Welcome to the
Jack T. Chick's Museum of Fine Art REVIEW WING-3
This is the 3rd Review Wing. You may also peruse Wing 1 or Wing 2.
If you would like YOUR review to be included here, e-mail it directly to our curator at firstname.lastname@example.org BE ADVISED THAT YOU ARE SURRENDERING ALL COPYRIGHT to your review and that it becomes property of the museum. (In case we reprint it here or elsewhere.) Go here to see a list of available titles. Allow a few days for it to appear on this site. We reserve the right to refuse any essays, but we intend to publish as many as we can. Please avoid profanity in the true CHICK spirit, but anything else is fair game, pro or con. You will receive credit (your name or email) along side your essay. (Let us know which you prefer.)
Enjoy your stay!
All reviews are Copyright ©2000 by Monsterwax
"BACK FROM THE DEAD" Review! (Art by Carter ©1982.) This is the story of a man who is hauled into a hospital and pronounced dead, but who awakens in the morgue soon thereafter. He screams that he's seen hell and demands to speak to a preacher. At first, the preacher is incredulous that someone actually WANTS to get saved. But it doesn't take the preacher long before he starts-- what else? Preaching: "When you're really dead, it's for keeps. There's no second chance! Want to talk about it?" The hysterical living corpse is only too glad to expound on his near-lake-of-fire experience. "It was dark down there. I was in some kind of room... All around me were these ugly, hideous, smelly things in all kinds of shapes, laughing at me, hurting me." It wasn't the National Convention of Trial Lawyers, but you're getting warm... It was HELL! His narrative includes flash backs from down below. "All at once they opened a big door... Beyond that door was an ocean, an ocean of fire! Flames everywhere and I heard screams." The preacher explains it is a Lake of Fire burning with Brimstone (Rev. 19:20). The patient wants to know why churches aren't warning more people about it. "Most preachers don't' believe in hell. Of those who do, many sidestep it so they won't offend their congregations." The patient becomes outraged. The preacher explains that Satan wants to take as many as he can to hell. "He's got kids into punk rock believing that hell will be party time... Some are so anxious to get there that they are committing suicide." (Now if only the Rap and Country music crowd would join suit, we could clean up the radio dial. But I digress...) The preacher lists various sins that will earn you space in hell. The list is too long to recite here, but it has most recreational activities in it, including drugs, drinking, fornication and lying. (Is it getting kind of hot in here?) He also gives the standard Chick tract attack against the competition: "No church, saints, Buddha, Mary, Confucius, Allah-- No religion can save you from going to the Lake of Fire. Only Jesus can!" Then we're told how the blood of Jesus washes our sin away. The patient prays, then turns to us to give the final pitch, stepping out of character like some cheesy actor in a 1950's t.v. commercial: "Now I'm saved. My name is in the book of life. And by God's grace, I'm going to heaven." Corny? Absolutely, but effective! And during this entire tale, THE FOOTNOTE is working its subliminal magic. What's that you say? You missed the footnote? Go back to page 11 and read the fine print: "This story is partially based on a true story, Three Men Who Went to Hell, shown on PM Magazine, Channel 11, Los Angeles, Feb 24, 1982." (This is where the trumpets from Dragnet blast their dramatic flourish.) Grade: A for ALMOST dead. Back to Main Page.
"A DEMON'S NIGHTMARE" Guest Review by Dave! (Art by Chick ©1962, 1972.) This is one of my favorite Chick tracts. It's lighthearted, funny, and for a change the demons get punished in hell rather than the hapless sinner. It also has a rather cool sub text on spiritual warfare (for more on that topic check out Bill Schoenebelens "blood on the doorposts" from the Chick site). I love the idea of demons fighting for mans' soul. Its a classic theme that goes back to C.S. Lewis's The Screwtape Letters among many others. It also kind of reminds me of some of Frank Perettis' novels.
The tract is just great. It starts out with two demons perched on a building doing guard duty (note the headset one wears). They spot a Christian coming and immediately swing into action. The Christian finds one of Chick's "cool kids" in the park and breaks the ice with "say, did you ever hear of the time God was murdered by man?" (That would kind of make me a bit nervous but that's just me.) The story moves along nicely as the Christian guy fills the kid in with the gospel while the demons fume. Favorite Panel is where demon A regrets inciting the mob to crucify Jesus and demon B tells him to "SHUT UP... Can't you ever drop that subject?" The kid goes home and his parents are of course horrified that their son is a "Christian". (Odd, my folks were actually pretty happy when I became a Christian.) Anyway, he goes out with a couple of friends (check out the striped jacket). They drink hooch and meet up with a couple of nice looking babes. He gets laughed at when he tells them he's saved. (Kinda sad.) The next morning he gets up to go to church and the demons are there trying to change his mind. They tag along to church where they make cutting remarks. They make a mistake when they decide to skip the Wednesday Bible Study though (they hang out at the kids house to watch TV). The kid meets up with the guy in the park while their boss catches the poor devils. They're in deep do-do! Turns out the kid will become a missionary and lead many souls to Christ! I almost felt a little sorry for the two little demons as they ride the elevator down to deeper levels of hell. The last page is great as the demons ask us to burn this tract so the next person to find it won't turn to Christ since they "would miss having their company" (in hell). All in all a great story, classic Chick art, and a solid message. Grade A Back to Main Page.
"DON'T READ THAT BOOK" Review! (Art by Chick ©1972.) This is one of the toughest Chick tracts to find, but fortunately, a copy of it can be easily obtained by the purchase of Chicks' paperback book "The Next Step." (It's reprinted in chapter Two.) There are not very many cartoons or images in it. Most the panels are full of dry text explaining a strict routine you should follow to read the Bible. In fact, four pages are filled with nothing but lists of chapters along with what day you should read them. The basic premise is that you should read ten chapters per day. Easy you say? Just grab a Bible and a book mark, and stash it near the toilet or bed stand for convenient reading? Nah, that would be too easy. Chick has to make it difficult. First, you have to have your "tools." Colored pencils, a note book, and your personal Bible (King James version, natch). Then you have to pray each day BEFORE you read, asking for guidance and placing yourself in the proper frame of mind. No speed reading folks, that would be cheating! You have to underline relevant passages and take notes as you go along. You have to keep this tract nearby also, because instead of reading from cover to cover, you're suppose to jump all around following a complicated formula of one chapter from ten different places scattered throughout the Bible. Why? I dunno. The Lord works in mysterious ways (or at least, Chick Publications does). The good news is that you'll be finished reading the Bible in just four months, at which time you're supposed to start all over again and again until your drop dead (and get eternal life, whereupon you will presumably continue the ritual indefinitely). Why is it so important to memorize the Bible from cover to cover? Well, page 5 gives one clue: Like Christians elsewhere in the world, you may soon be tossed into a dungeon and the only Bible verses you'll be able to enjoy are the ones you've memorized. Another reason is provided on page 12. "Won't you feel silly when you talk with Habakkuk in the next life and you have to say to him, 'Uh, no, I didn't read your book! I didn't even know it was in the Bible!'" (Talk about eternal embarrassment!) Let's face it, this is one of the most boring Chick tracts ever made. Chick's enthusiasm for the Bible and his determination to get everyone to read it becomes painfully obvious. However, even though the tract itself is not very exciting, the message within is what Chick tracts are really all about. Grade: C+ for Christian reading. Return to Main Page.
"FAT CATS" Review! (Art by Chick ©1989.) This tract has a similar theme to The Poor Revolutionist. It follows the exploits of a loser who joins the communist revolution to improve society and is ultimately betrayed. But this time, the location is in South America, and the Catholics involvement is front in center. The story begins in the dining room of a rich and powerful General. He and his cronies are feasting when news of unrest is reported. Rather than address the problems of starvation and unemployment that created the unrest, the General orders his soldiers to crush any resistance. A Catholic priest pats the General on the shoulder and blesses his wise decision (then burps). The village of San Marcos is attacked. One of the few survivors is Carlos. He decides, "the people must rise up and throw those criminals out of the palace." Juan is the balding El Stupido who actually believes Carlos and his commie chums will improve things if he joins their revolution and wins. Despite dire warnings from his wife and a six page mini-sermon from her father (a Fundamentalist preacher), Juan goes to join the rebel forces. Carlos is delighted to have him. "When we win, you will always be at my side." Carlos introduces Juan to Father Dominic, "a good communist." Juan is taken back. He asks, "Excuse me, Father, but I thought the Catholic church hated the communists." Dominic replies, "Not any more. Many of them have changed!... Didn't you know that Jesus was a revolutionary just like Carlos?" Dominic shows Juan an 8 x 10 inch drawing of Jesus with an AK-47 which he just happens to have ready and says, "He said take from the rich and give to the poor. Jesus was a communist, you know." Juan disagrees and mentions his father in law. The priest becomes very interested. "Juan, your father-in-law is a dangerous man. His name is Perez and he lives in Santa Rosa? I think I will pay him a visit."
The revolutionary movement grows, due in a large part to the efforts of Father Dominic and his "connections world-wide." Carlos admits to Juan that Dominic was one of several children taken to Russia and turned into nuns and priests, then "trained how to implement Liberation Theology and socialism." The revolution reaches full force and the palace falls. Two days later, Juan learns that his wife and family were executed for being "enemies of the people and heretics." And to make matters even more dramatic, it turns out his Father-in-law was necklaced under orders of Father Dominic. (Chick provides a footnote to make sure everyone knows that necklacing means placing a gasoline filled tire around a person's neck and setting it on fire.) Juan gets predictably upset and swears revenge. Dominic hears about the threat and convinces Carlos to "make an example out of him." The next panel shows a soldier blowing Juan's brains out with a pistol as Dominic looks on smirking. Chick's dry commentary is rather sardonic. "The predictions of Juan's father-in-law proved to be true. Juan will now taste communist justice." The execution is pretty graphic, too. Juan is knelling with his hands tied behind his back while the bullet goes threw his head and knocks his glasses off. (Bastard commies! Don't they know you're supposed to let folks remove their glasses before you blast their brains out?) Juan then gets a double whammy as he's condemned to the Lake of Fire by the Faceless God for not accepting Christ as his lord and Savior. The last panel is virtually a duplicate of the first, only now Carlos is the feasting General ordering his men to put down unrest while Dominic blesses his wise decision (and burps). This tract probably didn't get much distribution in Nicaragua or South Africa. Some of the comparisons are way too close for comfort. But it's classic Chick through and through, attacking both Communism and Catholicism at the same time. Grade: A- Return to Main Page.
"IN THE BEGINNING" Review! (Art by Chick ©2000.) Just when you were beginning to reconcile your beliefs in science and the Bible, in trots Chick's latest attack on nearly every popular prehistoric scientific theory. In it, Chick condemns Evolution, the Big Bang theory, and any symbolic interpretations of the story of Genesis. Instead, he maintains that dinosaurs and man were both created at the same time... 6,000 years ago. This tract is destined to become popular with Christian critics everywhere. It gives them fresh ammo to portray Fundamentalists as Ludites who refuse to except scientific evidence that may contradict the Bible in any way, shape or form. Of course, in real life there are plenty of Christians who believe in some form of Evolution and a symbolic version of Genesis, but you won't find them in this tract. This story follows the intellectual awakening of Jason, as he's alerted to the sinister brainwashing that evil eggheads have perpetrated on him. His roommate "Bob" sets him straight: "There was nothing 'prehistoric.' That word was created to brainwash us." Bob informs Jason that the world is roughly 6,000 years old. Jason is shocked. "Then what I've been taught in school, films and magazines is all phony." Now you're catching on, Jason, but just in case you haven't, let's have Bob restate it one more time for any of the less bright comic book readers: "There were no prehistoric men, Jason. Before Day One, there was no world." The good news here is that Christians can flunk Paleontology and wear that failure as a badge of honor. There is NO MIDDLE GROUND. It's all or nothing folks, the Bible said it and that settles it. At one point, Bob reminds the reader that according to Genesis, on Day 3, grass and fruit were created. Only on Day 4 was the Sun, moon and stars made. So "they had to be real days or the plants and trees would have died." So much for non-literal Creationists. But if you're like me, this kind of hard line interpretation makes Chick tracts all the more enjoyable. One can't help but admire the ultra enthusiastic hard-line faith of defending every word, dash and period in the Bible as if it were Holy Writ. Which, I guess it is-- so maybe that's the entire point. Favorite Panel Award goes to page 5, where Bob declares "There was no big bang!" This news is so startling, that not only does Jason give a double take, but so does his model dinosaur! (Abiogenesis anyone?) Also note the "JTC" cover credit has been replaced with the number one. That's because this tract is only the first installment featuring Bob Williams, who will return in the 24 more tracts to tell more stories of the Bible in the months that follow. Grade: A- for Anthropology. Back to Main Page.
"IT'S COMING" Review! (Art by Chick ©2000.) Here's proof that Chick doesn't make tracts like he did in the good old days. He makes them better! (Or at least more entertaining.) This is tract #2 of a series of 25 tracts which converge history with the Bible. It even uses the same two characters from the last tract (Jason and Bob). This time, Jason drags his cousin Janet into the debate. They argue with Bob about the Noah's Ark story. Bob believes the world is 6,000 years old, and that every animal and human alive today owes their survival to an ancestor who climbed aboard the Ark. Noah built the Ark despite taunts from his evil neighbors. They watch in disbelief as twosomes of animals and dinosaurs line up to enter the Ark. (There's a Woolly Mammoth, a couple of T-Rex, and a Pteranodon-- just to mention a few. What happened to their offspring is not mentioned.) God's giant arm is shown reaching out of heaven to shut the door of the Ark as the waters rise. Every living thing outside the ark drowns in a giant whirlpool. "Billions of dead creatures became trapped beneath millions of tons of rock and mud. Huge layers of sediment were formed. The skeletal remains of these creatures became the fossils we find today." (No explanation for why the human fossils are not buried in the same layers as the dinosaurs is offered.) The happy ending shows the Ark safely perched on a mountain top with a rainbow above it. "God promised never to destroy the Earth again by water..." (Hurrah!) "...the next time it will be by fire." (Oh joy. I think I preferred the water.) Janet is stunned by this presentation. "GASP! My professors lied to me!" (That's college, babe.) Jason warns her, "It's evolution or Jesus. What is your choice?" Can you guess her answer? Favorite Panel Award goes to page 13 where some dude is riding a Triceratops and waving to the reader. It looks like more fun than a barrel full of ancestors. Grade A for Aquifer. Back to Main Page.
"IVAN THE TERRIBLE" Review! (Art by Chick ©1984.) Yet another Cold War relic, but this time, the emphasis is on how the commies were bamboozled by the Vatican. It begins with an American passing a Soviet diplomat a small piece of paper at the United Nations Building. In real life, the CIA would swarm in and tackle both men in an attempt to prevent the unauthorized transfer of military secrets. But this is Chick's world, and the small piece of paper is-- you guessed it-- a Chick tract. Normally, accepting this tract automatically does one of two things: (1.) It results in the imminent death of the recipient who then goes to hell for ripping up the tract and refusing to believe in Jesus, or (2.) It "saves" the recipient after they read it with an open mind and are immediately converted by its contents. These "born again" readers usually go on to live long and rewarding lives, though we do get previews of their eventual death so that we can witness their glorious entrance into heaven. But Ivan The Terrible is a rare exception. We never learn whether Ivan becomes saved or not! He doesn't tear up the tract though (a wise move, for a Russian). Instead, he gives the classic "Haw-haw-haw!" and decides to invite the Christian to lunch in order to humiliate him. The Russian girl friend says "Oh Ivan, you're terrible!" Ivan grins and admits, "I know!" The two meet at dinner and the taunting begins. The Christian's vast knowledge of behind-the-scenes Russian history quickly turns the tables on the communist. It seems this diplomat wasn't very well briefed on how the Vatican really created communism to destroy the Eastern Orthodox church. What an idiot! This Red didn't even know that Lenin and Stalin were closet Catholics, or that or that Marx and Engels were converted from Judaism to Catholicism and controlled by Jesuits (page 7). But the Christian knew all this and more from reading Chick tracts and Alberto comics, especially The Godfathers and The Force.
The theory gets a little complicated, but intriguing once you understand it. (It took me a couple of re-reads to appreciate the convoluted GENIUS of it all.) It goes like this: The early bishops in Rome and Constantinople both claimed to be the true inheritors of apostolic succession. This split resulted in rival catholic churches (The Eastern Orthodox and the Roman Catholic Church). Both the Eastern Patriarch and the Roman Pope declared the other's church false. This started a long history of hatred between the two, resulting in a Roman Catholic attack on Constantinople in 1204. The Christian mentions (on page 11) that both Churches "are basically the same, but Rome wants to control the governments of the world, while the Orthodox are willing to co-exist with the state. Eventually, the Orthodox church came under the protection of the Czar of Russia." So the Jesuits "worked with Engels and Marx to develop the Communists Manifesto (page 13)... That way the world would see it as a political action instead of a religious war that is was." On page 15, we learn Rasputin was a "faithful Jesuit working undercover." (Surprised? Me neither.) But it turns out that the Eastern Patriarch is pretty sly too. He snatched the dead Czar's gold and used it to bribe the communists. (Page 18) "When the Red Army came to kill the old chief patriarch, he greeted them with open arms and cried, 'We've been holding the Czar's gold for you, my true comrades.'" So now the communists decided to let the Orthodox live, since they would help legitimize communist control. They took their gold, as well as the Roman Catholic gold and double crossed the pope by letting the Orthodox church survive. "To get even, [the Vatican] built a new machine called the Nazi Party." (page 19)
And there you have it. The Jesuits not only created the communists to destroy their arch enemies (the Orthodox) but they also created the Nazis in order to destroy the communists, who befriended their earlier arch enemies (the Orthodox) and thereby became their NEW arch enemies! So lets see, the Vatican started the Civil War to get even with Lincoln (The Big Betrayal), and then WW1 to get even with the Orthodox, and then WW2 to get even with the communists... You can bet they'll be blamed for WW3. Favorite Panel Award goes to page 6, where Ivan bangs his plate with his fist. (There's something about Russians in the U.N. that makes them want to pound on things and shout.) Unfortunately, this tract is out dated and out of print, but it's well worth "tracting" down. Grade A for Alarmist. Return to Main Page.
"THE LAST MISSIONARY" Review! (Art by Chick ©1987.) This is another of several self-promotional tracts showing the importance of buying tons of Chick tracts. You see, it basically boils down to this: Satan HATES Chick tracts because even after the devil drives out and/or kills all the missionaries, Chick tracts continue to stick around and win souls for Jesus. The cover shows a couple of soldiers marching a missionary away at gun point. Inside, the REAL fun begins. It's war between the Christians and the Godless commies from the very first line on the very first page! The commander starts out by saying "By the end of this month, I want every missionary in this country either dead or gone." These soldiers are obviously Red because they look like unshaven Cubans with thick black mustaches. But just in case that hint is too subtle, Chick slams the reader over the head with a communist manifesto by having the lieutenant respond, "Yes, comrade!" Keep in mind this tract was published in 1987, while Ronald Reagan was in the White House and Oliver North was secretly aiding the Contra "Freedom Fighters" in their war against Sandanistian communists. This secret mission was later exposed by the media and labeled a scandal. We'll never know if a world-wide communist bloodbath was barely avoided or never in the cards to begin with. But we do know this: many Americans were paranoid that the Reds were slowly working their way from Cuba to South America and up to our borders. One of those worried was clearly Jack Chick.
Chick figured Satan had a four prong approach to fighting Christianity by promoting Communism, Catholicism, Islam, and the New Age movement. He devotes a full page to each theory. Here are just a few of the juicy highlights: Communism (page 5) "When the communists show peaceful coexistence with 'Christian churches,' the pastors or priest are party sympathizers taking orders from the K.G.B....The communists want Bible-believing Christians and their missionaries six feet under." Islam (page 6) "Woe to anyone caught in a jihad (a holy war). Recently some 30 churches were burned in Africa by irate Moslems... Bible-believing missionaries are not tolerated in many Moslem countries. They are called infidels." Catholicism (page 7) "The Vatican wants a Roman Catholic world... The pope claims 'there is no salvation outside the Church of Rome.' The office of the Inquisition is alive and well. Many missionaries died in Latin America standing against Catholicism. And many will in the future." New Age Movement (page 8) "The new age movement is actually a westernized form of Hinduism which has invaded every aspect of life in Western cultures. It is directly hostile to Bible-believing Christianity through its deceptive teaching of supposed sciences such as yoga, T.M. and mind control techniques. It has opened up millions of people to direct contact with demons." The very next page shows a blindfolded prisoner getting shot in the head by a Fidel Castro look-alike goon. It says, "These massive forces under Satan's command have set the stage for the Antichrist and there WILL be war against the saints of God. Time is short. We MUST go on the offensive and pluck the brands from the burning." Do you get the feeling we're at war yet? If not, check out page 11 where he compares sending missionaries to preach without tracts to sending solders to war without ammunition. Or page 12, with the heading "Read this carefully, the enemy means business." It contains a small font full-page rant by some commie declaring how they intend to bury the Christians because Reds dedicate "all our free time and part of our holidays" to propaganda purposes.
Another sensational section is page 15. "Africa will soon be gone... AIDS and famine are stalking the land. Africa is ripe for a blood bath! Forces are massing to enslave every African nation, one at a time." Alas, this is one prophecy that probably seemed far flung in 1987, but now appears plausible as the AIDS epidemic continues to spread like wide fire throughout Africa. But did you know the real motive behind AIDS is to "close Africa to the Gospel and throw out Bible-believing missionaries!"? (At least it makes more sense than Al Sharpton's theory that AIDS is a racist plot to make blacks wear condoms and reduce the birth rate.)
All in all, this a great tract. What it lacks in pictures, it more than makes up in elaborate conspiracies. Favorite Panel Award goes hands down to page 3, where a demonic witch doctor holds a snake staff in one hand and a skull in the other while chanting, "Oh, Prince of Darkness, weaken that missionary. Kill him and his family. Hinder his work..." (Interesting Factoid: killing someone and their family usually hinders their work, or at very least, weakens them.) And for the record, who exactly is "The Last Missionary"? Why, the Chick tracts themselves! Once the missionary is gone, the tracts carry on the missionary work via auto-pilot. So remember, you can send a cannibal a missionary and you've fed him for a day, but send him a Chick tract and you've fed him FOREVER! Grade: A for African Outreach. Return to Main Page.
"LAST RITES" Review! (Art by Chick ©1994.) If you've ever wondered why the Catholics hate Chick so much, this tract is a good starting point. There's nothing sensational inside it, no scenes of the Pope conferring with the Devil or child molesting Jesuits helping the Nazis or anything like that. The story line is rather basic: A catholic named John dies and goes to face judgment.
One has to admire the simplicity and effectiveness of this tract. Even though the Catholic/ Protestant debate basically boils down to two different interpretations of the same book, the Protestants win the debate in this tract because God says so... Literally! When John pleads for his soul and starts listing good deeds, God quotes the Bible, "For by Grace are ye saved through faith; and that not of yourselves. It is the gift of God: Not of works, lest any man should boast." (Talk about a policy wonk.) John presents other arguments as well, but all of them seem to lower him further in hell. He mentions he prayed to the blessed virgin, just like the pope does. God responds, "That's idolatry, John, and no idolater shall enter Heaven. Thou shalt not make unto thee any graven image. Thou shalt not bow down thyself to them, nor serve them." Chick inserts a photo of Pope John Paul bowing before a Mary statue at this point, as if to say the Fish Eaters rot from the head down. John really steps in it when he mentions he attended Mass twice a week, and Mass is the unbloody ongoing sacrifice at Calvary. God yells, "THAT'S A LIE! The sacrifice was completed on the cross when I cried 'It is finished.'" Keep in mind that no one really knows how loud God shouts, but it's enough to knock John back a full body length and have him hide behind the angel for the next few panels. God certainly sounds pissed, but it's difficult judging his faceless face expressions to determine how mad he really is. On top of everything else, the cue behind John is probably backing up the longer he argues. Millions die every day, and 1/6th of the world is Catholic. No doubt a lot of them are surprised like John and want to debate theology with God (if Chick's version of the hereafter is correct).
Then John makes a major faux paux: He tries to blame God for his ignorance about everything wrong with the Catholic system. "Why didn't you warn me?", he whines. God (and Chick) pounce on the question: "I DID! My servant, who loved Roman Catholics, gave you a tract that warned you about your false religion." A panel shows John ripping up the tract and shouting at the good Christian, "This is hate literature! How dare you attack my church!" (You know Chick loved drawing that picture. It earns the Favorite Panel Award.) Ironically, if Chick's theories are correct, this would make yet another reason for Catholics to despise Chick tracts. By passing them out, Chick is virtually assuring all Catholics who read them that they are losing their only good argument to prevent going to hell. No one will be able to say they didn't know any better, thanks to Chick and his legions of dedicated human tract dispensers. It also provides a sinister motive for why Catholic apologist groups like Catholic Answers send Chick tracts to fellow Catholics: Perhaps the Vatican really IS demonic and wants to make sure all its members have no excuse to avoid damnation. (I never thought it was possible to come up with more elaborate and sinister conspiracies than Alberto, but this theory might qualify.)
Either the timer goes off indicating hell has reached the proper preheating temp, or Chick realizes he's running out of tract pages. Whatever the reason, God decides to conclude this episode of the Papal's Court and send John sliding down the fire pole to join the rest of the Catholic congregation. John asks one more question (not a very smart one either): "Don't you love the Roman Catholic Church?" God answers, "How could I, John? Her false teachings are why you are going into the lake of fire." As if that weren't enough, Chick really gets the last dig in with the final page. It shows a priest giving John's funeral service back on Earth. The priest says, "John is now reaping the rewards of serving the one true church. And I'm sure he can't wait for all of us to join him." (Now that's funny, unless you happen to be the 1 in 6 readers that this tract is directed to.) Grade A- for Absolution. Return to Main Page.
"LOVE THE JEWISH PEOPLE" (Aka SUPPORT YOUR LOCAL JEW and JEOPARDY) Review! (Art by Carter ©1976, 1992, & 1998.) Here's a tract that Chick critics hate to acknowledge, because it shows Chick is not anti-Semitic. In fact, his support for the "Chosen Race" is so fanatical, it's kind of embarrassing. Did you know that God promised the Jews, "I will bless them that bless thee, and curse them that curseth thee"? (Page 8.) God was actually talking to Abraham, but Chick applies it to the entire race for ever and ever. (A good Jewish lawyer could have broken that contract easily.) This tract is full of similar one-sided interpretations. "Egypt built her empire using Jewish slaves, and look what a backward country THAT is!" (Page 5.) They're so poor, they're the second largest recipient of US foreign aid, requiring nearly $3 Billion a year. What losers. But guess who's the largest recipient getting $6 billion a year? That's right, Israel! Such obvious counter arguments get left out of this tract, but I'm sure it's only because of space limitations. (Haw-haw-haw!) Instead, we get other juicy nuggets of Jewish trivia (page 6): "When mighty Rome ruled the world the Jews were mistreated under its iron fist. Where is the Roman empire today?" True, the Roman Empire has broken up. But only after lasting longer and prospering more than any other nation in history. Undaunted by such facts, Chick plows ahead. Germany killed 6 million in the holocaust so-- "Judgment fell on Germany! It is now a divided nation, never to rise again. 1/2 is now under communist slavery." This info gets removed in later tracts after Germany not only reunites, but becomes the richest nation in Europe. There's plenty more examples: Britain, Russia, Africa, and of course, the Pope. (Page 7.) "Israel's deadliest enemy is the Vatican. To date, she has never recognized Israel as a nation." This statement is later altered after the Vatican does recognize Israel. It's converted into a terse statement that, "Israel will regret any agreements with Rome".
Basically, Chick picks and chooses the facts to support his premise and ignores everything else. It's a process he utilizes in many tracts, but normally, to criticize a group or religion rather than to support them. (I guess there's a first time for everything.) But the most glaring problem with this instance is what happens if you apply the same logic to Israel itself. Not many people have suffered more than the Jews. If the holocaust is God's idea of blessing his chosen race, gee, I dunno... I think I'd rather be the cursed! And Israel certainly has its own sinister streak. Few modern nations mistreat their minorities worse than Israel. Palestinians are relegated to second class citizens. All their movements are restricted. Interrogations with torture are common. Millions of Arabs were forced out of their homeland and are still not allowed to move back. So presenting Israel as an innocent little nation that deserves our blind loyalty is a bit of a hard sell. However, Chick is not one to shy away from a challenge.
This tract offends about every foreign nation EXCEPT Israel, and even they probably despise it for its last page effort to convert Jews to Christianity. (Chick can't resist tossing in that final pitch.) In summery, you gotta love this tract, simply because everyone else hates it. It's even printed in Arabic! You know that one must go over really well! Grade: A- for Antagonism. Return to Main Menu.
You can also read a second (Guest) review of this tract.
"MY NAME?... IN THE VATICAN?" Review! (Art by Chick ©1980.) Forgive me Father, for I have sinned... I read the forbidden text of My Name in the Vatican and loved it! But how could anyone resist this tract? It's so thrilling and conspiracy filled, that even ardent Catholics can't avoid turning the pages. Oh sure, they condemn it, just like they condemn abortions. But that doesn't mean Catholics never get abortions. Likewise, I suspect millions of copies of this scarce tract are in the private collections of Catholics. They tend to either hate it or find it hysterically funny. Or both! Either way, it's a great conversation piece and fun to show the priest while the kids are outside running around during their confirmation party. Protestants get a kick out of this one also. To say it's dramatic doesn't begin to do it justice. Check out these opening lines: "Yes! The name of every protestant church member in the world is being recorded in the Big Computer in the Vatican. This is being done by the dreaded Roman Catholic 'Holy Office' (Office of the General Inquisitor)." Sure enough, the next panel shows a group of hooded clergy in a dungeon area, pointing accusing fingers at an innocent protestant as the torches burn ominously from the walls. "Big Brother wants to keep you in the dark about it, but you should know that the Holy Office is alive and well in the 20th century, and will soon be back in business as usual." What does that mean? Turn the page and see for yourself. Christians get BURNED AT THE STAKE as the Pope looks on and others hold a banner of Mary (who is probably enjoying the show as well). Chick warns, "Ever hear of the Inquisition? From 1200 A.D. to 1800 A.D.? It's never mentioned any longer. We hear a lot about the Jewish Holocaust when six million Jews were murdered under Hitler. But most people don't know that Adolf Hitler was a Roman Catholic and an instrument of the Holy Office. Nor did they know that Pope Pius XII called Hitler the 'Defender of the faith'... Why has the Inquisition been covered up? Because the total number of victims of this atrocity reached 68 million people." Now THIS is what you call an IN YOUR FACE TRACT!
The next panel shows a bounded victim quivering as the priest points at him and declares, "Burn the heretic." Chick explains, "The victims were ALWAYS found guilty. They never knew who accused them. They never had lawyers, and no one would dare lift a finger to help." Then he rhetorically asks, "You mean this nightmare will be repeated?" Okay-- lets pause for a moment and predict Chick's answer before turning the page. All the optimists can stay after school and clean the erasers. The answer is (naturally) HELL YEAH! Chick states, "According to the Bible it will. We always figure in the far distant future, right? WRONG! The Holy Office is getting ready for action NOW. Big brother never dreamed one of their top undercover agents who worked in their intelligence division would truly find Christ and blow their game plans wide open." Enter Alberto! Who's proud profile adorns the very next page. "The man who broke away is Dr. Alberto Rivera, an Ex-Jesuit priest whose job it was to infiltrate and destroy protestant churches."
Believe it or not, it keeps getting better. How the Vatican tried to silence Alberto, Chick publications, and blackmail Christian bookstores from carrying the Alberto comic. "Satan is so upset about this book that he will stop at nothing to kill its message." Sure enough, high ranking cigar chomping priests are pictured huddled around a conference table plotting ways to suppress Chick's comic books. "Rome moved like lighting as soon as the first copies of Alberto arrived in the Vatican. And so the machine went into action!" Psychiatrists would probably diagnose Chick's portrayal as delusions of grandeur. The very notion that the most powerful organized religion in the world was having back room emergency sessions in order to put Chick out of business is somewhat self congratulatory to say the least. But what would you think if it happened to you? Chick lost 2/3rds of his business virtually over night. Otherwise democratic nations like Canada banned his comics from crossing their borders. The phone lines lit up with angry callers threatening to destroy Chick Publications. Chick probably figured that if it walks and talks like a well organized and heavily funded attack campaign, it is one.
How much of this tract is true and how much of it is Bull (that's Vatican humor) is something each reader will have to decide for themselves. But even Francis E. Deck would have to admire the incredible paranoia that is meticulously cataloged in this hard core rant (complete with footnotes, no less). For me, the tantalizing thing is imagining how much of it MIGHT be true-- though I admit, I have a pretty vivid imagination. But even if he's exaggerating, and say only 1/5th the number of people he claims were murdered in the Inquisition actually were, that's over 12 million people-- and that's back in days when a few thousand people comprised large cities! Hitler was born a Catholic and continued to tithe to the Church until his death, that's an historic fact. But was he really considered a "defender of the faith" by the pope? And does the Holy Office (of the General Inquisitor) really still exist? (That would make me a little nervous, even if it's just for office parties.) To write it all off as complete nonsense would certainly make it easier to sleep at night, but would probably be as close minded as to accept it all as fact. I'm not saying I would base my history dissertation on its underlying premise, but without rendering a decision on the most controversial aspects of it, let's just say it's essential reading for any serious Chick fan. It gives Alberto a grand entrance on the scene and goes a long way in explaining what the feud between the Vatican and Chick is all about. What little art is provided is mostly Chick's. It's the alarmists text that makes this tract great reading. Grade: A+ for Amazing! Return to Main Page
"THE POOR REVOLUTIONIST" GUEST REVIEW by Terrible Tommy! (Art by Chick ©1971, 1972.) This is an early Chick tract that purports to show how the secret agents of Soviet Communism, a.k.a., Hippies, were on the verge of taking over the country for Stalin and Castro. This tract has been out of circulation for some time, mainly because, as with many another JTC tract, the words of the Prophet St. Chick turned out to be total crock. When the Hippy Era faded and the Disco Era oozed onto the stage, Mr. Chick quietly phased "The Poor Revolutionist" out of existence and came up with "That Crazy Guy," a condemnation of the Disco Era, promiscuous sex and Steve Martin. I remember running across this particular tract back in the late 60's, when Chick was just seriously firing up. I can still remember very well the feelings I got from this tract. This tract was probably the first thing to show me what loads of childish non-sense Chick comics, and the Christianity it's based on, really are.
I also remember a book being published around then, entitled None Dare Call It Treason that dwelt on this "Hippies are Commies" theme. For all I know, Jack Chick might have lifted this tract from that very same book; the motifs are practically identical. If Jack doesn't have it somewhere on his shelves, I'd be very surprised. Of course, he doesn't credit it, which is typical of Chick, who prints and rips off things from other works right and left. (Just imagine the lawsuits for copyright infringement TSR Games could hit Jack with over Dark Dungeons, for one example.) He then, typical of Christians in general and JTC in particular, whines like a baby when somebody reproduces anything that even vaguely resembles HIS little treasures.
Now, on to The Poor Revolutionist: As with Star Trek's famous split infinitive ("To boldly go..."), the grammar of the title is incorrect. It should be The Poor Revolutionary. But, hey, we're dealing with a guy who firmly believes that the public schools are ruled by secret Jesuit witches planning to take over your children's minds with D & D, rock music and algebra. Maybe Jack be done think-um that that thar grammar stuff is Say-TAN-ik. (Remember, "grammar" and "grimore" both come from the same root, so using Jack's logic...)
At the time that The Poor Revolutionist came out, the Hippies were in full swing, Woodstock and the Anti-war movement were current events and there were any number of Fundie preachers making their money by going around to Fundie churches and showing the undeniable links between the Hippies and the secret agenda of the Communists. (Nowadays, they preach Creationism, "reformation therapy" for homosexuals and accuse Catholics, Wiccans and everyone who likes Rock music --even Christian rock music-- of being secret Satanists.)
As I recall, the art work was very good, which means it's probably a Carter effort. The story centers around a long-haired, grungy-looking hippy, complete with headband, mustache and peace-symbol patches on his denims. (I think his name was Bobby. I'm not positive on that, but that's the name we'll use for the sake of convenience.) As the tract opens, we see an exterior view of a house where Bobby the Hippy and his Commie friends are holding a "cell meeting," while a Joan Baez look-alike strums a guitar outside and sings: "Will you take my hand a year from now, when the land is ours?"
Bobby has a brother who is a Christian. Like most Christians in Jack Chick's fantasy world, Bobby's brother is a Ken doll clone, complete with sweater and perfect blonde haircut that looks molded on. It seems that Bobby's born-again brother has interrupted the Communist insurgents' cell meeting, so Bobby decides to beat the crap out of him to ensure that he'll never do that again. As Bobby pounds the little Fundie, the other Commies go "HAW HAW!" and shout "Get 'im, Bobby!"
But does having the crap beat out of him stop this little Christian? Why, heck no. This is a JACK CHICK Christian! With blood pouring down his battered face, the poor little martyr continues to preach to his Commie-rat brother about how he's being fooled by the Reds and needs Jesus. Two of Bobby's cell-mates drag him away and kick him out with the prerequisite "HAW HAW" chorus so relished by Chick.
The Commie brother's controller, a secret Soviet agitator, is so stereotypically Jewish that it's a wonder they didn't meet in a synagogue. It's interesting that, while not overtly Anti-Semitic, most of Chick's Commie-traitor characters (like Gertrude in Operation Bucharest) are Jewish. He tells Bobby that he will have great status in "our brave, new Communistic world." (So does Chick think Aldous Huxley was a Commie? Shakespeare? God knows and I AIN'T a-gonna ask Her!)
Then, next page, THE REVOLUTION HITS! Police and fireman are gunned down in the street. Commie "revolutionists" attack people in their homes. One particular panel is a real work of ultra-paranoid fantasy art: In a scene straight from White America's worst nightmare, the panel depicts a white family being murder with guns and axes by mostly-black revolutionaries. In Chick's paranoid fantasies, America falls in practically no time, due to the masses of Communist sympathizers that have infested America. The fact that most hippies were quite patriotic in their protests and disdained com-symps like Jane Fonda and Bill Clinton totally escapes Mr. Chick's notice. Not to mention the fact that the "Jesus People" Hippies were a big force in the late 70's Christian Revival movement.
Soon, America is under Soviet control. Bobby walks by a row of gallows where the Christians are being executed. One of these is Bobby's Fundamentalist brother. Looking remarkably fresh and unruffled, Bobby's brother tells him: "I'm going to be with the Lord, now..." and puts in one last plug for Jesus before the executioner kicks the box out from under him. Walking away, Bobby grumbles about what a pest his brother was and how he's glad the little creep is dead.
Then comes the shocker: Bobby's Jewish controller tells Bobby that he and his cohorts are going to be executed. The reason? "If you couldn't be trusted not to turn against a free democracy like America, how can we trust you not to turn against US?"
As they are led away, Bobby and his Commie buddies grumble that they were used. One of these revolutionaries is the spitting image of Angela Davis, bushy afro and all. Bobby is shot in the back of the head, with the peace symbol prominently displayed on his back. The inevitable flight with the white, blonde angel and condemnation by the faceless white man to His favorite fiery playground naturally follows. A spate of anti-Communist statements accompany the "Get Saved" blurbs on the back, which, although hilariously laughable now, probably seemed reasonable when this tract was published, at least to Christians and other ignoramuses. Grade: A+ for "Anarchy in the U.S.A."
[Editor's Note: Tommy's recollection of this tract is amazingly accurate, despite the passing of decades. The main character's name was not Bobby, however, but Paul. Another correction worth noting is that the artist was Chick himself (not Carter). Despite Tommy's obvious disdain for Chick's views, it's clear this tract made quite an impression on him. Weather you agree with Chick or not, he does a remarkable job at grabbing your attention and making you remember his message.] Return to Main Page.
"SATAN'S MASTER" Review! (Art by Carter ©1986.) This is one of the the anti-witch craft tracts inspired by Rebecca Brown. (See also, The Poor Little Witch.) It tells the story of four young girls who are initiated into a witches coven by an evil high priestess. The group is systematically killed off except for one (who gets saved) following the same Chick formula used in other stories like Angels? The first victim is Ann. The high priestess sends a demon after her that tosses her face first from a third story window. (She had whispered something naughty behind the priestess' back.) The second victim is the high priestess herself. She made the mistake of summoning her demon "Ri-Chan" to go after Judy, a born-again ex-witch who exposed other witches who tried to infiltrate the local Bible study. The demon returns yelling, "You dirty @*#:! You dare send me against a true, born-again believer. Her angels almost killed me, and I'm going to beat you to death." The battered priestess begs help from Satan himself, who shows up only to mock her. "Me help you? You stupid @*#j! You got yourself in this mess. Now get yourself out. Haw! Haw! Haw!" Chick provides a footnote at this point that reads, "What a sweet daddy!" In what is perhaps the worse timing of all time, in walks Hannah, the so called "white witch," right when Ri-Chan is still whipping the near dead priestess. Hannah is shocked. As Chick mentioned earlier, "the white witch believes her powers are only for good. She believes that she is pure." But as Ri-Chan strangles the life out of her, he lets her in on a secret: "You little fool. We demons supply the power behind all forms of witchcraft. This is for your failure to handle Judy." These brutal events send Sarah running to born-again Judy for advice. Judy tells her, "Simply ask Jesus to forgive you for all you've done, and to cleanse you and take away all your powers of witchcraft. Then your contract will be broken and your name will be in the lamb's Book of Life." So there you have it. The Christians triumph and the sinners die an agonizing death. Everything is tied up in a neat little bundle.
Heyyyy, wait a sec! There was another girl in the group that mysteriously disappeared without explanation... But not to worry. She wore a hippy headband and no bra. So she's probably dead by now from a drug overdose or AIDS-- or both! After all, we can't have any loose ends left over. (That would be so un-Chick.) And like the high priestess warned, "There is no escape. You leave the craft only one way, and that's feet first." (Except for Ann, who went head first.) Grade A for AAAAAIIIEEEE! (splat.) Back to Main Menu.
"SECRET OF PRAYER" Review! (Art by Chick ©1972.) This is companion tract to Don't Read That Book (DRTB). Whereas DRTB tells Christians how to read the Bible, this tract tells them how to pray. It shares a variety of other characteristics with DRTB. First, it's part of the "Christian Growth Series" and was probably given away free. Second, it's one of the toughest tracts to find. Third, it's reprinted in The Next Step (Chapter 3). Forth, it's bland compared to other Chick tracts.
There are plenty of 'toons in this tract. (Many more than DRTB.) There are a few panels replaced with different cartoons in The Next Step version, as well as one cartoon that is replaced entirely with text. But for the most part, the tract is faithfully reprinted in the book. Its basic premise is that you should pray 5, maybe 6 times a day. (Like Chick points out, Daniel prayed three times a day, and he had three different high ranking jobs. So what's your excuse?) Your prayers will be answered, but there's a catch: "Whatsoever we ask, we receive of him, because we keep his commandments and do those things that are pleasing in his sight" (John 3:22). In other words, you have to follow all the rules in order to get the goodies. (Which no doubt takes some of the fun out of the equation.) God will also protect you and punish your enemies, so be sure to pray for them or they may wind up dead. Favorite Panel Award goes to just such a story told in three serial panels. It says, "True story. A friend of mine (a Christian) loaned $3,000 to a man in serious trouble. Six months later..." It shows the guy smoking a cigar and taunting the Christian over the phone, "Kiss your money goodbye baby-- because I'll NEVER pay you back!" The last panel shows a car going over a cliff, "That man and his girlfriend plunged to a Christless grave." Yikes! And here's the best part-- the Christian is to blame! Chick quotes Matthew 18:6 "But whoso shall offend one of these little ones that believe in me, it were better for him that a millstone were hanged about his neck, and that he were drowned in the depth of the sea." Then adds, ominously, "My friend forgot to pray for that man to protect him from God's judgment."
It's hard to give such a tract a poor grade when it has stuff like this in it. For one thing, the story is a delicious tale of twisted cause and effect, making the tract well worthwhile in and of itself. Another reason is I don't want to wind up being incorporated in a similar tract anytime soon: "True story. After criticizing Chick tracts, a writer lost control of his motorcycle and plowed head-on into--" So give it a B for Better safe than sorry. Return to Main Page.
"SIN CITY" Review! (Art by Chick ©2001.) Chick slams the gays in classic "no holds barred" style. It begins with a gay pride parade complete with homosexuals in full drag. A black fundamentalist protests in the center of the street with a sign reading, "Homosexuality is an Abomination." Two cops descend on him with batons and beat him black and blue. (Well, blue, anyway.) The crowd eggs them on, cheering "kill him!" No encouragement is necessary however, as one cop yells, "Damn straight!", and the other wears mascara and an ear ring. The Christian winds up in the hospital connected to machines and wrapped like a mummy. The PC politicians and policemen show up and threaten to send him to jail for hate crimes (if he recovers) unless he listens to a pro-gay Bible scholar. A balding guy in rainbow robes declares, "I'm Reverend Ray and I'm gay! Jesus loves me!" A demon behind Ray says, "I'm Zanah and I hate your guts!" Meanwhile, the black dude's wife calls Bob, the recurring character from the last two tracts. Bob races to the rescue and barges in seconds before Ray convinces the patient that the real reason God destroyed Sodom was because they didn't help the poor. Bob points his finger at Ray and admonishes, "You're perverting the word of God. You forgot about Jude, verse 7. I'm going to pray right now!" That sends the demon fleeing the scene. As it exits, it says, "Bye Ray! As a team, we sure ruined a lot of kids!" Ray's stunned. "What happened? Everything's brighter!" (Bob has lifted the dark cloud of perversion from your shoulders, Ray.) Bob relates the tale of Sodom and rattles off a list of anti-gay bible references. Then Bob goes in for the kill: "Tell me, Ray, of all the sins, lying, adultery, stealing, etc., can you think of any other sin where God Himself wiped out entire cities to remove that sin?" Ray can't. Ray finally admits defeat. "I'm not going to fight God anymore. What should I do?" Bob orders him to assume the position and repent like there's no tomorrow. Ray does so and is overjoyed at being saved. It's a happy ending for everyone. Except perhaps, the battered patient who began it all and is still hooked up to life support. But at least if he croaks, Bob's found a replacement. Grade A for Activist. Return to Main Page.
"THE STORY TELLER" Review! (Art by Carter ©1985.) Any tract that starts with the sentence, "My deepest appreciation to Dr. Alberto Rivera for the information used in this book" is bound to be controversial, and THE STORY TELLER is no exception. Ironically, many people claim that Alberto is a story teller, making up false tales of Catholic treachery. Yet they lack the same proof that they criticize Alberto for lacking. (It's hard to prove that something doesn't exist.) Back to the tract: It takes place in an Arabic country. A man called Yuseff returns home and his elderly father welcomes him. Yuseff has been gone a long time and urges his dad to gather all their friends so he can tell them an important story. But first he makes them all swear by Allah that they won't interrupt or comment until he's finished the entire tale. (He may not be SMART, but he sure ain't STUPID!) It doesn't take long for the digs at the Vatican to start. He begins by reminding his audience how he "fought in the Spanish Civil War under Franco for the Holy Man in Rome." (Rome supported the fascists in the Spanish Civil War.) "Years later, in 1953, while still stationed in Spain, I met a young Jesuit seminarian studying the Messo-Arabic Mass. Just recently I met him again, but he was no longer a Jesuit. He claimed he was now a Christian. He told me of the top secret briefings he heard in the Vatican about Islam." It takes Yuseff another four pages to get around to mentioning this turn-coat by name. Can you guess who it is? Why RIVERA of course! (The Chick Universe is very small and loves to cross-pollinate. When it comes to Catholic conspiracies, all roads lead to Riveraville.)
One thing you gotta hand Alberto, he sticks to his story. This is the same conspiracy revealed in other critical Catholic tracts like The Deceived and Allah Had No Son. It claims the Vatican set up Islam to lead Arabs to Catholicism and win Jerusalem for the Pope. Even though we've all heard it a hundred times before, it's still fun to hear the conspiracy explained to a new audience. Then we wait in anticipation to see if the listener(s) will believe the theory and instantly convert, or turn on the narrator and tear him to pieces. In this case, it's both. A handful fall to their knees and repent before the village hag points a bony finger at Yuseff and screams, "INFIDEL!" Daddy Dearest whacks sonny-boy on the head with his shoe and exiles him from his sight. The crowd eggs him on to continue the beating, but a few secretly wonder if the conspiracy is true. Yuseff walks off in the night praying loudly for the Lord to forgive them and show them the true path. A footnote reveals the best way for us to learn the truth is to read the full length comic book, The Prophet. Naturally, Chick Publications prints the comic, but if you plan to read it to your Catholic friends, you'll have to supply your own shoes. (I suggest slippers. They can sting a little, but the chance of permanent brain damage is somewhat reduced.) Favorite Panel Award goes to page 21 where The Hag yells at Yuseff. If you couldn't read, you would assume she was a witch casting a spell on him. Grade: B for Bashing the infidel. Return to Main Page.
"WHY NO REVIVAL" GUEST REVIEW by Richard Lee! (Art by Chick ©1961, 1970, and 1986.) This tract is the very first tract that Jack T. Chick ever wrote. He obtained a loan for about $2000 to print this booklet, and it has undergone a few revisions. This review concerns the 1986 incarnation of Why No Revival? which is the most recent.
The inner page starts off with "Many pastors are unable or unwilling to say the things that appear in this book." Furthermore, this tract is intended "for Christians only-not the unsaved." Indeed, this book shows some Christian hypocrisy laid bare for all to see. Chick even admits that some of the characters in the story resembled members of his church, and after it's publication, the Lutherans condemned it for being sacrilegious! He begins contrasting the Christians of yesterday with those of today. The former Christians faced martyrdom for their faith, while modern Christians tend to deny their affiliation with anything religious. The family "altar" is composed of a cobweb and dust covered Bible, while Playboy and the TV Guide magazines are standard reading fare. Self-righteousness plagues the church while Christians have misplaced priorities. Christians neglect the starving neighbors next door, and call them "trash" because they don't go to church. Lack of spiritual fervor is reflected at the dinner table, when the children play around when the father is praying. Pastors are treated as slaves, expected to tend to the parishioners every need. One obnoxious church lady, looking worse than Dana Carvey, doesn't even request help from her poor pastor, she expects it when she promised her "no good son" that he would visit him. My favorite panel depicts an obviously rich man with a diamond ring that would choke a mule, criticize his pastor. He doesn't deserve to earn a cost of living increase, because he's supposed to remain poor! He already earns $300 a month, and preachers aren't supposed to earn big money! However, pastors are not let off the hook, either. One lazy pastor decides to preach a sermon from last year since no one would be able to tell the difference anyway!
A new panel (it didn't exist in earlier versions) shows spiritual decline in the form of a church permitting a Christian heavy metal band (God forbid). This new innovation, a contemporary fad in modern churches, is viewed as apostasy by Chick. Thanks to shenanigans like these, Chick asks, "Why No Revival?" If the church were spiritually sensitive, it would avoid such fads and sing those classic hymns instead. A terrific panel shows a Christian on the job, one who others view with contempt because of his shoddy testimony. In classic cartoon style, several co-workers castigate a Christian because he likes off-color stories, lies, and is a big flirt with the office secretary. Worse, the boss looks upon him with an angry scowl! This is the first time we get to witness the classic Chick laugh, "Haw-haw-haw!" The one cutting edge piece in this picture is that the cute secretary (the one who resents the flirting Christian) has a computer terminal on her desk during a time when computer terminals weren't much in use yet. Chick then warns those non-Christians (who aren't supposed to be reading this tract) that their future is (where else?) in Lava Lake. One of the more interesting panels shows witches who have infiltrated the church worldwide, and that the pastors of the world are lulled into complacency. Also, the contemporary teaching known as "positive confession" popular in Pentecostal/charismatic churches, comes under fire from Chick. The Apostle Paul is shown in prison, and he's there because he lacks faith. (A teaching of the positive confession movement is that if one has enough faith, he/she can avoid calamity and always have success). Another sign of apostasy is throwing out the King James Bible in favor of modern versions, thus resulting in a lack of revivalistic spiritual fervor. The signs of judgment are starting to appear on all sides, and no other place is this more evident than on the famed Trinity Broadcasting Network (TBN) founded by Paul and Jan Crouch. In fact, Chick does a fair rendition of Paul and Jan (who founded TBN with Jim and Tammy Bakker back in the 1970s) along with the Pope. Compromising with Roman Catholicism is a mark of apostasy. The result of this is burning Protestant churches!!! This is what WILL happen, unless we REPENT! Upon receiving God's forgiveness, people will be concerned for their souls for a change. Spiritual fervor would break out, and REVIVAL will result. No Chick tract would be complete without a last panel depicting Jack Chick's favorite judgment spot, the Lake of Fire with accompanying footnotes of Scripture references. Not bad for a first effort, which would lead to a career spanning over 40 years. Grade A for "Amen, brother!" Return to Main Page.
"THE WICKED MAGISTRATE" Review! (Art by Carter ©1989, ©2000.) This tract is unusual for several reasons. The all Korean cast is dressed in 500 year old Oriental costumes. It is a custom tract made especially for a Korean audience and was originally printed only in that language (but has recently been printed in English by the Chick Tract Fan Club). It's a very rare tract despite being relatively recent. It tells the story of an Asian King who loves his people, and those who live near him love him in return. But those who live far away under a wicked Governor fear for their lives. The king sends a servant to go to the province and encourage everyone to obey his laws (which were written to protect them) but the messenger is killed by the Governor. Several other servants are dispatched but meet similar fates (beheading). The King is sad because he hears how lost his people are and he wants to help them. The King's son insists that he be allowed to go. Reluctantly, the King gives his permission. His son dresses as a poor farmer and makes the long trip. Once there, he cures a blind person and also a lame girl (which is rather unexpected, because no hint of supernatural powers had been mentioned before.) One of the Governor's spies sees the miracles and tells the Governor, who in turn, has the Prince arrested. He executes the Prince, thinking he's killed the only heir of the king and will now control the region forever. But three days later, the king's son RETURNS FROM THE DEAD! (Bet you didn't see that one coming!) Sure enough, this strange tale is really about Jesus, his Father Almighty, and Satan. Grade: A- for Asian. Return to Main Page.
Return to Home Page.