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J.T.C. Museum of Fine Art REVIEW WING-6 1/2
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TRACT REVIEWS-6 1/2
All reviews are Copyright ©2005 by Monsterwax
"KIDNAPPED" Guest Review from Andie Kittab. (Art by Carter ©2004.) My favorite Chick tracts are the ones that literally cause my jaw to drop, where I have to read a panel two or three times in a row to convince myself that no, it's not my imagination, he really did just say that! Kidnapped is one such tract and I read it with the kind of horrified fascination I normally reserve for Fred Phelps and Ann Coulter. I'll be highlighting my favorite Points Of Interest (POIs) throughout this review. There are plenty of scene changes in this tract, so I'll try to be concise.
Kidnapped begins at the police station, where everyone's favorite Christian cop, Officer Carter, discusses a recent rash of kidnappings with an unnamed detective. All the victims were blond girls around ten years old. "This is a ring, Carter," the detective claims. "The request comes from, maybe, Saudi Arabia... describing what kind of child is wanted."
P.O.I #1: Some may think it's racist to fall back on the old stereotypes of Arabian sheiks kidnapping innocent white girls with which to stock their harems. As a woman of Arabic descent, however, I can tell you what my parents told me when I reached marrying age: forget about landing a man from the old country. Most Arabian men are not attracted to mature women of their own race, but rather yearn for underage, blond American booty, preferably unsaved. And if you've not yet detected the delicate aroma of sarcasm in the air, please stop by my house where I'll be more than happy to dislodge your head from elsewhere in your body.
Cut to Sunday morning, where little blond Holly brings little Donna to Sunday school so that Mrs. Comfort can teach Donna how to stay out of hell. You know the drill: we're all sinners, we need Jesus, picture of Jesus on the crucifix, I wanna be saved, sob sob sob, I'm so clean.
Cut to Officer Carter responding to a domestic disturbance at 2872 Fairview. Carter asks the Lord for help, arrives on the scene, and runs past a pack of scared kids to the address in question. Upon opening the door, Carter gasps, "I can't believe this!" Oh the suspense!
Cut back to Sunday School, where the action really starts to pick up. Class is over, and Mrs. Comfort asks little blond Holly if she'd like a ride home. "No thanks," says Holly, "I'll walk. It isn't that far." Apparently neither Mrs. Comfort nor Holly have heard about the Saudi Arabian slave ring. As Holly walks home through a wooded area, a sleazy looking man sporting the heavy brow and three-day beard growth of the damned scrutinizes the little girl from his car. "She's blond-and my next pigeon!" he thinks. "Soon you'll be going on a long trip, cutie..." This'll end well.
Back on 2872 Fairview, we find out what made Carter's eyes bug out on page 10: the domestic disturbance wasn't a man beating a woman, it was a woman beating a man! Shock! Horror! Preaching. Carter scolds the couple for fighting and says he doesn't see God in this house. "We drifted away from God and forgot Him," the abusive wife admits. "We replaced Him with our television set," adds the husband. (I knew that Best Buy had a reasonable return policy, but dang!)
And now, back to The Kidnapping of Holly on Chick TV. Creepy unshaved man pretends to search for a lost cat named Bubbles, and Holly falls for it, asking if he needs any help. Creepy Man gushes, "My daughter's cat got away. I've got to find her! She's got kittens and they need her. Want to see them?" Holly says yes. "They're in the trunk," replies Creepy Man.
"You drive around with kittens in the trunk of your car?" Holly shrieks. "What kind of sicko freak are you? Get away from me! Help! Police!" Just kidding, Holly doesn't suspect anything; that would be too plausible. Instead, she follows Creepy Man to his car, where he throws the little girl in his trunk and slams the lid shut. Looks like it's curtains for Holly... or is it?
Cut back to Office Carter, who's leaving the house of a hundred beatings. "I won't arrest you this time," he tells the couple, "But you've got to stop this violence. Understand?"
P.O.I #2: Most American police departments have policies that make it mandatory for the responding officer to make an arrest if s/he witnesses a suspect committing a domestic assault, even if the victim does not want to press charges. Now I don't mind minor or even moderate suspensions of belief in Chick tracts, that's part of their charm, but there's a difference between a tiny gap in reality and a gaping hole you could drive a truck through. If Carter's superior officer finds out about this violation of department policy, Carter might have to do his witnessing in the line at the Unemployment Office, if you catch my drift.
Meanwhile, in the trunk of Creepy Man's car, Holly prays, "Lord Jesus, what shall I do?" Jesus answers with a shaft of holy light and advice written in 16 pt Arial Black Font: "YELL AT HIM!" Holly lets Creepy Man have it. "JESUS SAW WHAT YOU DID! WHEN YOU DIE... HE'LL JUDGE YOU!" Creepy Man tells her to shut up, but Holly's got the Spirit, and you're gonna hear it! "GOD'S GOING TO GET YOU FOR THIS!"
Creepy Man is so unnerved by Holly's pointed jabs that he swerves over the double yellow line on the road, attracting the attention of-- you guess it-- Officer Carte. Super Cop pulls Creepy Man over. Holly tearfully asks Jesus what she should do now. "POUND ON THE TRUNK DOOR, HOLLY!" replies the well-lit, Arial Jesus.
Holly pounds, Carter hears her, and he orders Creepy Man to open the trunk. Creepy Man pulls the old, "Officer, I don't know how she got in there, honestly!" (By the way, that isn't sarcasm, it's a quote.) But Carter isn't fooled; he arrests Creepy Man, and he and Holly wax eloquent over how groovy God is for answering their prayers.
Which brings me to the apparent theme of Kidnapped and POI #3: God doesn't care if non-Christian children are kidnapped, raped, and brutalized by pedophiles for the rest of their lives. (At least, not as far as Chick is concerned.)
Am I being too harsh? Let me put it another way: in this tract, we got to hear about four other 10 year old girls who were kidnapped and never heard from again. Holly was a Christian, so not only did she know to ask Jesus for help, Jesus answered her prayer and rescued her. Based on the fact that the other girls weren't so lucky, I'm guessing that Jack Chick wants us to reach one or both of the following conclusions:
*Non-Christian children aren't smart enough to scream and make noise to attract attention when they're kidnapped; or else they prayed to a false god who was too stupid or mean to tell them to yell for help.
*If non-Christian children do try to scream for help when being kidnapped, Jesus won't lift a finger to help them because they either didn't ask Him for help or they asked the wrong god for help, and Jesus only helps children who ask for Him by name.
Was that a little more palatable? I didn't think so. This illustrates why I read Chick Tracts for entertainment and not for guidance. I detest it when people reduce God to an "IF-THEN-ELSE" equation, then scratch their heads when other people don't take them seriously.
I'm sorry to end this review on a downer. How about some awards to lighten the mood? Favorite Panel Award goes to Page 14, where the abusive wife kisses her beaten husband and says "Forgive me Harry." Harry, who's sporting a shiner and a huge bruise on his balding head, forgives his wife and calls her "Sweety Pie." Aw. It would be cuter if Harry didn't have John Wayne Gacy eyebrows and a creepy pretzel smile, but what are you going to do? Grade: A- for Arabian Perverts. Return to Main Index.
"THE DEVIL'S NIGHT" Guest Review by Emby Quinn! (Art by Carter © 2004)
The fourth in a series directed specifically at teaching children of elementary school age the Gospel according to Chick, featuring Li'l Susy, the scary-eyed, pony-tailed moppet first introduced in the eponymous tract LI'L SUSY. (Note that it's not "Susie", "Suzy", or even "Suzie", but "Susy".) This particular entry follows in the tradition of such Chick classics as BOO and THE TRICK in explaining the true origin and purpose of Halloween. Yeah, right. Anywho, we start out with one of Susy's little schoolmates, Buffy--who is, if anything, even more disturbing-looking than Susy is herself. Buffy's mom is really into the whole Halloween thing. "Oh, look, honey..." she gushes, pointing at a mannequin in a display window, "there's Dracula!" Buffy is less than impressed. "Ohhh...he's scary! I don't like this, Mom." Mom must have chosen that moment to give Buffy her daily Ritalin, because as they're driving home, Buffy is sitting in the passenger seat with a blissed-out expression on her face, holding a pumpkin the size of a Volvo in her lap, listening tranquilly while her mother continues to extol the virtues of the holiday. "Tomorrow we'll go buy you a spooky costume. I just LOVE Halloween, Buffy. It's my favorite holiday." Buffy, so terror-stricken in the last panel, hears this news and continues to stare off beatifically into space. She doesn't so much as think "But we're in a Chick tract, Mom--that means you're going to HELL!" She also looks about two years old in this panel, but that could just be Fred Carter struggling to maintain the "kiddie" look of the art style used in this series of tracts.
Next we see wicked old Ms. Henn in front of her grade school class, seemingly just as enthusiastic about Halloween as Buffy's mom. She instructs the class to draw Halloween-themed pictures. "And tomorrow you'll come to school in costumes." The kids are ecstatic, talking about what they'll dress up as--witches and werewolves, of course.
Well, almost all the kids are ecstatic. As Ms. Henn grouses to the principal, Mr. Harvey, "I've got a STONE in my shoe...and her name is LI'L SUSY!" Sure enough, Susy is talking to her grandfather about the next day at school. She stands before him, her pony-tailed head cocked at a saucy angle, her tiny fists planted firmly on her hips. "I WON'T dress up like a witch!" she fumes. Her one-eyed grandpa, ever the voice of reason, tells her that because Ms. Henn is "in authority", she must be obeyed...but "there's all kinds of costumes," he tells her. (I'm sure if he had more than one eye, he'd have winked.)
Next day, Ms. Henn is dressed as--wait for it--a witch. So is little Nancy Jones, looking like a smaller, cuter version of the teacher. But when Susy gets up to show off her costume, she's dressed as the Virgin Mary--no, wait, that would be Santa Claus. Ms. Henn, predictably, has a fit. "That's NOT a Halloween costume, Susy!" she shrieks. "I know," Susy smirks. "But it IS a costume!"
Later on, after class, Buffy (looking relatively normal once more) marvels at how mad Ms. Henn got at Susy over the whole costume issue. "That's cuz she knows I HATE Halloween," Susy retorts, tiny hands fisting at her sides. Buffy confides in Susy how much her mother loves the holiday, and that she watches all the vampire shows, too. "But it upsets me," she tells Susy. "I'm AFRAID of ugly things like ghosts, monsters, spiders, and Ms. Henn." Okay, I made that last bit up. "Why is Halloween like that, Susy?"
And we're off and running in the fifth. Susy explains how her grandfather told her about Halloween being the devil's night, how it started in Merrie Olde England as a pagan holiday, how "trick or treat" is a recreation of pagan priests going door to door and demanding sacrifices, and how the jack Allentown, "something like a pumpkin with a face on it", was left at the doors of those who had offered up a sacrifice. "I'm glad THAT doesn't go on anymore," Buffy sighs in relief. "But it DOES, Buffy," Susy intones darkly as she's buying an ice cream cone. Susy goes on to explain that animals, cats and dogs, are still scarifications how "[l]ots of kids disappear BEFORE Halloween", with all the sinister implications thereof. Yes, children, Satanism is alive and well and destroying America's youth, since teens everywhere are getting into both black and white witchcraft, "and both REALLY serve the devil," Susy says. We've only got nine pages left of the tract, so now, finally, Susy mentions Jesus. Buffy's never heard the name except when her mother uses it to cuss. We're treated to a three-page hyper-condensed version of Christian theology, from the expulsion of Lucifer and his rebels from Heaven to Adam and Eve getting kicked out of Eden to the Crucifixion. Buffy is enchanted and asks how she can get a ticket to Heaven. Susy tells her, Buffy gets saved, and everyone's happy--except now Buffy feels bad for all those other poor kids who celebrate Halloween. Susy tells Buffy the secret of witnessing to the kids who trick or treat on Halloween. Just fill up plastic Zip-Loc bags with candy, and sneak in a tract or two. It's just that easy!
One last interesting note--Buffy shows no concern whatsoever for her poor, presumably lost mother, who is so into the whole Halloween thing. I guess Buffy's content to let her go merrily to hell. That'll teach dear old Mom to make her kid watch DRACULA seventeen times! HAW HAW! This is a great tract, lots of fun, with the scariest aspects of Chick's Halloween conspiracy theories toned down so kids don't freak out TOO much. Grade: A for All Hallow's Eve. Return to Main Index.
"SQUATTERS" Guest Review by Emby Quinn! (Art by Chick © 2004)
The history of the Jewish people according to Chick. We start out with Abraham, whom God promised children as numerous as the stars in the sky. But Abraham and his wife Sarah were kind of long in the tooth, so Abe bedded his wife's Egyptian servant (talk about service!) who bore him a son called Ishmael. Skipping past all the unpleasantries which resulted from Abraham's sanctioned infidelity, we go straight to the birth of Isaac, who in turn sired two sons, Jacob and Esau. As we saw in THE SCOUNDREL, Jacob was no choirboy, but God loved him better than Esau anyway, and gave his family the Holy Land. Jacob had twelve sons, who became the ancestors of the twelve tribes of Israel.
God always loved the Jewish people, no matter how many times they ticked him off. They spent four centuries as slaves in Egypt before God sent Moses to lead them to the Promised Land. Were the Jews grateful? Of course not! All they did was complain, but God remained with them, empowering them to commit mass genocide in His name. But the peoples they exterminated worshiped idols, so it was okay. Joshua led them into the Promised Land, but after his death, God's chosen people stopped exterminating foreigners and began marrying into them instead. This was in direct disobedience of God's commands, but He still loved them. When they demanded a king, God gave them Saul. (And we see a panel from one of the Bible Series tracts, THE LAST JUDGE, where Saul is crowned King by Samuel.) Of course, we all know what happened to Saul (he became a spear cushion). After that particular fiasco, David ruled. He loved God and served Him. His son, Solomon, on the other hand, let his wives lead him into idolatry. (Well, hey, the man had hundreds of wives, he was bound to screw up somewhere.) After that, it all went downhill. God sent prophets to Israel and the Israelites killed them. God sent other nations against Israel to punish them for their rebellion-- and those nations were later destroyed for attacking Israel in the first place, even though it was God who sent them. (You're damned if you do, and damned if you don't).
My head's starting to hurt on one side.
Finally, John the Baptist came along, telling everyone the Messiah was coming, and so he did, in the form of Jesus. After a quick glimpse of the Crucifixion and Resurrection, we learn about Satan's creation of the Catholic "Church" and how the Vatican's primary target is-- guess what?--the Holy Land! To achieve their goal, the Catholics have slaughtered Jews (and Bible-believing Christians) throughout the centuries.
But... but the Inquisition was long before the King James Version of the Bible (the only acceptable version according to Chick) was even produced...
Great, now my head's starting to hurt on the other side, too. And we're only up to Page 15.
The rest of the tract relates how modern-day Israel is caught between the evil, Satan-controlled Vatican and those nasty, backstabbing Arabs (who follow Islam, which is also a Satanic plot, orchestrated by the Vatican...gee, I guess all roads really do lead to Rome). We then move forward in time to the Last Days, where all good Christians still alive on Earth are snatched up in the Rapture, and the world literally goes to hell. (Handbasket optional.) Eventually, of course, Christ returns in His glory, defeats Satan and his hordes in the Holy Land, and takes the throne of David. "God's chosen people are saved," the tract claims. So, uh, all Jews then become Christians? I'm confused. If they're going to be saved in the Second Coming, then why are we trying so hard to convert them to Christianity now? Or is that only for the Jews who are still alive after the Tribulation?
There's almost no dialogue in this tract, and even worse--I can't find Fang! Maybe someone with a better eyes can pick him out. Or maybe Jack thought this particular tract was too grim to lighten up with a Fang sighting. In any case, this tract is so crammed with historical details, it's about as entertaining as history class. (Can you spell zzzzzzzz?) So I'll give it the same grade my professor gave me: C for Can't Find Fang. Return to Main Index.
"THE LITTLE BRIDE" Guest Review by Emby Quinn! (Art by Carter © 2005)
With all the tensions between Islam and the Western world today, do we really need another anti-Islamic tract? Chick thinks so, and he's enlisted the aid of his latest super-witness, Li'l Susy, to spread the real truth about Islam. We see Susy's arch-nemesis, Ms. Henn, looking all prim and proper in the first panel as she reminds the kiddies to do their homework over the three-day holiday weekend. After school, two of Susy's friends, Becky and Tashana, come running over to her. They're all excited over this "really cute" boy they've met named Amir, who wants them to become Muslims. Back home, Susy asks her grandfather about Muslims and how her friends are thinking about converting. Grandpa asks Susy if she's told her little friends about Jesus. Gasp! Shock! She hasn't yet! And here I thought she must have witnessed to everyone in her ZIP Code by now. Grandpa tells Susy all about Islam, and the next day she shows up at Becky's house, where the girls are in the backyard talking to Amir and his sister, Safiya. Amir is teaching Becky and Tashana the words to become Muslims, but Susy stops them. "DON'T EVER SAY THOSE WORDS!" she screams, hand out thrust. Amir, who looked so cute in the previous two panels, gets all mean-faced and turns on Susy. "WHY DID YOU STOP THEM?" he demands. Susy begins asking him about the "Qu'ran" and the Hadith, and Amir is amazed she knows so much about his religion. Just as she's closing in for the kill about Mohammed being a prophet who never lied, Amir's mother shows up and says they're leaving for the airport, RIGHT NOW. Exit Amir and family, never to be seen again (until they join the rest of the Chick villains in hell).
Becky and Tashana are still gushing about cute Amir and the wonderful things he told him about Mohammed, but Li'l Susy soon sets them straight. Mohammed said Adam was 90 feet tall, and that MUST have been a lie! He also said Allah turned Jews into rats, pigs and monkeys. She goes on to tell Tashana that Mohammed had 16 wives and 2 slaves. Tashana, a girl of color, is obviously outraged that Mohammed owned slaves. (Actually, slavery was acceptable in many parts of the world as far back as recorded history goes--including in the Bible. The laws set down by Moses have whole passages on the buying, selling and treatment of slaves, but Li'l Susy doesn't go into any of that-- I wonder why? haw-haw!) It gets worse-- or better, depending in our sense of humor: Mohammed's youngest wife was just 8 years old when he married her! This makes the girls sick, and Li'l Susy denounces Mohammed as a pedophile.
Susy goes on to claim that Allah is the "Moon God" (See also ALLAH HAD NO SON and THE STORY TELLER). Having thoroughly debunked Islam, she launches into the story of Jesus, taking a swipe at the theory of evolution in the process ("Jesus created the universe in 6 days, NOT MILLIONS of years"). She relates how He became human, died for everyone's sins, and rose from the dead. "Over 500 people saw Him!" she claims. (And I'm sure in the past twenty years at least twice as many people have seen Elvis.) The only requirement for being saved from eternal damnation is to believe in Him (Jesus, not Elvis) and ask for forgiveness. She offers the girls a simple choice: "So do you want Mohammed or Jesus?" (One again, Chick snubs The King.)
The girls jump on the Jesus bandwagon and are saved. But Tashana feels sorry for all the poor lost Muslims who've been lied to. "We must pray for them," Susy tells her. The final message of the tract is a simple, dire warning: "Billions of souls will be lost on Judgment Day. Will you be one of them?" Pretty heavy stuff for kids Li'l Susy's age.
Now, personally, I haven't had anyone trying to convert me to Islam, but Jack must be genuinely concerned if he's willing to classify this as a threat on the level of witchcraft (THE DEVIL'S NIGHT), homosexuality (THE BIRDS AND THE BEES) and evolution (APES, LIES AND MS. HENN). Either that or he's running out of problems for pint-size Li'l Susy to tackle. What's next? Pokemon? Harry Potter? Mucha Lucha? The suspense is killing me. Grade: B for Baby Brides. Return to Main Index.
"SOMETHING IN COMMON?" Guest Review by Emby Quinn! (Art by Chick © 2005)
Rather than focusing on individuality or differences, this tract points out the things all people have in common--we eat, we sleep, we need shelter, we get sick, we grow old ("at least MOST of us", Jack points out wryly as an old geezer with a cane reaches out to grab his old lady), and we die. We all share the same parents--NOT monkeys, Jack is quick to point out, but Adam and Eve. They had a lot of kids, who all got wiped out in the Great Flood, except for Noah and his family--which means we all came out of the ark, despite our differences in coloration. Inside, we're all the same, with all the same emotions. Why do we all do bad things? Because we're all sinners, descended from the very first sinner, Adam. (Well, technically, Eve sinned first, but that distinction isn't made here.) Sinners can't get into Heaven, so we're all going to hell. So how do we get out of this mess? Well, a long time ago there was this virgin named Mary, who gave birth to a miracle baby named Jesus, who was really God. He grew up and ticked off a lot of religious leaders, so they crucified Him. He died, and rose from the dead three days later, and before He left for good, He promised to make a place for His followers in Heaven. But not everybody believed in Him.
Oops! We're not all alike anymore! Most people are still going to hell because they don't believe in Jesus. But anyone who changes their mind (before they die, of course) can get off the highway to hell and take the bypass to Heaven.
The last part of this tract is sort of like one of those old "Choose Your Own Adventure" books; we see Joe Average making the WRONG choice-- a sign marked "FORGET IT, IT'S ALL NONSENSE". The next panel warns sternly that if you reject Jesus, "You'll REMEMBER reading this little gospel tract...And you'll CURSE yourself throughout ALL ETERNITY for making the WRONG decision. Either way...you WILL bow down to Jesus." Then you get something that must be a first for a Chick tract-- a do-over! There are two little tick boxes like you get on most Page 23s, but these are marked "Heaven" and "Hell" with a big black arrow pointing at them marked "TRY AGAIN!" Gee, I wonder how many people would actually check "Hell" as a choice after all that.
All in all, it's awfully talky, with very little of the character interaction that usually makes Chick tracts so darn interesting. Grade: C for Commonality. Return to Main Index.
"THE WALL" Guest Review by Emby Quinn! (Art by Carter © 2005)
Wow, so Jack Chick is a NASCAR fan. Who knew?
In this tract we learn the life story of JJ Randall, a fictional race car driver who grew up riding with his granddaddy, a moonshiner, in the hills of eastern Tennessee. (Hey, he could be one of my relatives.) He loves fast cars, but he still finds time to listen to his Grandma's Bible teachings and he accepts Jesus as a young boy. When he grows up, he becomes a famous race car driver and changes his name to Dale Ernhart. Well, not really, but grown-up JJ sure LOOKS like the late, great Big E. Meanwhile, in Fresno, California, another driver, Jeff Gordon-- I mean, Kit Youn-- is racing go-carts at the tender age of 9. He is determined to take down "The Eliminator", aka JJ Randall. When Kit grows up, he becomes JJ's greatest rival. JJ, being a good Christian, is concerned for the state of Kit's soul, especially after JJ marries a beautiful Asian named Kim Lee (who lights candles to Buddha and believes in reincarnation).
After Kit's nasty crash on the speedway and close brush with death, JJ decides that it's time to witness to his colleague. Since he's the one who pulled Kit from the burning car before it exploded, Kit is receptive to JJ's hospital visit. Unlike most Chick Christians, JJ doesn't come on too strong at first. He gives only a veiled warning of his witnessing when he says, "When you're out...I need to talk to you. We're all PRAYING for you, Kid!" As JJ leaves, Kit's Buddha bride looks on in disdain. She thinks ruefully, "We don't NEED his prayers." She obviously doesn't care for the competition.
Four days later, Kit visits JJ at work while the grease monkeys tinker on cars around them. JJ recites the condensed version of the Jesus Story and urges Kit to accept Christ in order to avoid hell. Kit says he will think about it (which is usually a death sentence to any character in a Chick tract). Back home, Kit talks to his wife about it. The dragon woman angrily denounces JJ as intolerant and forces Kit to choose between their marriage or Jesus. Kit chooses Kim Lee and dies in the next race, ending up facing a very jealous Faceless God. "I died for you," FG snaps, "KIM LEE didn't!" He then banishes Jeff--err, Kit to the everlasting fires. One can presume he'll keep it warm for Kim Lee. HAW HAW!
This tract's a great read, and a must for NASCAR fans. Especially if you hate Jeff Gordon and/or really liked Dale Ernhart. Grade: A for "Absolutely Nothing!" (Which is what JJ tells Kit he needs to do in order to go to hell...) Return to Main Index.
What's Wrong With This? Guest review by Emby Quinn (Art by Chick 2005)
So much for a kinder, gentler Jack. Now he's not just picking on the Catholic Church in his latest tract; he's attacking all organized religions as tools of "that old devil!"
One might suppose that a working title for this tract was "What's Wrong With This Picture?", since it takes place in an art gallery and begins by focusing on a painting of a primitive man (who, we must remember, was not descended from apes!) worshiping a very funky-looking bird carved from a tree stump. This week's conversion candidate is a frumpy-looking middle-aged woman with a big hat and handbag. (Jack must not get out much. Does anyone really dress like that anymore?) She sees the painting and rails at the museum curator. "That's disgusting!" she rages. "He's worshiping a THING! That's blasphemy!" The curator calmly explains that the funky looking wooden bird is the caveman's god, which he prays to and asks for help. The woman counters with the argument that since man made it, it's just a thing and can't help him. "No one does that in the civilized world," she asserts.
Chick Christians, start your engines.
The curator launches into the story of Noah's flood, glossing over the gory (and waterlogged) details and going straight to post-Great Flood Babylon. Yep, it's our old friend Semiramis and her son and boy-toy, Nimrod, the same terrible twosome who feature in such time-honored tracts as WHY IS MARY CRYING?, MAN IN BLACK, and several other tracts with a strong anti-Catholic themes. (For those just joining us, Chick postulates that the legend of Semiramis and Nimrod was actually a plot by--who else?--Satan to confuse people about the divine birth of Christ, and is therefore the basis for the personage of the Blessed Virgin Mary in the Catholic Church.) Of course, God didn't like this one little bit, since He'd just flooded the world in order to stop all this "worshiping false gods" nonsense, so He gave Moses the Ten Commandments--the second of which "blasted the Queen of Heaven," according to the curator. You know the one: "Thou shalt not make unto thee any graven image, or any likeness of any thing that is in heaven above, or that is in the earth beneath, or that is in the water under the earth, or any black velvet paintings of Elvis..." (Okay, I made that last one up. But the point is, according to the curator, that you're not supposed to bow down to idols, statues, or paintings (especially velvet ones.))
All the rituals, symbols and dogma of the world's major organized religions can't save us. Only believing in Jesus and asking him to forgive our sins will get us into Heaven. The curator is very clear on the point that "religions and the devil" are working together to confuse people about what it takes to be saved. Jack doesn't differentiate here--he doesn't mention any religion by name (although we see clear visual references to Muslim, Buddhism, Hindu, and of course the Roman Catholic Church in the paintings in the gallery). At the end of the curator's explanation, a shame-faced dowager realizes she's made a terrible mistake and removes a rosary from her purse. Oops, she's a Catholic! The curator quickly assures her that the rosary is "simply religious junk" and tells her how to really be saved. She's down on her knees on the last page.
This tract isn't vitriolic or slavering, but its message is no less urgent: ANY religion that requires followers to pray to statues, recite prayers from memory, meditate on ideas, go through elaborate ceremonies or do good works is leading them astray. That's pretty much every organized religion on the planet, isn't it?
This tract ranks pretty high on the skeptical scale. It's hard to imagine any museum curator launching into a religious debate with his patrons (unless he's the curator of the Jack Chick Museum of Fine Art, haw-haw!) The Fang sighting is in a painting on Page 3. Maybe it's just me, but it looks like he's getting ready to bite the bird idol's tail feathers off. Grade: B for Blasting the Queen of Heaven...again.
Return to Main Tracts page.
THE MISSING DAY. Guest review by Emby Quinn (Art by Chick 2005)
Jack T. Chick addresses the secularization of Thanksgiving and makes some pretty strong statements along the way. The cover shows a startled and very nervous turkey looking off screen, presumably at an approaching hungry Pilgrim with an axe. The story itself begins with a middle-class extended American family gathering for Turkey Day (which is the same as Thanksgiving, as Chick quickly points out). The only Christian in the whole bunch is Uncle Mortimer, who is kind and gracious but only tolerated at the gathering because he's loaded. (HAW HAW!) When the kids start asking him about Thanksgiving, he offers to tell the story, and the lady of the house effusively agrees.
He tells the story most Americans have heard since childhood. You know the drill: The Pilgrims fled England on the Mayflower to escape religious persecution, founded a colony at Plymouth, endured a harsh winter, encountered friendly natives, learned how to grow crops in the new climate, and had a big feast to celebrate their first harvest. "Thanksgiving was once our most honored day," Uncle Mort explains, "but today it's a joke...we're not thankful for anything. And this offends God." His preaching gets on his family's nerves, but he persists, even through dinner, spoiling everyone's appetite except for young Brad, our Convert of the Week. (As unpleasant as this family is, I can't help but feel a little of their consternation when Uncle Mortimer grimly tells Brad, "Everybody here [at the dinner table] will burn in hell when they die." Way to make 'em thankful, Mort old bean!)
After hearing the crucifixion/resurrection story, Brad gets down on his knees in front of the whole family to recite the Sinner's Prayer and gets saved. The rest of the family--his parents, Grandma, his bratty cousins, his gay uncle--make fun of them and curse God, which of course delights the demons who hover invisibly around the living room with them.
At the end of the tract, instead of the Faceless God banishing the cursed into the lake of fire, we see Brad's naked family members falling down a rabbit hole and being herded through caverns into hell. "The only smart one in the whole bunch was the kid," the narration proclaims. "DO WHAT HE DID." Presumably little Brad and Uncle Mortimer met up with Faceless God, Jesus, and the pigeon--whoops, the Holy Spirit--and are now in Heaven celebrating Turkey Day with the founding fathers.
All in all, it's not a bad tract, but even I got tired of Mort's preaching after a while. It is nice to have something other than the usual Halloween-is-evil sort of tract come along at this time of the year, and the playful malice of the demons reminded me strongly of A Demon's Nightmare. Grade: B for Boat to America.
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THE DIRTY DIAMOND (Art by Carter ©2005). Guest Review by Emby Quinn
This tract is really a story in two acts. The first act actually has nothing to do with a Gospel message (but of course one's a-comin. This is, after all, a CHICK tract). The art style is similar to the caricaturist "cartoon" style that Carter utilizes in the Li'l Susy stories, although here the work is somewhat more detailed. The shading in particular is much more elaborate than anything in the tracts aimed specifically at children.
Anywho, on to the story. The neighborhood mailman knocks on the door of Charlie Petersen, an elderly resident in a quiet neighborhood. Receiving no response, he checks with Petersen's next door neighbors. The father, George (who looks like Bob Keeshan of Captain Kangaroo fame) and the son (who looks like a young Henry Thomas but is never named, so I'll just call him "Sonny") go next door and find Mr. Petersen in his backyard. Sonny thinks the man's dead, but George, checks his carotid pulse and finds out the old geezer is still alive. He sends Sonny to call an ambulance. Petersen has two broken legs, but three months later he's up and around with the use of a walker. George and Sonny welcome him home from the hospital with a store-bought cake (aww!). To show his gratitude, Mr. Petersen gives them a dirty-looking stone with a story behind it. His great-great-grandfather Jedidiah worked in a mine in South Africa, and while digging for stones Jedidiah's son Randolph got caught in a rockfall caused by an earthquake. Randy's hand broke out of the rocks, clutching the selfsame stone! It was too late to save him, but Jedidiah kept the stone his whole life to remind him of his dear dead son. He left it to his descendants with a request that it never be cut nor appraised. Charlie is the last of his family and is dying of inoperable cancer (he was diagnosed while in the hospital for his broken legs). He has no one to leave the dirty, uncut diamond to--so he gives it to George and Sonny to be appraised and sold, asking only that his doctor bills be paid from the proceeds.
George and Sonny come home delighted, but George's shrewish wife Liz is skeptical. She makes George return the stone, which she denounces as an ugly piece of glass not worth having appraised. George reluctantly returns the stone, and soon afterwards, Mr. Petersen dies. (Way to go, Liz.)
Six months later, Liz finds out from the lawyer handling Petersen's estate (which was taken over by the state due to Petersen having no heirs) that the "dirty piece of glass" was in fact a diamond worth over four million dollars. Liz faints dead away. An hour later, she's sobbing over the loss of the fortune. George tries to comfort her (what a guy!), but she is inconsolable. The lawyer promises to help her find riches worth far more than the "Dirty Diamond" she carelessly rejected. Anyone with any knowledge of Chick tracts knows where this is heading. I'm not sure whether it's not wanting to miss out on another sweet deal, the promise of eternal life in Heaven, or not wanting to spend eternity in the Lake of Fire, but Liz grabs the chance to "be in God's will." The whole family gets down on their knees (off camera/tract) and is saved. They're $4 million poorer, "But they received the greatest treasure of all". I'm sure that will be a big help when the mortgage comes due.
This is a tract that reminds me a lot of Chick's older stuff. No political agendas, no anti-Catholic rants, no ranting about the last days--just good old-fashioned soul-winning. Grade: A for Almost Rich.
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