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TRACT REVIEWS-5 1/2
All reviews are Copyright ©2002 by Monsterwax
"THE LAST JUDGE" Guest Review by Rich Lee!(Art by Chick ©2002) This tract is number 11 in the series of 25 tracts that illustrate Bible stories with Bob.
Bob is assisting Kelly with her laptop computer when an elderly man with a walker approaches. Uncle George is distinguishing looking and wears a patch over his left eye. After Kelly introduces Uncle George, we learn that George was once a judge that criminals feared. This is just the segway into Bob's Bible Story (we saw that coming!).
The Bible story for this tract is from I Samuel in the Old Testament. Eli, an ancient judge and high priest, ruled in the days before Israel had a king. Every one did what was right in his own eyes. Eli observed a woman praying to God, promising that if she had a son that he would be dedicated to the service of God. Indeed, he was born and named Samuel. As a child, Samuel had prophetic tendencies that Eli readily observed, and he was destined to become Israel's judge. Later, Israel lost the famous Ark of the Covenant in battle against their enemies the Philistines. Israel assumed that God would be with them in battle just because they possessed the ark, carried by Eli's two wicked sons Hophni and Phinehas. The Philistines killed both sons and kept the ark. When Eli heard this, he fell backwards in his chair and died of a broken neck. Samuel became Israel's new judge, but in time the people demanded a king like other nations. Samuel warned the populace that a king would demand more of them than they were willing to give. Nevertheless, Israel wanted a king to rule over them. King Saul was appointed by Samuel, and in a short time, Saul committed sacrilege by offering a burnt sacrifice that was only lawful for a priest to give. The last straw for Saul was when he didn't obey a "word from the Lord" through Samuel. Under orders from God through the judge and prophet Samuel, King Saul was to kill Amalek and all of his people, including women, children, and cattle! Saul disobeyed, and kept the spoils of invasion including sparing Amalek's life. Samuel was upset, and proceeded to kill Amalek himself by hacking him to pieces with a sword. Because of Saul's disobedience, he forfeited his throne and Samuel proceeded to anoint the legendary David as the new king.
Despite his brutal tendencies, Samuel ruled as a judge for 40 years and died a peaceful death. All Israel mourned his passing. Bob tells the retired judge George that "Samuel was a godly and righteous judge. He never took a bribe and never let people influence his decisions...because he knew that one day he will face the greatest judge of all time."(Samuel only advocated the killing of women and children under orders from God, but at least he never took bribes!) Uncle George asks "Who is that? Tell me!" Bob says that this ultimate judge will sit on His throne with all the world gathered before Him. All that we've ever done is going to be played back for all to see, including our secret thoughts. During Bob's presentation, Uncle George thinks back to a time when he took a bribe from an ostensibly seedy lawyer named Richard."Gulp!" Uncle George thinks! He'll answer to the Faceless God for THAT one!
Bob tells Uncle George that the most important question will be "Is his name in the book of Life?" Uncle George apparently has never read the New Testament where this happens, since he doesn't know the outcome for those whose names aren't in the book. The ultimate Judge will say "Depart from me, ye cursed, into everlasting fire, prepared for the devil and his angels!""Who is this great Judge?" gasps Uncle George. Why, he's none other than The Lord Jesus Christ! Bob says."GASP...but I thought He was dead!" Not at all, because Jesus rose from the dead. Uncle George admits that he wasn't perfect. Bob emphasizes that George is guilty before God and without hope. George asks what way is there to escape this sentence? Bob tells him that he must go before God in prayer, confess that he is a guilty sinner, ask Jesus to forgive him and come into his heart to save him. We are told "Later, after saying the sinner's prayer," but the tract assumes that the reader knows what a "Sinner's prayer" is. Unless they're regular Chick readers or happen to skip ahead and see the next to last page, most readers wouldn't know the prayer. However, at least the retired judge can look forward to being in that Great Courtroom in the sky without facing the angry Judge. Let's hope that Samuel won't have that sword handy, either!
Favorite Panel Award goes to page 16, where the crooked lawyer bribes the judge. We even get to learn the lawyer's name. (It's Richard, the same as my name. He looks the same as me, too. Hey, that IS me!) Grade B for "bribe"! Return to Tract Index.
"CAUGHT!" The Review! (Art by Chick ©2002) This tract is number 13 in the series of 25 tracts that illustrate Bible stories with Bob. If you've gotten just a little sick of seeing Bob convert everyone by the last panel, this is the tract for you. The sinner not only refuses to see the light, he tells Bob to go to hell! Of course, you can guess who really winds up in hell, but that comes later...
The story opens as Roger is sneaking off to the Motel Delight to shag his latest girlfriend. Jessica is a little nervous, because, as she puts it, "I've never done this before." (Yeah, that's what they ALL claim.) But Roger assures her that no one will find out since they're alone. As they enter the room, they're followed by four demons, one angel, and a dog. (Bestiality anyone?) As if that's not kinky enough, the angel has a video camera and is taping the affair! Three hours later, the two are basking in afterglow at the restaurant and holding hands. A friend yells out, "Hey Roger, where's Linda?" Jessica wonders aloud who the heck Linda is. The ex-friend replies, "Linda is Roger's beautiful wife, and he's got three great kids!" The gig is up! Roger's been busted!
Jessica calls Linda and tattles about her one night stand with Linda's husband. Linda leaves a note calling Roger a snake, steals their kids, accuses hubby of A.I.D.s, and files for divorce. So Snake (I mean, Roger) gets angry at Linda, Jessica, God, and just about everyone else but himself. He should try looking in a mirror. And while he's at it, he should reconsider his wardrobe. How he managed to seduce another woman wearing the same turtle neck sweater and coat as the "Friend" did in Somebody Goofed is beyond belief. It must be his reptilian eyes that hypnotize the babes.
Bob gets invited into the mess by Roger's cousin, who has to leave on a plane but wants someone to help Roger with his problem. Roger arrives and claims that he was only trying to minister to a younger lady. Oops! That was Clinton's claim. Sorry. What Roger says is that he was "trying to comfort a lady in our church." Yeah, right; they met at church and she never noticed he was married with kids? This must be one of those swinging churches!
Bob is unimpressed. Within three panels, he's telling Roger he's heading for the Lake of Fire. Roger gets defensive and tries the old, "Everybody's doing it. I came here for Christian love and comfort, not to be preached at!" cliche. Bob ignores the plea and launches into a long sermon about David, who killed Goliath, became a good King of Israel, but then committed adultery with Bathsheba and suffered the consequences. Well, sorta suffered... He remained a rich King and had family problems, but he didn't suffer as much as the husband he had murdered so he could steal his wife. The image of dying Uriah, who did nothing to David except serve him as a loyal soldier while the King banged his wife, is really bloody. He has three arrows in his chest, a thick spear protruding from his stomach, and blood dripping out of his eyes, ears, nose and mouth. It must really hurt when he laughs.
Roger stands up and puts his hands on his hips to tell Bob off: "I've had enough of this guilt trip! I'm okay, and I'm sick of people condemning me. You Bible thumpers can go to hell!" Bob tosses more scripture at him, but Roger stomps out the door yelling, "Drop dead, Bob!"
Eight weeks later, Roger is the one who drops dead from a heart attack. He's still wearing the same turtle neck sweater. Apparently, even God can't stand it anymore. Roger is stripped naked and shouted at before the Great White Throne of Judgment (Matthew 25:41, of course.) It's off to the Lake of Fire, just as Bob predicted. Bob returns in the last panel to warn us that only the blood of Jesus can wash away our sins. Linda wins a moral victory but loses the alimony. The end.
Favorite Panel Award goes to page 13B. Six demons and an angel watch David and Bathsheba having sex. One demon in the background has to climb a bedpost to get a good view. (The angel's wings are in his way, darn it!) Interestingly enough, the angel doesn't have a video camera this time. Apparently, they have to wait for the stupid humans to invent them first! (What a piety. They could have really enhanced their porn collection if they had the cameras sooner.) Grade: B+ for Babes in Bed. Return to Tract Index.
"PAYBACK!" Guest Review by Andie Kittabb! (Art by Chick ©2002.) This is tract #14 of 25 featuring Bob. We begin in front of a luxurious mansion. Fang the dog makes an appearance in the front yard, barking ferociously at the copyright statement on the side of the panel. Meanwhile, a kind but sickly old man, Mr. Banks waves goodbye to his favorite nurse, Kelli. Apparently, she's an exemplary nurse because she reminds him to take his medicine. A medical aide telling a patient to take his medicine? Talk about going above and beyond the call of duty!
But Kelli isn't the angelic caretaker that Mr. Banks thinks she is. Her grumpy Husband Alan (who looks like Alberto Rivera with a bad case of bloat) is whining because "We should have a house just like that (Banks'). We deserve it." Kelli, instead of telling her husband to get off his butt and get a job, decides that exploiting her client's trust "may be our doorway to riches." Oh YEAH, sinners; can I get a HAW-HAW?!
Our heroine spends the next 3 months, 2 weeks, and 4 days worming her way into Mr. Banks' life. She isolates him from his family, tricks him into signing some legal papers, and stops taking care of him. I especially like how Nurse Rachet, er, Kelli, tells Mr. Banks' family that he can't come to the phone because he's sleeping, then tells Banks that his family hasn't called. I think the message that we're supposed to get is that Kelli is evil for keeping his family away. Not to make excuses for Kelli, but what kind of family stops checking in on a sick relative just because his nurse says he's taking a nap? It's not exactly a heartwarming portrayal of family devotion. But I digress. When Banks dies and leaves all of his worldly goods to his "good friend and saintly nurse, Kelli James," his children (a ragtag bunch of brats all wearing unsaved sneers on their faces) are angry to discover that they didn't inherit anything and that the will is incontestable. Haven't these people ever heard of nuisance lawsuits?
Fast forward seven years: Kelli is living in Mr. Banks' old house and dying of cancer, and her husband Alan is nowhere to be found. (He probably dropped dead while reveling in his newfound riches and was whisked away by cranky angels for a terse meeting with the Faceless God.) Kelli receives a visit from Bonnie, a precocious young Christian who looks more like a Gelfing from The Dark Crystal than a girl. Bonnie, with wholesome childhood naivete oozing from every pore, announces that "My big sister had cancer, but God took it away!" Awww, isn't that sweet? Bonnie asks Kelli to come to church with her that Sunday. Pastor Malcolm (played by Walter Kronkite's black twin) regales the congregation with the story of Ahab and Jezebel.
Okay, we've all read Chick's other tract, Going to the Dogs, that dealt with this story, so I'm not going to rehash it here, but I should mention a few highlights. First, when evil Ahab cries into his pillow because Naboth won't give him his vineyard, we find that Jack Chick has replaced his traditional "Sob sob!" with the newfangled "Snivel snivel" Is nothing sacred? Jackie boy, just promise not to mess with the "HAW-HAW-HAW!" That would be blasphemy!
There are some other great sound effects, like the arrow going "Thud!" into Ahab's chest, the "Grrrr" of dogs waiting for Jezebel to hit the pavement, and of course, the classic "Yaaaaaa!" as Jezebel approaches terminal velocity. Favorite Panel Award goes to the scene where a group of people mull around the spot where Jezebel was eaten by dogs. One guy says, "Yuk!" Just in case the point isn't clear, the caption at the bottom reads "It was pretty gross." What really makes the panel though, is the picture of a bulldog in the foreground. The dog's belly is distended and his mouth is full, but not so full that the dog can't let out a healthy "Burp!" Not surprising, really, since one would expect Baal worshipers to cause gas in canines.
At the end of the sermon, Kelli has an epiphany: "I did the same thing to Mr. Banks that Jezebel did! I'm going to hell too!" Whoa! You mean it's wrong to kill and old man and steal the inheritance from his family? Get outta town! She kneels, prays, gets saved, then tells Malcolm what she's done and asks if she's really forgiven. This is also a break from tradition, because usually after saying the sinner's prayer, the newly saved person gets up and gives the Chick trademark "Oh my God, I feel different, I feel clean!" speech. I guess Kelli still feels a little soiled. Malcolm offers a bit more advice than most other Chick messengers. He doesn't just say, "Congrats, you're saved, hallelujah." He asks Kelli what she thinks God would have her do now. Normally, dying Chick characters only have a few hours or even minutes to say "Jesus save me" before they croak. Kelli's lucky though; she has a week to make arrangements with lawyers and call "a lot of people and ask them to forgive me for the terrible things I've done" before her friendly neighborhood angel comes to cart her off to heaven.
Here's a nitpicking problem I have with the ending. When a lawyer visits Mr. Banks' children, the brats are surprised to learn that Kelli not only left their father's fortune to them, but also tripled its value. Hang on, they're surprised? Didn't Kelli call lots of people and ask them for forgiveness before she died? I can understand that a Jack Chick-Christian would probably have a lot of people to call to apologize for stealing a paper clip or saying "*&@!" to a cashier; but I would have thought that she'd want to take a few minutes make the "Hi, I'm sorry I killed your dad and stole his money, I wanna give it back" calls. Never let it be said, though, that Chick let logic get in the way of dramatic license. Besides, one of the Banks' kids said he would never forgive Kelli anyway, so it's probably a good thing that Kelli didn't waste her long distance minutes on him.
Overall, this is a neat tract written in the classic Chick vein. I was especially happy to see Fang; it seems like he's making more appearances now. Too bad he missed the free meal on the palace payment. He must not have heard the Jeze-Bell. Grade: B+ for Belching Bulldog! Return to Index.
"Real Heat" Guest Review by Rich Lee! (Art by Chick © 2002) This is tract #15 in the series of 25 Bible tracts featuring Bob.
The melting man on the cover does not quite convey precisely what JTC has in mind in this story about a man injured in an auto accident. A huge semi truck hits a car head-on killing the driver. The passenger screams "AAAH! I'm burning!" while the paramedics put out the flames. Two months later, Bob Williams visits Rick (the recovering passenger). He is eager to speak to Bob since he knows Rick's mother. Rick can't get the fire of the accident out of his mind. Bob says that fire was an ancient method for execution. "Throughout history, thousands were put to death that way....The fear of fire is a terrible weapon to control people..." Hmm, some non-Christian critics would accuse the Christian faith of controlling people with the threat of burning eternally in Hell. However, this irony does not dawn on Bob as he proceeds to work toward that exact goal.
Bob relates the story from the Protestant classic "Foxe's Book of Martyrs" wherein Thomas Hawkes was burned at the stake. Hawkes refused to have his infant baptized as a Roman Catholic, and refused to convert to Catholicism. For this, Hawkes faced death by burning. In fact, Bob says that the Roman Catholic Church's most effective weapon during the Inquisition was the fear being burned to death. Bob also relates the story of King Nebuchadnezzar in ancient Babylon from the Old Testament book of Daniel. He explains how the three Hebrew slaves Shadrach, Meshach, and Abednego refused to commit idolatry against God by bowing down to Nebuchadnezzar's golden statue. For punishment, they were cast into a fiery furnace while the king watches. However, he saw four men in the furnace, and the fourth one looked like "the Son of God!" (How a Pagan king would recognize Jesus centuries before his birth is not addressed.) Bob segways into the message of the Gospel. Bob explains that Jesus was with the three Hebrews in the furnace and protected them from being burned up. Likewise, Jesus will protect anyone from eternal Hell fire if they accept him as their Lord and savior. If not, you can expect plenty of blisters. Rick takes the hint and repents on the spot. He even recites a "sinner's prayer" without being told what to say. Rick ends his prayer with "I've had enough fire. Amen." (Then he better stay away from Chick tracts, because hell fire is in practically every tract!) Favorite Panel Award goes to page 8 where Hawkes is burning at the stake. Although completely engulfed in flames, he claps for the audience to show that the pain is bearable with God's help. It's pretty dramatic stuff. Protesters should remember this stunt the next time they set themselves ablaze. It's a real crowd pleaser and sure to get them on CNN!
Grade A for "AAAH! I'm burning!" Return to Main Index.
"The Monster" Review! (Art by Chick ©2002.) This is tract #16 of 25 featuring Bob Williams. A.J. is a very nasty boss. He's arrogant and he throws coffee at his secretary-- who happens to be Shirley Shepherd, the former prostitute who turned herself over to Jesus in tract #8. Now she's all prim and proper and wears her hair in a tight little bun. The new outfit looks good on her and she would probably earn top dollar if she went back to turning tricks. But let's not go there...
Shirley doesn't like being a hot coffee target and calls Bob to complain. "My boss is a monster! I can't stand him. He's so awful that I've stopped praying for him!" Bob reels. "You mustn't stop, Shirley," Bob implores, "This is a battle for his soul." That night, Bob calls his Gang of Four together: The Last Judge, the Outcast, the It's Coming babe, and of course, his dutiful wife. It's a Who's Who of Chick tract celebs. They combine forces and pray as a power pack to conjure up some holy mo-jo and direct it toward A.J. The next week, his life falls apart. He loses his big business deal, his son gets arrested for drugs, his daughter gets knocked up, and his wife demands a divorce. Shirley phones Bob to announce the good news. "Man, is God ever working on Mr. Jennings! He's a wreck. He's even asking me what he should do. I told him about you guys. Could you come over here?" Does the I.R.S. like taxes? OF COURSE! Bob races over to console the weeping A.J. and slip in a sermon or two. He tells about how king Nebuchadnezzar was arrogant and God made him go insane for seven years, reducing the leader to a mental case who ate grass like an ox. Once Nebby-the-nut repents, he returns to being a great king. A.J. doesn't take the hint. Bob has to explain that A.J. is hated by everyone and is on his way to hell. A sweating A.J. retorts, "You're scaring me to death. What shall I do?" A few panels later, A.J. is reciting the sinner's prayer. All the employees rejoice and the world becomes a better place. Bob turns to us and announces, "A.J. got saved! Jesus took over his life and He can do the same for you!" With ringing endorsements like that, who can resist such a fabulous deal? Favorite Panel Award goes to page 16B. Nebuchadnezzar grabs his head with his hands and goes cross-eyed as God drives him insane. It's the same expression many motorists give when trapped in grid-lock. Grade: B+ for Big Bad Boss. Return to Main Index.
"Gladys" The Review! (Art by Chick ©2002.) This is tract #17 of 25 featuring Bob Williams. Getting your name placed on the cover of a Chick tract is like being featured on 60 minutes; you can assume you are not going to look so great by the time the show is over. Such is the case with poor Gladys. She visits his niece, Sandy, (from tract #7, It's the Law) in order to avoid the expense of staying at a hotel during her Astrology convention. Sandy's Bible study group shows up. Bob Williams is leader of the pack. He starts to talk to Gladys about her powers of prophecy, and (as always) stirs the conversation around to the Bible. He asks Gladys is she is a psychic. She proudly claims that she is. She says that she communes with spirits, especially a guide named "George." The invisible demon tries to shut her up, but Gladys is too much of a blabber mouth to heed George's advice. Bob mentions that the ancient prophet Isaiah was 100% accurate. Gladys thinks to herself that she is only 20% accurate. Then Bob explains how Moses said any prophet who is ever wrong is a false prophet, "and that prophet shall die." Gladys becomes offended and wants to call a ride. Holly Parker (from tract #12, The Nervous Witch) comes to her rescue. While driving off with Gladys, Holly admits she hates Bob and placed a death curse on him. Bob must not have prayed hard enough for his enemies, because Holly then drives her car straight into a fuel truck. Only the demon spirit guide survives the explosion. Holly's soul demands to speak with Lucifer. The angel on duty says she'll have plenty of time to visit with her master in the Lake of Fire. (Ew, burn!) The two women wind up shivering before the Great White Throne of Judgment. The Faceless God shouts Matthew 25:41 at them and they are plopped into Lava Lake. (You can bet that wasn't one of Gladys' predictions!) Favorite Panel Award goes to page 9B, where demon George tries to plug Gladys' ears, but only succeeds in tickling her. She chuckles, "Oh, stop it, George... You're such a silly boy!" George is probably tickling her now...with his pitch fork. Don't be surprised if her laughter has taken on a decidedly higher volume and tenor. Grade: B for Burning Astrologers. Return to Main Index.
"God With Us" Guest Review by Andie Kittab. (Art by Chick ©2002) This is tract #18 of 25 featuring Bob Williams. It begins with a couple of punks in a skating park swearing at each other. "Where the *?!@ have you been?" asks one. The other snorts, "#!&?! Get off my case!" But look, coming around the corner; it's a bird, it's a plane, it's BOB WILLIAMS! He scolds the kids for taking the Lord's name in vain. For the first time since Murphy, Chick translates one of the swearing blurbs for readers. It turns out that one of the punks said "Jesus Christ," only he wasn't praying or evangelizing.
Bob asks the kids if they even know who Jesus Christ is. The kid with the nose ring says that Jesus is "The Christmas kid in the manger," while the long haired punk protests "I don't know nuthin' about that little dude." (Really Jack, your use of slang to connect with the kids has been rather smothering lately. Moderation, that's all I'm saying.) Anyway, the skaters "got nuthin' to do" so they're more than happy to let Bob give a sermon about who Jesus is and why they shouldn't say naughty words. "What I am about to tell you will blow you away," he warns. In real life, most kids would respond to that warning with a wisecrack that incorporates the word "blow" in a somewhat less scriptural context, but hey, we're in Chickland.
Bob starts the skaters out with Intro to God 101: God is real. He created the universe in 6 days. ("Wow, he's something else!" says Long Hair.) He made heaven and hell, and He's going to decide where you're going to go when you die. ("Hey, that's scary stuff!" whimpers Nose Ring. "Who is he?") Bob brings it home: "His name is the Lord Jesus Christ!" Now the skaters are sufficiently frightened.
Forgive me, but I'm going to veer off topic for a second. One of the problems that I've always had with the sinners in Chick Tracts is that they believe EVERYTHING they're told at face value. It's one thing when they're talking with Faceless God right before they get sent to hell, but it's quite another when it's the truck driver in The Sissy? or Bob Williams in It's The Law, The Last Judge, or almost every tract that Bob shows up in. The Christian tells someone they've met for the first time, "This is who God is and this is what He did." The sinner's response is basically, "Whoa, you're telling me this, so it must be true." Some sinners go on to be saved, and some sinners react with, "I know God is real, but I just luuuuv to sin, so I'm going to ignore what you just said." Nobody ever says, "So you want me to believe that this is how God is, just because you said so? The bible is God's word because you say it is? Do I even know you?" If people had this much faith in other people, evangelism would be a walk in the skating park.
Back to the tract: Bob tells the skaters about the Great Flood and how God drowned everyone except Noah because they were wicked. Then Bob explains how people were just as rotten even after the Flood. "He (God) saw many of them turning into perverts. Jesus made Adam and Eve-- not Adam and Steve." Bob adds, "There were some cities where these sickos were doing every evil thing they could think of." Long Hair asks, "Then being gay is a no-no?" (No-no? What grade are these skaters in, anyway?) Bob replies, "Absolutely, stay away from it. It smells of devils and death- and God hates it!"
Whoa. "Sickos?" "Adam and Steve?" "Smells of devils and death?" Nobody could ever accuse Jack Chick of hiding his true feelings. When it comes to the gay issue, it appears that Chick is getting crankier in his old age. Either that or he's started jogging with Fred Phelps in the morning.
So now that Bob's helped the skaters take their first steps toward faith-sanctioned homophobia, he takes the skaters through each of the Ten Commandments. Then he moves into the story of Jesus, pausing to explain some things about Mary. It turns out that Long Hair doesn't know what a virgin is. Now when I was a kid, my mom taught me that if a strange man with a mustache walks up to you in the park and asks if "you know what a virgin is?" your wisest course of action is to scream and run like hell. Then again, this is the world of Chick. Bob defines a virgin as "a young lady who has never made love to anyone," which makes me wonder what the biblically accepted term is for a young man who's never made love to anyone.
Anyway, we all know the rest of the story: Jesus was born, grew up and got crucified, then rose from the dead so that people like Long Hair and Nose Ring could weasel their way into heaven. We don't actually get to see the kids say the sinner's prayer, but the last panel shows the two skaters basking in Just-Been-Saved afterglow. Nose Ring says he feels clean and he never wants to cuss or tell lies again. Long Hair has loftier goals; he says he wants to be like Jesus (minus the crucifixion, presumably). Bob should be proud. I wouldn't be surprised if these kids show up in a future tract; minus the piercing, longhair, and evil T-shirts.
Favorite Panel Award goes to page 10A. It's a picture of costumed wicked people who "swore at God and hated Him. Apparently, pre-Flood earth looked a lot like the back stage of the World Wide Wrestling Federation. This tract lacks classic elements like invisible demons and someone laughing "Haw-haw-haw!" However, it sports increased vitriol with the "Gayness is Bad" segment, and that's always worth the price of admission. Grade: B for Bad Boys. HAW HAW HAW!!! Return to Main Index.
"Fallen" The Review! (Art by Chick ©2002.) This is tract #19 of 25 featuring Bob Williams. It's another retelling of the classic Prodigal Son story, but in a modern context. It begins with an informal soccer match where the ball is a teenager named Bruce. The other guys are kicking the &*#@ out of him. His assailants indicate they don't need Bruce anymore because his money ran out. Bruce is left on the ground along with his mother's empty purse. The cops spot Bruce in an alley with a purse and stop him for questioning. They find an address in the purse and call it to see if the purse was stolen. The mother answers and is delighted to hear the police found her son. He took the purse and $26,000 when he ran-away six months earlier.
Bruce is flown home but could care less for his parents. His father calls Bob Williams and asks for help. He explains that his son is"totally evil and laughs at God. He's into drugs, crime and violence. He hates everything about us but our money." Bob agrees to talk to the problem child and urges the father to pray for his son.
Either someone didn't pray hard enough of God wasn't listening, because Bruce gets into big trouble at a bar. The Bartender calls the mob and tells Bruno that Bruce is at his bar. Bruno arrives with the criminal equivalent of the Welcome Wagon. One of his thugs grabs Bruce and breaks his neck. They leave him for dead outside his parent's home.
Bruce is taken to the hospital and stuck in room 310. Chick regulars probably remember the last character who was in Room 310 was a fellow named Danny O'hara, and he didn't make it out alive. The prognosis for Bruce doesn't sound any better. He's a quadriplegic, and according to the footnote, that means he is paralyzed from the neck down. He also has pneumonia, but since there's no footnote, it must not mean anything important...
Bob finally shows up and visits. Bruce doesn't recognize him. Bob explains, "You were in my Sunday school class, years ago. Back in those days, you were such a tender boy before the Lord." (Good thing Bob isn't a Priest. The lawyers would be busting down the doors by now.)
Bob continues, "But you never got saved. Then you let Satan get his hooks into you. I'm gonna tell you something that will save your neck." (Sorry Bob, his neck's already broken.) Bob tells the story of the prodigal son. He informs Bruce that he's heading to hell. "You're going down, Bruce!" Bruce squirms but there is no place for him to run. (Remember, he's a quadriplegic, and that means he's paralyzed from the neck down.) Bob pressures him for a decision to get saved, but Bruce tells him to come back in the morning. "Tomorrow may be too late, Bruce!" Bob whines, "But I'll come back in the morning."
The next panel explains, "Bruce Burke died in his sins at 3:10 a.m. His soul was taken to a screaming hell... lost for all eternity." So much for upbeat endings. Then again, Bruce was such a jerk, most readers are probably relieved he won't be taking up space in heaven.
It's a surprise ending alright. I expected Bob to show up at 12:01 a.m. and say, "Okay Bruce, it's morning. I'm back to close the deal." But no dice. Bob wasn't pushy enough this time so Satan scores another soul for The Lakers (as in Lava). Let that be a lesson to all you polite Christians out there: people on life support need to be badgered to death to receive eternal life.
Favorite Panel Award goes to page 10b. Check out the shocked expression on Bruce's face when he realizes Bruno and his gang are behind him. Haw-haw! Grade B+ for Bravo Bruno! Return to Main Index.
"WHO CARES?" The Review! This is tract #20 in a series of 25 featuring Bob Williams. (Art by Chick ©2002.) You know this tract is going to be inflammatory before you even open it, because the cover shows a jet liner flying into the World Trade Center. The first page shows the towers in flames. A Muslim woman watching TV is terrified by the live news coverage of the terrorist attacks. She urges her son to stay home from work. But Omar doesn't listen to his mother and opens his Jiffy Mart anyway. Big mistake. Three rednecks show up to avenge Uncle Sam. One snares, "Get the lousy camel Jockey!" And they do!
Meanwhile, Bob Williams pulls up outside to get some batteries. He notices the telltale pickup truck parked outside. As he enters the scene of the crime, the rednecks (now redknuckles) take off, celebrating their symbolic victory over Al Queda. "I feel better!" one exclaims. The same cannot be said for Omar. He's polishing the shop floor with his squirming, bleeding body. Bob hauls him to the Emergency room, explaining he'll pay for it since Omar has no money. (Maybe he'll get a discount on the batteries.)
Two hours later, Omar is patched up. The doctor reflects aloud that it was lucky he was brought in quickly, because he would have otherwise bled to death. Omar wonders, "What kind of infidels are these?" Bob explains he's a Christian, and that's what Christians do. Omar fires back that the thugs who beat him up were also Christians. Bob insists that real Christians would never do such a thing, because Jesus taught them to love their enemies. He tells Omar the story of the Good Samaritan. He then tells Omar he has a message from Jesus. He gets Omar to admit that Islam recognizes Jesus as a prophet, and that the nowhere in the Koran does it say that Jesus lied. He recites John 9:35, where Jesus reveals he is the son of God. He explains how Jesus (not Allah) loves Omar so much, that he sent his son to die for Omar's sins. Omar is stunned. He never heard such a thing! (He must have gone to public school.)
Omar tries to formulate a counter argument, but Bob's too quick for him. He interrupts Omar and mid-sentence and says, "Did Muhammad die for you? Did he rise from the dead? Jesus did, proving that He is God." Omar caves. He falls to the ground and recites the Sinner's Prayer. It's a historic day. Osama and Satan may have each won a tower, but Jesus won a convert, and the fact he was a Muslim must have really thrown salt in the wound. Remember, he who laughs last, laughs best. So don't be too surprised if Omar's Jiffy Mart starts stocking a new product: Chick tracts! Haw-haw-haw!
Grade: B for Bin Laden loses in the long run. Back to Tract Index.
"SCREAM " Guest Review by Emby Quinn! Tract #21 of 25 featuring Bob Williams. (Art by Chick ©2002.)
After a thorough read-through of Jack's latest tract, I can't help but wonder if the Chickmeister really had his whole heart in this particular effort. I suppose I might be expecting too much from this latest entry (#21 in the 25-issue "Bible series" of Chick tracts), since it's only an excuse for Our Hero, Bob Williams, to witness to yet another "lost soul" using a parable from the New Testament so familiar to 90% of the population that most of us could recite it in our sleep...but I'm getting ahead of myself. The story (such as it is) begins with two would-be arsonists entering a warehouse to torch it. The owner's paying $2,000 (half in advance, the rest "when it's nothing but ashes," gloats Charlie, the man in charge). With a liberal amount of gasoline, Charlie starts the blaze and his partner, Sonny, hoofs it out of the building. Charlie trips on his way out, the flames engulf him, and we get a wonderful one-panel shot of Charlie covered in flaming death. (This is similar to another fire walker scene in Real Heat, just six tracts earlier.) The Fire Department is called and arrives to put out the flames-- of the warehouse, not Charlie. (They have enough arsonists as it is.) Sonny is in the crowd, watching nervously. He's sure that Charlie is dead because "NOBODY could live through THAT!". One of the firefighters, Fred, falls through the roof into the burning building. He is rescued, alive but badly burned. Fast forward a couple of weeks to the hospital, where Fred is told how lucky he is--the arsonist's remains were found on the floor below. Fred's devoted wife brings in Our Hero Bob Williams, presumably because Fred isn't suffering enough already. Fred complains about his flashbacks ("The flames, the smoke...it was HELL!"). Now, come on, how could we expect good old Bob to resist an opening like that? "You got a TASTE of hell...but it's a lot WORSE than that!" With little further preamble, Bob launches in on the by-now familiar preamble about Jesus being God, how He created all things including Hell, yadda yadda yadda. Then the actual "Bible story" part of the tract begins, telling the story of the rich man and Lazarus. I'm sure that some people out there aren't entirely familiar with this story, even though it was rehashed in an earlier tract (THE TRAP), so for the sake of those two people unfamiliar with it, I won't spoil the ending, except to say that the phrase "you can't take it with you" doesn't even begin to cover it for our poor little rich dude. Anyway, after terrorizing the fire-traumatized burn victim about the eternal flames of hell for most of the rest of the tract, Bob dangles the "pray to Jesus and repent" panacea, which Fred eagerly gobbles down (at this point I'm wondering if he was really sincere or if he just wanted Bob to shut the $^#%!@ up about the "Lake of Fire" and its various torments). Bob then looks out at the reader with this really creepy negative-eyes effect and tells YOU that "To get SAVED is the MOST IMPORTANT thing in your life. You ARE going to die, and don't kid yourself...you WILL be judged!" Thanks for the heads-up, buddy. The concluding text backs Bob up on this, too, telling you that "You can't squirm out of this...you really got nailed when you read this story. You've got NO EXCUSE now!" Other than the fact that I certainly wouldn't recommend giving this tract to a burn victim in the hospital no matter what concerns you may have about the state of their soul, I must admit there are some loose ends that rather annoyed me. What about Sonny, the doomed arsonist's sidekick? Are we going to see him either come to Jesus or get what he deserves in a future tract? And what about the genius who got himself flash-fried by his own accelerant? Shouldn't we have seen his just punishment for his misdeeds? Why no scene of Charlie-the-arsonist burning in Hell for eternity? Shame on you, Jack! Well, maybe Charlie accepted Jesus in the last moments of his fiery agony and his name is now in the Book of Life. Grade: C+ for Char-Broiled Charlie.
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