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J.T.C. Museum of Fine Art REVIEW WING-5 1/2B
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TRACT REVIEWS-5 1/2B
All reviews are Copyright ©2004 by Monsterwax
"GOOD OL' BOYS" Guest Review by "WiseAss"! (Tract #22 in the series of 25 featuring Bob Williams. Art by Chick ©2003.) Masonry was something of a surprise here. It's relatively small potatoes in the JTC Universe of Pure Evil, having received a fairly central role in Angel of Light and also being linked with Witchcraft and Mormonism. (And Catholicism, too. In Alberto, one is horrified to find a Masonic ring on a bishop's hand. "Everything I was taught to fight against was tied together at the top!" Chick exclaims in shock.) Jack is usually too busy fighting the menace of openly-declared religions (except Baptists, of course!), homosexuality, and the horrors of church-state separation! But, as with abortion (which inspired Who Murdered Clarice), Jack may have had a recent run-in or bad second-hand experience.
The story starts with a "Shining Path" terrorist story, presented as an actual occurrence, but open to question as far as I'm concerned. After all, The First Jaws tract repeats what is universally considered an URBAN LEGEND, the survival of a sailor from inside a giant shark! Frankly, I doubt very much that Chick concerns himself with accuracy in the newspaper sense. It's whatever will save souls! I'm actually surprised that he never referred to the "Missing Days" nonsense, wherein a NASA computer "goes crazy" while "going back in time" because of Joshua stopping the sun and another Old Testament miracle (2nd Kings verse 20).
We see the ultimate O'Henry finish in this segment when revolutionaries not only decide to spare the intrepid pastoral couple (surprise!) but then gun down those who agreed with the terrorists and renounced Jesus. (Bet you didn't see that one coming.) "Disgusting cowards", indeed! And if you are wondering how they'll fare with Ol' Light bulb-head, just read on!
Bob Williams suddenly appears. It seems the whole first segment was just a narrative flashback, told to get some friends' attention. Young Robbie can't believe the courage of the Christian couple. (It turns out he was among the unsaved, although that was unclear early on.) But the big fish is actually John, who said he was already saved. (Emphasis on "WAS"!)
Astute Chicklets will spot in panel 8B that John scowls too much to be a faithful Christian. His Masonic ring gives away that he has already DENIED CHRIST, as much as he, in contrast to Robbie, can't imagine ever personally caving-in under any circumstances.
I must say, I can't fault the JTC logic in this instance: if it is indeed true that all Mason members ceremonially agree (if only by silence) to living in darkness before initiation, then it certainly seems fatal to the witness and credibility of Born-agains (and also their salvation). Bob claims that paying in Jesus' name is forbidden in lodges. I'm too old to take such statements without proof, but again, the logical consequences based on the premises seem to hold up.
The conclusions of this tract is far from predictable. I expected Mason Man to remain in his sins, though I suspected Robbie would receive The Word. After all, there have been only four cases of obstinacy in the series so far. But, Lo and Behold, we have not one but two repenters.
Which brings me to another general observation. Ever since The Four Brothers, Chick has displayed a stance against Once Saved, Always Saved (OSAS). Now it's Once Saved, KEEP IN LINE, LOSER! Trust me, this was not his original conviction. Even in Sabotage, the backsliding hippy (fooled by the non-KJV Bible) was not warned about re-damnation, and only seemed to fear embarrassment if JC should return that very moment -- and neither Tim nor Jim objected.
I'm not that impressed with this particular entry in the series. It has an dramatic Urban Legend-like intro, but it's too unbelievable. It doesn't even attempt to support it with the otherwise plentiful footnotes. Favorite Panel Award goes to page 7, where the entire congregation bites bullets blasted from communist machine guns. For that reason alone, I'll give it a C- for Christian Carnage. Return to Main Index.
"Man In Black" Review: (Tract #23 in the series of 25 featuring Bob Williams. Art by Chick ©2003.) Bob Williams is driving across a bridge when he notices a drunk Catholic priest about to jump to his death. He stops to intervene. He talks the priest out of suicide, but not without a price. In exchange, he gets to lecture the priest about how the Catholic church is really The Great Whore of Babylon. At first, the priest thinks it's disrespectful, but he doesn't put up much a fight. After all, Bob saved his life, gave him a ride in his car, and bought him a hot cup of Joe. (So I guess he owes him.) Bob recites a long list of Catholic conspiracies, including the one where Queen Semiramis evolves into the Queen of Heaven, aka, the Virgin Mary. Scenes of Christian persecution are illustrated, including an image where a grieving Christian forgives a Roman Centurion as he finishes killing his entire family... and their dog too! (The widower isn't angry at all. He must have had a really generous insurance policy.) Bob explains how emperor Constantine pretended to be a Christian but also worshiped the sun. Satan's agents rewrote the Bible in Alexandria, so as to create a counterfeit church. "In just 25 years, the Whore was in control. The first pope died and shortly the world was plunged into the Dark Ages." It's been down hill ever since.
Bob skims over a few centuries. "Civilization collapsed. Life became a nightmare. Vandals plundered, raped and destroyed Europe. Rome built monasteries and cathedrals. The ignorant masses looked to them for help but were taught only idolatry and superstition. The popes were the new Caesars, and each one claimed to be Christ on Earth. Even the kings served the popes, believing that that ruled as Christ. Satan had created his own anti-Christ, who blasphemed the Word of God."
The backsliding priest finally pipes up, "Then Peter was not the first pope?" Bob fires back, "No! That was another lie. They uncovered his body in Jerusalem, *not Rome. (* See The Crusaders The Four Horsemen, pg. 20.)"
Another panel shows a rogue's gallery of thugs glaring at the reader. The unusual thing about these cruel criminals is that most of them are Catholic priests, monks, and popes. Oh sure, there's a few Mafia Dons and Klu Klux Klanners thrown in the batch for good measure, but most of them are clearly Catholics. (Sorry, no Nazis. Chick must have run out of room.) "Because Vatican City controls the wealth of the world, she can create wars to enhance her power, making all the world leaders shake in their boots. She is the greatest enemy of Jesus on this planet."
And you thought Chick was getting mellow with age? You don't know Jack!
Two dynamite images juxtapose the horrors of the Inquisition with scenes of lecherous popes fondling whores and priests kissing one another. "The unbridled lust of the popes: intermarriage, pedophilia, incest and occultic murders-- all this filth has been swept under the rug." (These two scenes are perverse pleasure and pain deservingly wins our coveted Favorite Panel Award.)
The priest confesses to Bob, "A priest I knew said he actually saw those files in the Vatican. It's all true!" (That unnamed priest must have been Alberto!)
With a little prompting from Bob, the priest soon falls to the floor to squeeze out a tear and recite The Sinner's Prayer. Of course, it could just be the booze talking. There's no telling what the priest will think after he sleeps it off. But Bob can proudly carve another notch in his Gun of Salvation. Lock the doors and hide! The Gospel Gunslinger is a-coming to town!
There's plenty of action, violence, conspiracies, and vivid images to keep this tract interesting from start to finish. (Check out the cool seven-headed dragon and sexy harlot on page 6.) It wins an A for Audacity, because not too many folks would have the chutzpah to convert a priest! Return to Main Index.
"WHO'S MISSING?" The Review! This is tract #24 of 25 with Bob Williams. (Art by Chick @ 2003.) The fun all starts with a birthday party for Dr. Ngaba, the head of the U.N. delegation of peace keeping forces. Hey doc, who's that present from? Ura Goner? That's odd, I don't remember anyone named -- KA-BOOM! Everyone is killed in the blast.
Later, an expert hooded in a chemical protective outfit surveys the damage and confirms they all died of sarin gas. The news media goes into feeding frenzy mode. A talking head reports, "Negotiations are collapsing... Many military leaders fear this could lead to Armageddon." (He reports for channel 3, my favorite, since it plays all the videos I happen to rent.) Meanwhile, Bob Williams gets a call from Damien. (Not the evil kid in "The Omen," but the former Catholic priest that Bob converted in tract #24.) It seems Damien's sister is freaking out over all the sensational news reports. "She believes we're heading for an all-out war and she's terrified." Damien pleads, "Can you speak with her?" Damien not only left his church, he apparently forgot how to counsel his flock.
Bob arrives with his wife in tow. Mrs. Williams cajoles Mary Anne that everything is going to be okay. But Bob throws fuel on the fire by saying, "This is not the end. Jesus spoke of wars, earthquakes, famines and plagues-- and He said that this is only the 'beginning of sorrows!'" Thanks Bob, that should really help calm her down. He offers more words of encouragement: "Those living through it will wish they had never been born... Murder, plagues, witchcraft, cannibalism, Satan will be in complete control. So terrible that we can't describe it!"
Bob goes on to explain about "the great falling away." That's where pastors no longer preach from the King James Bible and slowly, they all compromise with Satan. It becomes politically incorrect to condemn sins like "sodomy, divorce, Masonry, Islam or the Whore of Babylon." A scene shows Billy Graham admitting to a reporter that he no longer believes in a literal hell. (GASP! There's even a footnote to prove it.)
The second sign of the end times is "the man of sin must be revealed." This is where Bob explains to the despondent Catholic that she's a member of a Satanic cult. "These satanically controlled popes are anti-christs, pretending to hold the position of Christ on earth." Mary Ann blinks in disbelief. She responds, "The Holy Father?" Bob admonishes her, "Calling the pope that name is blasphemy against God," but she doesn't seem to mind. Not yet, anyway.
Now for the BAD news: A small remnant will escape all the terrors. They'll be whisked up in the great Rapture. Why is this bad news? Because Mary Ann is a Catholic, and she'll be left behind! All of a sudden, Mary Ann is whistling a different tune. "No! I don't believe any of this craziness! My faith is in Mother Church, not the Bible. So get out! You too, Damien!"
The ejects drive off but remain in good spirits. After all, they succeeded in getting Mary Ann's mind off the end of the world. It's a pity it also turned Damien into a homeless bum. But fate-- and Mrs. Williams-- soon smile upon him. She tells Damien to move in with them. Bob doesn't seem to mind the new male room mate. What can he say? It's his fault Damien was kicked out! He acts unconcerned and invites Damien to join them at church.
Pastor Malcolm is fully recovered from the attack at the hands of the queer loving cops who thrashed him in tract #3 (Sin City). The pews are filled with characters from previous tracts: Ex-monsters, ex-whores, ex-homos, ex-Muslims... It's a full house! One of them, the skate boarding punk from FRAMED and GOD WITH US, shouts "Hallelujah!" Bob smiles. The End.
Granted, it ends a bit abruptly. It's also hard to swallow some of the story line. Why would Mary Ann ignore all the Vatican bashing, then go ballistic after she learned she wasn't invited to the Rapture party unless she switched teams? And how is it that Bob could sit next to that little brat in church and not ask him to remove his hat and shades? (This is the same Bob that is so respectful, he can't even refer to God without capitalizing 'Him.') But this tract still gets high marks for the militant message and a dynamite opening scene. (Literally!) Grade: B+ for Bomb Blast. Return to Tract Index.
"HERE HE COMES!" The Review! Tract #25 of 25 featuring Bob Williams. (Art by Chick ©2003.) An incredible "last act" for Bob Williams. Chick pulled out all the stops for this tale of the Rapture. It begins with Bob, Helen and Damien driving down the road. Helen leans forward to say, "Damien, there's something really important you should know!" Ex-Catholic priest Damien responds, "OK, Helen.. what is.. whoa! (gasp!)" What stuns Damien is the sudden vanishing act of the other passengers as they are raptured up to heaven. The car skids out of control and smashes head-on into a telephone pole (which displays a "lost dog" poster of Fang).
Cut to an interior shot of Helen and Bob sneaking into Damien's bedroom wearing their bathrobes. They claim they heard him cry for help. (Yeah, right, I'll have to remember that line to use on the Nanny.) Damien tells them about his terrible nightmare of the Rapture. Bob assures Damien he won't be left behind, because he accepted Jesus. "Jesus will rapture His church before the 7-year Tribulation, but after the Rapture, the tribulation saints will be beheaded." In other words, all present day Christians skip over the unpleasantness, but ones that convert after the Rapture have to pay for it with their lives.
As Damien drinks a cup of Joe, Bob goes over the Rapture highlights. Russia, Germany and the Arabs attack Israel. (What about France? They seemed pretty chummy with Saddam before the war.) The Muslim's Dome of the Rock is destroyed, the Jews rebuild their temple in Jerusalem, and "The pope and his Jesuit general watch from Rome--drooling, waiting to grab it for themselves."
Pope John Paul II and his Jesuit general, Peter Kolvenbach, are seen signing documents. "A deceitful 7-year peace treaty with Israel is signed. Israel is thrilled. At long last they feel secure." It's only a feeling though, because "The Great Whore of Rev. 17-18 by this time controls every nation on earth. The Jesuit general and the pope (the Beast and the False Prophet) now openly rule the world." So Chick is stating the Pope is only a False Prophet. The real "Beast" is his Jesuit general, a.k.a. "The Black pope." (He's been promoted!) But the pope appears to be the top dog in public because "the world faiths pull together, as one massive world religion is created during the Tribulation." And guess who's given the position as the spiritual leader of the world? That's right, Pope John Paul II. (And you thought he was too old. According to this, he has at least another 7 years left in him.)
Satan's spirit is shown taking over Kolvenbach. "Then Satan enters the Beast giving him tremendous power." This means Kolvenbach isn't the Beast yet, but will one day become him. (Maybe his family and friends will take consolation in knowing he's still human for now.)
Naming the Jesuit general as the Beast is a significant change for Chick, who previously quoted Alberto as saying that the final pope was the one who becomes possessed by Satan in the end times (The Four Horsemen, page 22). In that comic book, Chick also quoted famous Protestant patriarchs as stating the pope was the Anti-Christ (page 17), who is also the Beast (page 32). Ironically, he even refers readers to The Four Horsemen comic for more information on The Beast, even though it contradicts the identity of the Beast in the tract.
Bob continues his narration of the end times... The Beast defiles the Jewish Temple, has the ark destroyed and a statue made of himself. He proclaims himself as God. His statue comes alive and speaks, so that "many as would not worship the image.. should be killed." The giant image of Kolvenbach is rather amusing. He has one hand on his hip and the other making the goat-head symbol that heavy metal fans flash at concerts, when they extend their pinkie and index fingers. (See the cover to Angels?)
The pope orders everyone to receive the mark of The Beast. Those that do not, have their heads lopped off by guillotines and stuck on spikes for easy tasteful display. The executioner wears a priest collar and says, "C'mon! Lets get this over with. I don't want to miss my lunch!"
Angels are shown in heaven lining up to literally dump God's wrath on earth below. It looks like the wrath is stored in at least seven heavenly test tubes.
Meanwhile, it's hell on Earth. "One-third of the earth goes by fire. The sun scorches the multitudes. Water becomes undrinkable. Famine, death and wild beast are ever where." A panel shows lions, rats and flying scorpions attacking the hopeless sinners. Ten leaders rebel against the Beast and destroy the Vatican by fire. ("There is great rejoicing in heaven.") The Beast escapes to Jerusalem and commands his armies to destroy Israel. The Chinese march down the dried up river Euphrates. Jesus leads his army from heaven and defeats the bad guys at Armageddon. Pope John Paul II and Kolvenbach are shown being tossed into the lake of fire. The devil is judged along with the rest of the sinners.
Bob turns and warns readers that if they reject Jesus, they will probably take the mark of the Beast and wind up in the lake of fire. "THIS IS NO JOKE!," he admonishes. "This may be your last chance."
There are so many incredible images in this tract, selecting the best one is tough. There are cameos by the pope and his Jesuit general, plus wonderful battle field images, and so many others to chose from. But my choice for the Favorite Panel Award goes to the guillotine scene with all the severed heads neatly lined up in rows. The priest moonlighting as the executioner is icing on the cake.
Grade: A+ for Anti-Christ. Return to Main Tract Index.
"Busted!" Guest Review by Andie Kittab! (Art by Chick ©2003.) This is going to sound silly, but after Here He Comes! was released, I wondered if Jack Chick was going to write any more tracts. With the completion of his Bible Tract Series and his long awaited movie scheduled for release this October (2003), Jack certainly could have gone out on a high note and retired to Florida to bask in the sun and wait for the Rapture to hit. But I guess Jack isn't one to rest on his laurels because he's back and better than well, he's back with Busted!
In fairness, any tract would have paled in comparison with Jack's last masterpiece. I mean, "Here He Comes!" had the Four Horsemen of the Apocalypse, a Catholic Anti-Christ, decapitated saints, and Tribulations galore. Busted! is a considerably simpler tale starring Doug, the womanizing, drug-using partier who would be governor, and Charlie, a Wilford Brimley look-alike trying to show Doug the light before it's too late.
The tract opens with the police arresting a hooligan named Tony for an unspecified crime. Tony's future looks pretty bleak. Not only is he flat broke, but his court appointed attorney warns him that the prosecutor is the Douglas Roberts, who's the best.
Cut to the office of Doug Roberts, Esquire, who predicts, "I'll win this case, and soon I'll be moving into the governor's chair!" Funny how he didn't mention anything about an election process. Maybe he's related to George Bush. In fact, Doug mentions later that he would do anything to become governor, even "lie, cheat, and steal." Regardless, Doug doesn't care whether the "piece of trash" he's prosecuting is innocent or not, he just wants to use "all the evidence stacked against him" to win his case. Doug's assistant Charlie replies, "That's exactly what's happening to you, Doug. The evidence is piling up." And we're off and running.
The verbal sparring that commences between unsaved Doug and pious Charlie isn't anything we haven't seen in Chickland before: You're going to hell because you broke God's laws. No I'm not, because God loves me. Yes you are, because the Bible says so here, here, and here. Well if I'm going to hell than so are you. No I'm not, because I love Jesus. Jesus was just a man. No, Jesus is God. Etc, etc, etc
Finally, Doug is convinced that he is guilty and that he needs to repent to be saved. But will he do it? Here's where I have a bit of a bone to pick with Jack Chick. When I wrote a review for God With Us, I pointed out how sinners in Chick tracts accept everything that the Christians tell them at face value. I finished my diatribe with this: "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.'"
Now here's a quote from Doug explaining to Charlie why he doesn't want to repent: "You've put me between a rock and a hard place, Charlie. I know I'm guilty, but my political career is at stake."
Then: "To tell you the truth, I like sinning. And I don't want to give it up." Sound familiar? Huh? Huh? YOU OWE ME MONEY, MR. CHICK!!!!!
Ahem. I'm just kidding, of course. I'm not narcissistic enough to believe that THE Jack Chick found something that I wrote cool enough to appropriate it for one of his tracts. Still, a writer can dream, can't she?
Charlie makes one more attempt to convince Doug to repent: "But what if you should die tonight?" Doug replies, "That's a chance I'll have to take. Tell you what. When I'm governor I'll become a Christian." Smooth move, genius; saying, "I can't do it now, but I'll repent later" in a Chick tract is like saying, "I'll be right back" in a horror movie. I mean, come on Doug, Death is standing right there! You might as well have shot yourself on the spot.
Not to worry, though, a carjacker takes care of that little detail as Doug walks through the parking lot. We're treated to some character swearing as a scruffy bum puts a gun to Doug's head and growls, "Give me the @!!!**! keys now or you're dead." And here we learn that Doug wouldn't really do anything to become governor. Oh sure, he'd lie, cheat, steal, and reject Jesus Christ's gift of eternal life, but he ain't giving up his car. Doug gets shot, the thief drives away, and Death stands over Doug's corpse snickering, "Gotcha!" And Doug's soul takes the elevator down to the bottom floor where it's nice and toasty.
But don't worry; Charlie's evangelizing wasn't a complete failure. It turns out that Doug's secretary Gloria was listening to Doug and Charlie's conversation. In fact, Doug offered to drive her to court before he left, but Gloria declined because she had work to finish. There's a priceless look of terror on her face as she trembles and shrieks, "He's dead. DEAD! And I could have been with him, Charlie!" Gloria's no dummy, and she doesn't have any ambitions about becoming governor either (I guess this story doesn't take place in California). She prays the sinner's prayer and gets saved.
Although the image of Gloria freaking out is pretty cool, the Favorite Panel Award goes to the second Panel on Page 8. A tiny Doug Rogers is brought before Faceless God. In addition to two gigantic stone tablets engraved with the Ten Commandments, there are three enormous stacks of paper, each with it's own label: LIES, CHEATING, and STEALING. Faceless God finds Doug guilty of breaking His law and sentences him to the Lake of Fire forever. It's an interesting deviation from other tracts where the sinner's life is played back for him on a movie screen. I guess the angels ran out of 8mm tapes by the time they got to Doug and just decided to bury him in paperwork.
As fun as it was to write this review, this isn't my favorite Chick tract. We don't get to see any of Doug's sinning, just hear about it. With the exception of the car jacking and a few recycled pictures of Jesus's birth and Crucifixion, there isn't a great deal of action, either; just two guys talking in an office. And Busted! doesn't really deal with a specific subject; it's just about the importance of repentance in general. The closest thing to a central subject in this tract is the Ten Commandments, and that subject's been handled much better in previous tracts (like Sin Busters and It's The Law). I'm going to give this tract a C+ for Carjacked. See another review of this tract or else return to Main Tracts Index.
"THE SKYLIGHTER" Guest Review By Saint Nate (Art by Chick ©2003) This tract sports what is far and away one of the most misleading covers. It consists of a little boy holding two sparklers next to the words, "The Skylighter." Aw, how cute! This has to be one where Chick reveals how the Fourth Of July is nothing but a Catholic plot to create so much noise that no one notices them shooting KJV Bible readers over the bombs bursting in air. That's what I hoped for, but it's not what I got.
This story begins ... well, at the beginning. The main character is born and, since his mother died in labor, his grandmother names him Abdulla and says she'll raise him as her own. She predicts the baby will light up the sky and, when he does, it'll be free candy for the whole neighborhood. She doesn't mention that all the other kids are also training to be suicide bombers, so apparently the candy is for adults.
Four years pass. The boy is indoctrinated to fight in the jihad by his grandmother and also a portly mullah who preaches in front of a portrait of Yassir Arafat. The mullah explains how the greatest thing in the world is to be a suicide bomber. Abdulla and his classmates listen with pie-eyed wonder as they hear how they'll spend eternity in a palace with 70 houses and 70 virgins while being as strong as a hundred men. These kids are a lot smarter than the little punks from God With Us. No one has to tell them what a virgin is, no-siree!
Abdulla receives his real education, though, from his thought-to-dead-but-really-born-again pal Yusuf. Unfortunately, what Yusuf reveals is the exact same dogma we heard in Who Cares?: Prophets can never lie; Jesus is a prophet; therefore, if Jesus says he is the Son of God, you can bet your bottom sand-dollar he ain't lying. And Allah isn't God 'cause Allah Had No Son. Oh, and Muhammad never rose from the dead. Stop me if you heard that one before. Unfortunately, grandma interrupts the deprogramming session and chases Yusuf away (along with any hope of Abdulla's salvation). Abdulla "caves into pressure" and goes out with a "KA BLAM!" He takes a haggard Oliver Hardy clone, a Jackie O. impersonator, and at least one redneck with him. What happens to them is unknown, but clearly, God looks as angry as a faceless God can get at our little firecracker.
Favorite Panel Award goes to page 8a, where the mullah grips a rail while screaming about 70 virgins. The best thing about this is that you can look at this panel in other languages to see what those who never "got any" are called in Spanish (virgines) German (jungfrauen) and Dutch (maagden). Hey, why isn't this tract available in any Arabic languages? How are kids like Abdulla supposed to read this thing? Rating: B for Bombastic. Return to Main Tracts Index.
"Lil' Susy" Guest Review by Elaine Gregory! (Art by Carter © 2003.) After devoting many years to finishing the 360+ paintings in The Light of the World movie, this is the first new tract art by Fred Carter since 1994 (when he drew Allah Had No Son.) Lil' Susy and Cathy are waiting to be picked up after school. As they wait, the girls talk about their families. Cathy's dad had left them for another woman, and both of Susy's parents have shuffled off this mortal coil (presumably to meet with the light-bulb-headed God). As is typical with a Chick-Christian, though Susy is orphaned and being cared for by her grandpa, she's okay, because she has a NEW daddy, Jesus. Susy then tells Cathy how SHE can have a new daddy, too (Or at least share Susy's new daddy.) Susy tells Cathy the story of the Nativity, Jesus's ministry, the Crucifixion and the Resurrection. Cathy decides that she wants to be part of Jesus's family and prays the Sinner's prayer and all is well. All of Cathy's previous tears and very real (and justifiable) anger are replaced by joy as she embraces Susy as her new sister. Though Jack Chick himself looks down on what he calls "The Love Gospel," it occurs to me that if ol' Jack really wanted to win more souls, he could do it more effectively with this sort of tract than the inflammatory stuff he usually peddles, but hey that's just me!
This is a great tract, with beautiful line art and a nice story for a change. Grade this tract "A" for "Awwwww!" Return to Main Tracts Index.
"Apes, Lies and Ms. Henn" Guest Review by Emby Quinn (Art by Carter ©2004.) Here we go again, this time with the basic "Big Daddy?" tract premise rewritten from the perspective of a grade school girl who just happens to be a faithful Christian (Chick style). Li'l Susy, the star of Jack's previous tract, is shown on the cover dressed for school, walking away from a chagrined-looking ape-man (or maybe it's an ape-boy), holding her hand up in dismissive denial. The story opens in a classroom as their new teacher, the hatchet-faced Ms. Henn, is introduced. "We're going to be great friends", she says to the class, "and you'll meet many of MY close friends, too." Uh-oh. Maybe it's just me, but somehow if Ms. Henn turns out to be a "practicing witch" in a future tract, I won't be in the least surprised--all this chica needs is a black pointy hat and a broom and she could be one of the teachers at Hogwarts. Anyway, back to the tract at hand. By Page 3 there can no longer be any doubt that Ms. Henn is Not A Good Christian Lady--the twisted smirk and sinister leer would speak volumes, even without her ominous statement "We're going to have such FUN together!...As long as you do what I say!" (All that's missing is her going "HAW-HAW!".) She spends the next three panels detailing how far humanity has come since we evolved from apes over "millions of years", and when a wide-eyed innocent asks her "Did we REALLY come from monkeys?" she answers with enthusiasm "Yes, scientists have PROVEN it!" Being a good little Chick heroine, Susy tells her classmate Timmy "That's a lie!" (I guess the Bible doesn't say anything about not talking out of turn in class.) Ms. Henn's hatchet-sharp ears pick up the comment (which, upon observation, doesn't seem to be exactly spoken in a whisper) and singles Susy out at once, brandishing her pointer-stick threateningly in the girl's face. "Are you calling me a liar?" Ms. Henn demands, to which spunky Susy replies "No, ma'am, you're calling GOD a liar!" Ms. Henn responds by dragging her out into the hall and browbeating the child for embarrassing her in front of the class. "You are in DEEP TROUBLE, young lady! And I never forgive and forget!" she shrieks. She orders Susy to keep her mouth shut, and the very next panel we see Ms. Henn with a saccharine smile on her face and her talon-like hands on Susy's shoulders, telling the class it was all "just a LITTLE misunderstanding...RIGHT, Susy?" Poor li'l Susy, looking as though she's been beaten with Ms. Henn's pointer stick, murmurs, "OK, Ms. Henn." As Ms. Henn regales the awestruck class with tales of dinosaurs ruling the earth, being destroyed by a comet and eventually evolving into birds, Susy agonizes "Oh, Lord, she's LYING! What can I DO?" Well, Susy girl, you can do what any good Chick protagonist does--preach to the very next person who speaks to you. After class, Timmy, the boy Susy spoke to in class, comes up to her and, sure enough, asks her why she said Ms. Henn called God a liar. Now, what Chick character could resist an opening line like that? She spends the next 11 pages telling Chick's interpretation of the creation story. Well, actually, she only spends a few panels on the subject of creation. The other 9 pages are devoted to telling Timmy about Jesus dying for our sins--which is, after all, the important message in every Chick tract. Timmy accepts Jesus (yay) and Susy is glad because "the old devil" won't get him now...but she's still worried about the new teacher. "Ms. Henn doesn't believe in Jesus," she tells Timmy. "SHE'S WRONG! But she's our teacher and we have to respect her...we must love her and pray for her." Mm, what's that I smell? Probably "the old devil" stoking the furnaces in preparation for Ms. Henn's arrival. Who knows, maybe Jack will surprise us and actually have Ms. Henn see the error of her ways and be saved in a future tract...but I doubt it. Fred Carter's art style is similar to what he used in LI'L SUSY, with beautiful clean lines. It's a fun read, but it definitely feels like a "latest in a series, watch for the next issue" sort of tract. Grade: "A" for Ape Antics. Return to Main Tracts Index.
"The Birds And The Bees" Guest Review by Emby Quinn! (Art by Carter ©2004.)
This tract is, to the best of my knowledge, the first anti-gay message Jack Chick has aimed specifically at grade-school-age children. This tract starts out with Ms. Henn, the evil teacher from APES, LIES AND MS. HENN, introducing some of the "special friends" she mentioned in the previous tract--two dentists who happen to be a couple. The catch is that they're both--gahsp--MEN! Larry introduces his partner Charles as "my wife" while the (presumably) invisible devils crawling all over them like cockroaches reach out for each other suggestively. When a boy asks if they're "queer", Ms. Henn goes postal on him and demands he apologize lest he go to the principal. She tells him that his father, who told him it was wrong, is a dangerous man, and the happy-huggy homos declare that all those "evil and intolerant" people (which, according to Jack's footnote, means ANYONE who refuses to support "Gays") will all be imprisoned "if we get OUR way." After class, some kids are walking out of the school, and they're clustering around the one who obviously has all the answers--the star of our tract, Li'l Susy. They start asking her questions and she tells them that her grandfather told her to say nothing until she was off the school grounds. Once safely on the public sidewalk, she naturally refutes everything Ms. Henn said about the male/male couple being "blessed by God". (One interesting note here; throughout the entire tract "Gay" is capitalized. I wonder why? Chick never capitalizes satan.) She tells them that "God HATES homosexuality and he warns us in the Bible to STAY AWAY FROM IT!" She goes on to explain that once the Bible was taught in school and children learned about Heaven and Hell, but now the Bible isn't allowed in schools and kids grow up not knowing they're going to be cast in a lake of fire. Frankie, the boy who called the dentists "Queer", exclaims "WHAT??? ...why hasn't anybody TOLD us about that?"
Because, Frankie, that's why God made Li'l Susy and Chick tracts. She recites Jack T. Chick Witness Testimony (The Short Form) about God sending His only Son, Jesus' sacrifice and how to pray to be saved, and all three kids get saved. Gee, and it's only page 15! Are we ending this tract eight pages early?
No such luck.
Li'l Susy goes on to explain precisely WHY homosexuality is a sin, why God hates it, and why Ms. Henn's happy huggy homo buddies are going to burn in the lake of fire for all eternity. She tells a very toned-down version of the story of Sodom, minus the explicit descriptions of earlier tracts like DOOM TOWN and THE GAY BLADE. This is, after all, for kids Susy's age. The worst we hear is that the Sodomites (who were all devil-posessed Satan worshippers) wanted to do "nasty things" to the angels God sent to Lot. But the angels blinded them and rescued Lot and his family before burning the city and everyone in it to ashes. (The rather salty fate of Lot's unfortunate wife is also omitted, probably because it's not relevant.) "Today those SAME kind of people are back, only they're called GAYS!" Susy announces to gasps of shock. When asked why Ms. Henn brought them into class, she says that Ms. Henn had to because of the new laws. "Satan wants to DESTROY us kids," she says. Then, with a very sinister look on her cherubic face, she says "But God STILL says being Gay is an ABOMINATION!" The footnote quotes the infamous Leviticus verse about the subject: "Thou shalt not lie (make love) with mankind as with womankind; it is abomination." She feels so sad for all those poor kids tricked into believing it's okay to be Gay and not believe in Jesus, because their names won't be in the Book of Life. And if you get laughed at for believing in Jesus and serving the Lord, it's okay, because when He comes back in His glory all the good Chick Christians will have the last laugh on all those poor sinners burning in the lake of fire.
Whoa, Susy looks pretty sinister in that next-to-last panel, too.
My take on this? As always, Jack's message is heartfelt and sincere, and he's doing his best to show us what's really going on from his point of view. My problem lies with the suppositions he makes that all homosexuals are demon-posessed Satan-worshippers and that all gay people are somehow conspiring against the decent straight people of the world to turn all their children queer. Not that these theories are anything new, but they make no more sense now than they did in the 1980s. Denouncing the homosexual lifestyle as a sin is one thing, but calling it a conspiracy of Illuminati proportions is a bit much. I almost expect Jack to devote a future tract to denouncing gay marriage as a covert Catholic agenda. Grade: C+ for Conspiracy theory. Return to Main Index.
"Unloved" Guest Review by Emby Quinn!
This tract was drawn by Chick himself (©2004) and describes the life of a born loser. Jimmy and Nancy are siblings, and while Nancy is a straight-A student who can do no wrong, Jimmy gets bad grades, gets beaten up by classmates, is bad at sports, and is constantly being ridiculed and criticized by his parents. His father doesn't even attend Jimmy's high school graduation. Big sister Nancy gets a scholarship and becomes a successful lawyer, making partner after winning her first big case. Jimmy struggles to find work, only to be laid off when the company goes bankrupt.
The pages progress in an established pattern, showing Nancy's stunning victories in one panel and Jimmy's shattering losses in the other. Nancy marries a senator; Jimmy marries for love. Nancy has adorable twin girls who look just like her; Jimmy's wife has three children from another marriage, and one of those kids ends up in jail for dealing drugs. Nancy has dinner with the President; Jimmy's wife takes his money and leaves town with her new boyfriend after suing him for divorce. When Jimmy turns to his parents for help, they not only refuse him, they disown him and kick him out of their house. Jimmy's on a bridge, about to end it all, when a friend of his comes running up screaming "NO! Don't jump!" ...At least, I suppose it's a friend, since he calls Jimmy by name, although the friend himself is never named.
Jimmy sees no alternative other than suicide to end his suffering. "I'm UNWANTED, UNLOVED, DISOWNED...and the doctor says I'm dying of CANCER!" (This poor guy just can't catch a break, can he?) "I'm a complete FAILURE! If there's a God, he'll probably send me to hell." In a flash of commendable insight, Maybe-Friend Dude realizes that the normal Chick spiel of "You're damned and going to hell unless you do what I tell you" might not be the best thing to tell a lonely, desperate, dying man who is literally teetering on the brink of suicide. Instead, he tells Jimmy that God understands what he's going through. "How could God understand? He's NEVER been a man!" Of course he has, and the unnamed witness begins to tell the story. Jimmy mutters "This better be good or I'm going to jump." (I must admit I got a giggle out of that.) The witness briefly outlines Jesus' sacrifice for the world's sins, paying special attention to the tortures he endured for everyone's sake, including Jimmy's. Jimmy is reduced to tears. "I was wrong (sniff). I AM loved! If Jesus did all that for ME, what can I do for HIM?" "Nothing," the witness replies gently, "simply TRUST him, Jimmy." Jimmy accepts Christ, and the witness tells him of the wonders and glories that await him in Heaven. Four months later Jimmy dies, and Faceless God welcomes him into Heaven.
I found this tract to be astonishingly compassionate; the only mention of damnation other than Jimmy's suicidal declaration is on Page 20, where Revelations 20:15 is quoted ("And whosoever was not found written in the book of life was cast into the lake of fire"). Admirable restraint from ol' Fire-and-Brimstone Jack, I thought.
No mention is made of any religious beliefs, or lack thereof, with regard to Nancy or Jimmy's parents, so we don't know anything about the state of their souls...but I get the feeling that darling Nancy and her folks had better stock up on asbestos underwear.
Finally, what review of a Chick-drawn tract would be complete without a Fang sighting? He's on Page 4, panel 1, barking furiously at Jimmy and his dad as they leave the ballpark after the losing game. Grade: A for Awwwww (sniff). Return to Main Index.
"THE PEACE MAKER" Guest Review by Joe! (Art by Carter ©2004.) The proselytizers in Chick's comics have no sense of timing. The obliviousness they demonstrate by preaching to, say, someone crying as an ambulance carries the corpse of a close friend away, or when a fundamentalist doctor who's just told a patient that she's HIV-positive reaches for a religious tract instead of writing a prescription, boggles the mind. It's part of what makes Chick's comics ripe for the critical backlash he's been fending off for decades.
A good example of this sort of thing can be found in the opening panels of The Peace Maker. A strapping, brawny man's man of a police officer named Carter (who's Black, as is the artist, Fred Carter) is shown interviewing a witness at the scene of a multiple homicide. Instead of interviewing him to find out whodunit, as readers familiar with the "real world" might expect, Carter has a different goal. He wants to know if the pony-tailed junk-fiend who witnessed the crime (trembling behind a closed door at the time) is born-again and whether he'll be heaven- or hell-bound after he's inevitably shot in the back of the head, execution-style, any day now. Carter says with utter confidence that the dead drug-dealers whose bodies litter the scene are going to hell, so apparently he'd been tracking their spiritual development as well. The junkie quickly converts, as do all of Chick's straw-man disbelievers, after about five minutes of empty fundamentalist rhetoric. Carter can comfortably leave him when his radio dispatches news of a downed officer elsewhere in the city. (Carter never really gets much info out of the witness regarding the murders, but, hey, they're dead and burning in hell, so what are ya' gonna do?)
It's obvious that Carter's partner (a honky, by the way) doesn't cotton to Carter's unorthodox methods of policing. "He's a 'deacon,' whatever that is," he grumbles to a bystander. Strained relations notwithstanding, the pair arrives at a particularly unpleasant part of town to find a fellow officer beaten within an inch of his life. Carter strides with confidence through the crowd of grimacing, weapon-wielding homeys and scoops up the broken man into his muscle-bound arms. Meanwhile, his partner bitches and moans about where Carter's God is (instead of wondering where backup is, like most cops in a near race-riot situation would). Things go from bad to worse when gangsta' "Ice Man" approaches our hero, brandishing a hunting knife. "I'm gonna' make you disappear and feed you to the dogs," he warns the cop, forgetting who has the gun. It's a rather nonsensical threat as threats go, so everyone is just sort of standing around, trying to decipher Ice Man's koan-like promise, when an old woman (looking like Mother Abigail from Stephen King's The Stand) waddles onto the scene. "Make way for Grandma!" someone announces.
Grandma must have made an example of someone in the past, because the sea of big, bad black dudes parts immediately. "Give me that knife right now!" she orders Ice. "This is God's man! It's a wonder you didn't get hit by lightening!" She further embarrasses the punk by calling him Junior, and recounting how his mother walked the streets as a hooker. Instead of crumpling her up into a ball and drop kicking her into the next zip code like you'd expect, Ice Man melts and sheepishly acquiesces. What follows are panels of awkward exposition regarding Carter's past. He was once a criminal who "hated White cops" until someone shot him six times in the back. You know how this works: once at death's door, Carter converted, recovered, and now serves as a shining symbol of all that is Good and Holy (even if he is a pretty lame police officer).
The story ends with everyone saved, as is the custom. Everyone, that is, except the unconscious, bleeding policeman. He seems pretty much forgotten about. Oops! Let's hope The Deacon remembered to radio an ambulance!
Grade: B- for Black on Black violence! Return to Main Index.
"The Chaplain" Guest Review by Rev. Richard Lee! (Art by Chick, 2006.) This is now among my favorite Chick Tracts yet. "The Chaplain" is the first tract from JTC in 2006, and he wasted no time in posting it on the internet on the first day of the New Year. The title is for the character of the military chaplain in this tract.
This tract is comparable to "Holy Joe" initially published in the early 1970's, but now the military enemy are Muslims, not the Viet Cong. The token Christian ridiculed for his Christian faith is called "Preacher," who prays for divine intervention to thwart the enemy during a military fight. This much-needed update of Christian witness among the military is timely in an age of ecumenism and over tolerance of non Christian faiths.
During the fight, Preacher prays for help "in Jesus' name," a bold move on the part of the soldier since praying in the name of Jesus is a P.C. "no-no" in a contemporary military where religious diversity and tolerance do not allow such faith-specific prayers. At least he won't live to see his Court Martial...but I've given away too much too soon.
Preacher witnesses to a soldier named Benny, who attributes a storm which keeps the Muslims at bay as a freak storm of nature, rather than attributing it to an answer to prayer. A soldier named Max is killed, presumably shot in the throat (or maybe sliced in the throat, we don't know).
"Is Max in heaven Preacher?" Benny inquires. "No, Benny...He died in his sins and Jesus will reject him."
"How come?" Benny asks. Well, because he asked...read on.
The Preacher asks Benny what he knows about Jesus. "Uh... He was a Jew some guys killed on a cross cuz he wrote the Bible," Benny says. Interestingly, Benny's comments reflect contemporary biblical illiteracy, not lost on Chick. Benny continues, "A guy on TV said that Jesus was only a man." "That's a lie, Benny. Jesus is God Almighty. He knows everything you've ever done," Preacher counters with the obligatory asterisk* leading the reader to Bible citations.
"You're scaring me, Preacher..." Benny responds. Shades of "Holy Joe," updated for the post modern biblically illiterate Gen X and Y'ers in comic tract land.
After giving Benny the lowdown on sins putting him into Hell for all eternity, Benny asks, "Does that mean I'm damned?"
Duh, Benny. That's what the Preacher JUST FREAKIN' TOLD YOU, MUSCLEHEAD!
Meanwhile, a snotty chaplain from Chaplain's Headquarters is on his way to the combat location where Preacher and his company are. This is a REAL chaplain, mind you, one from a theological seminary.
During the combat, the Enemy succeeds in breaking through the soldiers' left flank. A grenade is tossed into their midst. Our Preacher, in self sacrificing fashion, jumps right on top of the grenade to save Benny from dying in his sins, because "I couldn't let you die, Benny. You're not ready...Uhhh..." I'm not sure how Preacher could communicate this to Benny after having jumped RIGHT ON TOP OF A GRENADE WHEN IT EXPLODES, FOR CRIPE'S SAKES!!!
Anyway, postmortem conversation glitches aside, Benny meets the new chaplain assigned to this post. "Chaplain...My best friend fell on a grenade to save us," Benny says to the chaplain. "That was indeed a noble gesture," the chaplain says. All who've read Chickville know where this is going.
"He was a great guy, never swore or lied. We called him 'Preacher,'" Benny offers in defense of his deceased benefactor. "Was he ordained?" Chaplain Snotty asks. "What's that?" nonreligious, uninitiated Benny inquires. "Did he graduate from a theological seminary? Could he read Greek? Or have a doctorate in divinity?" The elitist chaplain asks. Of course, technically one can be an ordained clergy person without having gone to a seminary, but that's besides the point. Chick's use of the class conflict and elitist/commoner dichotomy has been seen before most notably in "Reverend Wonderful" and "The Letter" (both reviewed by this reviewer!). This classiest issue is wonderfully used here. Of course, it DOES take all of that training to be an endorsed chaplain in the military or a hospital setting. (Ye olde trusty reviewer was a theological seminary trained chaplain, sans the fatigues).
As most elitist educated chaplains would have you the reader know, there are MANY ways to God. A mere lowly fundamentalist like Preacher was a wannabe preacher, unlike our chaplain in this story, who was a REAL member of the clergy. Educated elitist bastard.
After Benny says the Sinner's Prayer, Jesus comes into his heart, and pray tell, he has to tell someone! He notifies the chaplain that he got SAVED! Gasp! "You sick idiot...You didn't listen to me. Now you've become a religious terrorist and a threat to everyone...Stay away from me!" Gotta love this, Chick is reliable in never resisting the urge to show the pomposity of liberal mainline educated clergy for the ecumenical know-it-all arses they really are! Of course, the Muslims in the beginning of this tract aren't the terrorists. Only born again fundamentalist Christians are! This chaplain must be a member of the ACLU....
The chaplain resists sitting with the newly born again Benny, and gripes that he doesn't get the respect he deserves after years of studying theology and publishing papers in leading journals. All of a sudden, they hit a land mine! KABOOM! Not PLUWEY, not KABAM, but KABOOM! I almost can see Adam West and Burt Ward dancing the Bat Tusi while bopping Joker and Penguin...
Wrapping things up, Faceless God allows Benny to enter heaven, and sends the Chaplain into Lava Lake.
This is among the best tracts that underscores class envy and academic disparity perhaps better than "Reverend Wonderful" or "The Letter" ever did. This one is great, because Chick absolutely understands that many military chaplains are Universalists who reject the Bible's message of exclusive salvation through Jesus alone, and are often elitist snobs who are trained in theory and therapy, not in evangelism. "If you're like the Chaplain, you'll be with him to hear his screams." It's not clear if this is because the chaplain is in Hell, or because the chaplain had his rear end blown off just a few panels earlier. Then again, this could be a tag line for an upcoming Chick movie.
At least this tract wasn't named "The Pastor" or "The Evangelist" where the villain of the story was a pastor or evangelist. However, "The Chaplain" doesn't speak well for officially endorsed chaplains in the armed services in the world of Chickdom. If there was a religious office that is a mouthpiece for liberal Protestantism, the chaplaincy would be it.
If this tract isn't a disincentive to become a chaplain, then I don't know what would be, except the low pay. All that expensive seminary training for nothing. I hope he went to seminary on the GI Bill... Grade "C" for Chaplain! Return to Main Index.
NOTE: This tract features shading that was probably added by Fred Carter (using Photoshop) to Chick's illustrations. It (plus "The Star" and "Fame") may be the only collaborative tracts that the two worked on together. The result is certainly more professional, but at the same time, it takes away a little of the "Chick charm," as he otherwise cross-hatched his own backgrounds. Perhaps Chick agrees, as it's an experiment he discontinued after "Fame" was published. (Either that, or he wanted to free up Fred to work on more on other projects like The Crusaders Comics.)
"The Star" Guest review by "Terrible Tommy" Murray. (Art by Chick, 2006.)
(Ed. Note: Terrible Tommy is a Wiccan and absolutely hates what Chick stands for. We include his reviews, however, because you don't have to believe in Christ or any of Chick's views in order to enjoy his comics. Terrible Tommy HATES Chick's beliefs... and yet, he still reads and collects all his comics. Like the logo says, "Chick tracts get read!"
So be forewarned: If you're easily offended by angry anti-Christian rants, you should avoid this review. But if you enjoy seeing just how pissed Chick tracts can make the atheists, then fasten your seat belts and prepare for a bumpy ride!)
"The Star," is, to me, the MOST insulting of all of JTC's many tracts. Ultra-literalist Pope Jack Thomas has gone full-blown Independent Baptist in this tract. For those of you not in the know, Independent Baptists like "Dr." Kent Hovind, "Saint" Steven "the Nattering" Van Nattan (www.blessedquietness.com) and now, their Pope, Jack Thomas Chick are all officially INDEPENDENT Baptists; mainly because the Southern Baptists includes "Antichrist Patsy" Billy Graham and gave the green light to Baphomet-worshipping Masons. Meanwhile, across the isle, The Church of Satan has declared Chick to be "The TRUE False Prophet"--well, if Jack portrays the Jesuit General as the actual Antichrist, WTF? Hail Satan, Prabob, Cthulhu Fhtagn!!!)
Anyway, on to "The Star." One of the major tenants of many Independent Baptists is "separation of the colors begun at the Tower of Babel." Another, falling cheek-by-jowl with Creationism and "Noah's Flood," is the "natural inferiority" of the "Children of Ham, " a.k.a., African Americans. It is something of a miracle that Chick ISN'T preaching Geo-centrism or Anti-Semitism: Other far-right Christians believe "The Protocols of Zion" and other proto-nazi literature, all also proclaiming "I LOVE Jews! I believe everybody should own one!" Jack Chick constantly proclaims a similar "Love" of Catholics throughout his works.
Apparently, Jack has the same "Love" for "Coloreds." He takes offense at other Christians' White Supremism and Anti-Semitism, while pushing his own set of bigotries. Two of these seem to be class-hatred and a condescending sub-bigotry towards Black people. "The Star" is full of both.
Where to start, where to start? Well, the Amazing Chick and his Traveling Salvation Show really has an anti-rich man bias, almost worthy of His "Only God, Jesus" (another serious Independent vs. Southern Baptist issue.) If it's poor, humble, degraded, working at a minimum wage-and/or low-status job, or otherwise "poor in spirit," it must be holy. If it has bucks, if it is the SLIGHTEST bit egotistical, it's probably Hell-bound faster than a ghost train full of dead blues musicians.
Sidebar: Chick, ever the Anti-Pope Supreme, very early inserts his now-inescapable Anti-Catholic bling: A very fruity looking "Negro" priest declares that "Cardinal Rooney" (Micky?) has said mass for the main character in the story. Obviously, the uppity Negro has "gotten above" himself. It's isn't said, but it's implied, all through out this No-Pest-Strip-of-Christ.
As with many another hysterically-paranoiac Chick works, this tract is an entire cavalcade of caricatures: Starting with the name "Douglas Ford," who is a reincarnated version of Douglas Fairbanks; the fact that he is later dressed as a Shakespearian actor AND we first meet him just after meeting Father Black (obviously, a child-molesting queer) promising the pope $250,000 and agreeing to do both nude and sex scenes in his upcoming film reveals that Ford, like Fairbanks, is a libertine.
The REAL star of the show is a "good little born-again colored lady" (can I start screaming now?). She arrives to clean Mr. Ford's bathroom. The concept of allowing a mere child of Ham, who, according to TRUE Christian doctrine (as opposed to the Liberal Jesuit Baal worship Jack fights so bravely against), SHOULD be "a-washin' Massa's toe-lits and NOT a-steelin' Massa's chickens." They's ain't no count for nothing else: Genesis plainly says so. Freya forbid she should be a nurse or doctor, even an orderly. Can't have that, saith Massah White Jack.
Having insulted every good American's African ancestry---at least according to my Baal-and-Ishtar-worshiping Witchcraft---Jack continues with his parade of putdowns. I'm not sure WHO the Latino covering the news in panel one is, but his mention of "worldwide prayers" is a subtle stab in St. Peter's floating ribs: A Latino would obviously be, to a science-and-history buff like Chick or any hard-line Christian, a dirty Mary-worshipping Catholic. The wide-eyed fan who blocks "Black Daisy" on her way to wash Massah's "baff-room" is an obvious Chick caricature of a typical "lost" movie fan.
Let us not forget three other obvious lampoonings: The "Jew" doctor, giving a press conference, is a cut-out from a 1930's Anti-Jew rant from Der Sturmer. Behind him stands the spitting image of news-anchor Gwen Ifle, while the blonde "NBS" reporter in the following panel, with limpid eyes and limpid hair, HAS to be liberal Susan Estridge.
"Black Daisy," washing Ford's bathroom, overhears his dirty "sex" contracts and quotes herself a Bible verse. This is a favorite Christian tactic, taught very early and reinforced often: The quoting of one SINGLE verse to mentally rationalize, literally or figuratively, putting the hot irons to someone's feet: After all, they're going to burn forever anyway: What's a little suffering compared to that? Black Daisy's is Psalms 29:23, a quote against pride that ACTUALLY relates to King David's putdown on an enemy---but I digress.
Black Daisy, the humble maid, is not humble with her mental torture. She blasts Star-quality Douglas with the proverbial Scriptural Uzi. He asks if she wants an autograph, expecting star treatment. Instead, she blasts him for his dirty movies and calls him a "sinner." He quotes Cardinal Rooney that he is a good man. Daisy answers that he's not and the Catholics "just want your money," another under-arm dagger in Popey Dearest's side.
Having established that rich people are evil, Catholics are crooks and the only Good Negro is a humble Negro who avoids sins like dirty movies, rock music and the marrying of the "Pure Sons of Japheth," Jack's sciatica must have cleared up: He opts for a happy ending. Douglas dreams an unusually twisted version of "This Was Your Life," only here, the other dead souls, who apparently know him, mock poor doomed Doug as he waits for the light-bulb-headed version of Zeus-- I mean Jackhovah-- I mean JESUS to scream a verse from Matthew, then the angel-assisted plunge into The Abyss.
In the opening witness scenes, Douglas Ford panics and his blood pressure skyrockets; at first, he is very scared of Daisy (reflecting Chick's belief in his own mythology; that "the lost world" is afraid of the Gospel. [HA!]) Later, Daisy's comments about a Second Death, a subject THIS Baptist preacher's son certainly heard about, but of which, Mr. Ford is oblivious, continues to haunt Mr. Ford. Obviously, he's never been given a Chick tract, or he'd know this stuff.
Reality, as often happens, is MUCH different than Christianity in general or Chickworld (The Chickiverse?) in particular. Anybody with cable, indeed anyone not living in a cave has heard everybody's opinion on Jesus Christ; You can't get away from it! Christians, like good Party members in 1984, take pride in their willful ignorance of other folkways: So much so that "liberal" Christians (some on this very web-page) bemoan the "political correctness" that forces them to endure Hindus, Buddhists, Presbyterians and other Heathen. Jack takes it to such extremes that "The Star" has no chance of simply being a mere Gospel tract. No, if you do not see eye-to-eye with "God's Annoying Servant," you are obviously either a Catholic or a stupid nig---I mean, "Child of Ham."
Jack manages to cram ALL his "Pride and Prejudices" (pun firmly intended, Odin Damn you!) into one tract which appears to be thought up by a seven-year-old on nitrous oxide---or Pope Jack Thomas the First, St. Chick.
I almost wouldn't believe such non-sense if not for three solid, witnessed-by-me facts:
1.) An old, formerly-good friend who, freshly converted to INDEPENDENT Baptist, just had to come by and WITNESS, playing several recognizable Chick tricks while he was here. I cursed him by my Heathen Gods and told him if he ever came back, I'd cut off his *@##% and shove them up his &$$. What's noteworthy, though, is he preached MUCH MORE VEHEMENTLY to my Southern Baptist parents. They are much kinder than me and refrained from cursing the creature: But that waste of protoplasm proved to your intrepid writer that Chickology, which is a grab-bag of the superstitions of old Catholic Rome with NONE of the benefits, is alive and thriving, at a pandemic level.
2.) A trans-gendered Priest(ess), Sister T. J., in my home Wiccanish community, once wrote a funny letter to our local newspaper, making fun of the school prayer issue. Before long, said "queer effeminate" received a Chick tract from a local Independent Baptist preacher, along with a barely-literate letter expressing his opinions more fully. I won't reveal his name---us Witch Mason-supporters know how to keep secrets---but this "Biblical Scholar" simply could not resist writing in his own comments in Chick's Holy Word. The tract, "Creator or Liar" had turned Chick's blithering rant into a very Anti-Jewish comic. The letter stated "OF COURSE no dirty Jew should be allowed to pray---who'd do you think CRUSIFYED our Lord?" Several of the less-flattering Jew portraits, frowning Pharisees walked by preaching Jesus---or, as Screaming Boy Preacher put it (I kid you NOT) "Jesis,"---had pointing arrows and "By the JEWES!" penned in: Sort of a Nazi version of Brother Jed.
Perhaps the funniest misspelled add-on occurred at the picture of God and Satan standing before "Man," just as Pope Chick declares "And Man chose EVIL!" Rev. Stupid Ass had one of his arrow tags drawn, pointing at the dark, horned figure, with the word "SATIN!" Yes, I am not prevaricating: S-A-T-I-N, Satin. (But he totally forgot the demons "VELURE" and "VELLKROW.") Such total oblivious ranting, along with a letter made barely readable by bad spelling and worse grammar, proves what I've long known: Christianity is to intelligence as plutonium is to the human bloodstream. Case closed.
3.) Finally, as a long-time fan and collector of Chick tracts, I know that no less than 75% of my rather-respectable collection was found, given or forced upon me. Countries in Africa and Asia lack food, medicine and education, but are swimming in Chick tracts, so much so that a backlash to native faiths and other alternatives (including no little atheism) has been going on since the late 70's.
Finally, as a devout Voodruid, with African heritage (by way of my Confederate soldier grandpappy), I am appalled that no one else has noticed the inherent put-down to all non-whites in Chick's tracts, his efforts at egalitarianism and Pro-Semitism to the contrary. All his black caricatures are criminals and misfits, when they're not out and out devil-worshipers. Few, except Jim's girlfriend in "The Crusaders," have anything resembling a decent job OR education. Meanwhile, Jews are little more than fools, tremblingly avoiding the recitation of long-debunked "Messiah prophecies" supposedly fulfilled by Jesus. If you really believe that non-sense, I double-dare you to check out http://www.jesusneverexisted.com/closure.html) .
Grade Z-minus: More bigoted than advertised, too stupid AND too hard-hearted to realize it. Return to Main Index.
NOTE: This is another tractof Chick's that Fred Carter (probably) shaded using photoshop. (The others were " The Chaplain" and "Fame.") Chick returned to cross-hatching his own backgrounds after "Fame." Someone also used computers to shade the black characters in "Hard Times" (the negro version of "Somebody Loves You") but not any of the backgrounds.
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