED?" To further add insult (with the added socio-economic elitist angle), Westhall exclaims "How HUMILIATING! People like that are SICK! ...we should talk to the Governor about passing a law to keep people like him off the streets." (So the politically correct, social justice conscious mainline Protestants and Catholics would consider putting true Fundamentalist soul winners in mental hospitals or prisons, if provided the chance!)
Dr. Westhall boards his plane and dies in a midair collision. His funeral is attended by thousands, although after the cataclysmic collision, it is assumed that his funeral did NOT have an open casket! On the Day of Judgment, Chick shows the "scandal" of grace, when a prostitute and drug addict named Mary Lou Richards (has Mary Tyler Moore read this tract?) is granted eternal life because she repented and accepted Christ. Jesus then tells Dr. Westhall that his name was not in the Book of Life, because he never accepted Christ while he was alive.
I especially enjoy the earlier version of Reverend Wonderful because it contains a lengthier speech by Jesus of Westhall's faults. Westhall is condemned for preaching a gospel of love and unity rather than separation and holiness. People spent time in "YOUR books, tapes, etc." rather than in the Bible. Not only that, the earlier version is more vocally anti-Catholic than the updated version. Westhall is condemned for not calling Catholics out of the false religious system, and hating Dann in his heart for witnessing to him. That was his only chance before the plane crash, and he blew it. Therefore, it's luau time in the Lake of Fire forever! This tract features class envy at it's best, with plenty here to offend everyone including Hindus, Jews, Catholics, non-Fundamentalist mainline Protestants, upper middle class people, and charitable workers who donate money, time, and effort to social causes, but neglect to preach salvation through Christ. A+ (Return to Main Page.)
"SIN BUSTERS" GUEST REVIEW by Ryan Hill! (Art by Carter ©1991.) Jack Chick does his best to counteract the separation of church and state. Like Doom Town, this tract has a short modern story as parenthesis to a tale out of the Old Testament. The best panels come from this modern story, which makes me wish he had granted it more time.
One student learns that a teacher was arrested for putting the 10 Commandments on a bulletin board. "The 10 what?" he asks. Another student then explains to him about the story of Moses, and how he received the 10 commandments. This includes some good parts where Chick depicts people ignoring each commandment. Fans of the 8th, 9th and 10th commandments, however, may be disappointed when those are skimmed over in half a page.
The story then pulls back to present day, as the one student expresses wonder at why this knowledge has been hidden from him. The other student explains that it is the fault of "the evil world system that now controls most schools." The younger student then promptly prays to Jesus to forgive him, with tears streaming from the outside corners of his eyes. The best panel is probably the first, where police lay the boots into the teacher while onlookers cheer and drug dealers operate ten feet away. Another few points for the references to an anti-Christian conspiracy, and some of the portrayals of the commandments are good. All in all, I'd give it a B+ for busting the teacher! Return to Main Page.
[Interesting trivia: page 3 features the two school kids walking beneath the U.S. flag. This same image is used in the revised reprint of The Gay Blade, except the two boys are holding hands!]
"THE WARNING" Review! (Art by Chick ©2000.) It looks like the cast from Four Brothers was reassembled to perform this tale about four boys who go swimming where they're not supposed to. The signs warn "Danger-- Keep Out", but of course, the kids ignore the warnings completely. Only one boy is held back from the dark lake when his clothes snag on the barbed wire fence. The other three dive straight in. "Oops," would be an understatement. In a scene taken straight from Urban Legends, the lake suddenly teams with poisonous snakes which bite and kill all three boys. Fast forward a couple of weeks as the local preacher exploits the tragedy with a sermon about the garden of Eden. "About 6,000 years ago the worst snake attack in history took place." The snake he's referring to is the devil that tempted Eve. Oddly enough, when Chick draws the Satan snake, he forgets to include the legs! (God made him crawl on his belly AFTER tossing the humans out of Eden.) One might question the timing of such a sermon while the parents of the dead children are still in mourning, but from a tract standpoint, it all makes fun reading. Favorite Panel Award goes to page 12, which shows the bubble thrashing bottom half of a kid swimming as the snakes rise up from the bottom to attack. Ew! The grim anticipation is too much! Grade B+ Return to Main Page.
"WHO MURDERED CLARICE?" Review! (Art by Chick ©2000.) This is a hard hitting anti-abortion tract that is apparently inspired by Chick's pseudo-recent discovery that "someone" in his family had an abortion without his prior knowledge. Chick stated in the same public letter that his own mother had wanted to abort him as well. So the issue is obviously one of deep personal importance. This tract doesn't focus so much on the "silent scream" type tactics of showing dead baby fetuses, but relies more on showing abortion supporters being sentenced to hell by a faceless God. One panel states "Jesus Christ can be your most loving friend...or the most frightening enemy in the universe." The throned deity in this tale is clearly an example of the latter case. He convicts anyone associated with abortion to the Lake of Fire, be they the women who had the abortion, the doctors who performed them, or the Supreme Court Justices who legalized them. But Chick reminds the reader that God will forgive the murderer if (and only if) they sincerely repent and become saved. Other panels provide a brief history of how Satan LOVES to murder babies. Examples include King Herod's "slaughter of the Innocents," the Nazi Holocaust, and the occult's ritual of sacrificing babies and drinking their blood. The main emphasis returns to the modern day Holocaust of 45 million abortions per year. There is very little humor in this tract, either in cartoon style or satire (unlike Baby Talk, another anti-abortion Chick tract that is rife with sarcasm). Favorite Panel Award goes to page 4 where Chick casually mentions that the abortion doctor eventually dies "a VERY wealthy man" and is sent to meet his maker. Instead of the usual Chick treatment showing a rich playboy getting killed in an unexpected jet or limo crash, Chick shows the depressed doctor blowing his highly educated brains out with a .45 caliber Baretta. Apparently, EVERYONE who is involved with abortion is racked with guilt despite outward appearances to the contrary. If they aren't, they probably will be after reading this tract! Grade: B for Babyless. Return to Main Page.
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