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J.T.C. Museum of Fine Art REVIEW WING-8B
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NEGRO TRACTS (Guest Review by Miriam).
Stop the presses. America's favorite hard-core Christian fundamentalist, Jack Chick, is reaching out to black people. I'm sure they'll all be very relieved to hear it. That's right folks, in an all-new series closely based on previous, albeit much whiter works, Chick is trying to show all of his black friends that Jesus loves them, too. (Yes, Chick has black friends! Really! Why, some of his best friends are black, like Fred Carter, and, um, well, basically Fred Carter.) Unsurprisingly, this comes off less as inclusive, and more as condescending (in my humble Haw-haw! opinion).
When dealing with African-Americans, Chick has the same problem he has when dealing with Jews. He spends a lot of time talking about how wrong it is to hate them, devoting entire tracts to how great the Jews are, and their role in the impending Apocalypse (when two thirds of them are good enough to die). He also promotes how gosh-darn spiritual and humble (and occasionally sassy!) black people are, and generally going out of his way to state that racism is wrong, but when he actually tries to reach out directly to these two groups, rather than using them as props for his other tracts, the result is fairly amusing. For the Jews, we get Where's Rabbi Waxman? a tract in which the titular character (the answer to the titular question is, of course, the Deep End of the Lake o' Fire) deliberately conceals the truth about Jesus from his student, because he is afraid that his "people would disown" him otherwise. Apparently, everything Chick knows about Jews, he learned from Fiddler on the Roof. Just like everything he learned about black people, he learned from minstrel shows, putting Aunt Jemima's syrup on his pancakes, and from those two minutes of a blaxploitation film he saw spinning through the TV dial in the late nineteen seventies.
Let's start with the whole idea of the Negro series. Let's begin with the (deeply questionable) premise that Chick tracts are actually helpful to the people who read them, apart from being funny, a source of endlessly perplexing theology, being useful as emergency kindling, or extremely painful toilet tissue. Hmmm. I suppose it makes sense to have some of the tracts not be completely Caucasian-centric. Of course, a better way of making them more accessible to other ethnicities might simply be to have some of the characters in the "normal" tracts be minorities, instead of setting up this weird separate-but-equal thing. Because you know, "normal" people aren't always white, unless your definition of "normal" includes the phrase "similar, ethnically, to the creator of Chick tracts." (It is also worth noting that no "normal" person, by the standards of most of humanity, has ever once appeared in a Chick tract, except maybe as a minor character like the waitress who brings the Christian and the convert-to-be their meals while the Christian preaches. And hell, even the waitress has about a fifty percent chance of being born again by the time she brings the check. Salvation beats a twenty percent tip, in the world of Jack Chick.) The real problem with the adaptation of tracts for black audiences, though, is that such an adaptation would work a whole lot better if Chick gave the impression of ever having met a black person before. (Remember, he has lots of black friends! Like Fred Carter! (Did I mention Fred Carter?)) Basically, the concept would be more convincing if Chick didn't do things like making his tracts "black" by changing the name of the tract Best Friends to Soul Sisters (really), and giving all his black characters names like Denzel Franklin (again, really), because the series as-is reeks of misguided condescension with its outdated attempts to sound "hip". Lucky for us, the result is intentionally funny. In that sense, it's just like the rest of Chick's tracts; over the top, surreal, and funny yet disturbing.
Now, it's not that Chick actually dumbs down the tracts in order to make them accessible to black audiences, the way he famously did for Native American audiences in the little-to-no-written-words tract The True Path, in order to warn those illiterate Indians about the dangers of rejecting Christ. (And also alcoholism.) One wonders why he doesn't warn them about gambling while he's at it, but maybe he figured one crude stereotype was enough. (A rare show of restraint on his part!) But Chick's enough of a progressive guy to realize that black people can actually read. A side by side comparison of the white and black tracts scripts reveal little to no difference. With the exception of the titles, the words in the tracts are basically the same. But there are odd little touches that make you wonder what the hell he was thinking. We could, for example, look at the title changes. Why, when producing the same tract, with no alteration but the race of the characters, would Chick feel the need to change the title of This Was Your Life to It's Your Life! ? Odd, and random. Not a lot to unpack there, but it's curious nevertheless. The Star becomes Fame and Somebody Goofed becomes Oops! There's just no reason to change the titles, except, I suppose, to give the false impression that he's produced an entirely new series intended for black audiences, rather than simply changing the faces of the characters in tracts written years ago.
Which is not to say that Chick doesn't change anything. In fact, there's an interesting alteration made to the cover of the tract Set Free. I am here using the word "interesting" in its less-common, colloquial sense of "about as subtle as a tire iron to the face." Let's compare the covers, shall we? "Set Free", the original, (the white folks version) shows someone cutting a rope with scissors. "Free At Last" (the one for black folks) shows a black hand holding a noose.
See what he did there? Now, call me crazy, but it looks to me like he just ever so subtly invoked the Reverend Dr. Martin Luther King, and imagery associated with horrific racial violence. Don't feel bad if you didn't catch it, it's a real blink-and-you'll-miss it thing. Let it never be said that Chick "BURN IN THE LAKE OF FIRE, SINNERS" Chick has ever been afraid of using scare tactics. Oh, and there are notably more basketball players in the new version too. Just saying. Chick has his finger on the pulse of cultural sensitivity, doesn't he?
By far the most bizarre change is in the tract A Love Story, or, as Chick calls it for black people, Who Loves You? In one of the panels, to illustrate the sundry benefits of being a Good Christian, Chick shows a (presumably) Christian character walking down a sketchy night-time street, while in the foreground a menacing figure is prevented from menacing them more directly by the intercession of one of the same robe-clad angels we normally see carrying naked dead people up to consult with the Great Light Bulb Headed Deity. (Side note: I would love to see Chick's statistics indicating that Christians get mugged less than non-Christians. I really don't think he means the angelic protection to be a metaphor. Accept Jesus and get yourself an angelic body guard!). The original tract has a distant, almost indistinguishable silhouette of a person with an umbrella in the background as our oblivious, angel-guarded Christian, and a white guy with a cigarette hanging out of his mouth, a bald patch, a couple ugly scars, and waaaay too much stubble on his face as the Menacer. The new one, the one that is supposed to be for black people, the one that is intended to prove just how well ol' J.C. gets on with non-white people? Well, in the background we have a woman (hard to say from the distance and the shading, but I think she's white) being menaced by a hulking, grimacing, hairy-chested black man. Really. I am as baffled as you are. The idea of making a tract reach out to blacks by using racial stereotypes about black men raping white women is not a decision that I would have made-- but then, I'm not Jack Chick. (A fact for which I would daily thank the Good Lord, were I not a devout atheist.)
The best non change is in the tract Fame, a remake of a white-person tract called The Star. Both deal with a famous movie star who is a total sinner, doing nude scenes, and enjoying being rich, and all manner of other non-righteous things. While in the hospital for some reason, he has a conversation with the cleaning lady (a wise, overweight, not to mention sassy, yet humble, black woman in both versions) that leads to him coming to Jesus. In the black adaptation, there are a lot of characters who are made black (a film director and news anchor are among those undergoing racial reassignment for this tract. The doctor is not; he stays white. That'd be going a little too far, I guess. No one is Asian, Native American, Hispanic, or any other minority, but then, no one ever really is in a Chick tract, unless they're the evil Buddhist in the background or the Hindu trying to sacrifice children to Kali.). Anyway, there is a panel where we see our star working on a film shoot. And in both versions, the actor, whether black or white, is in the costume of a French musketeer.
What the hell?!? Why is a musketeer being played by a black guy? I don't care how good of an actor he is, but I'm guessing that 17 th century Frenchman is going to be tricky for him. That's just...historically inaccurate, is what it is. Then again, Chick has claimed that the Catholic Church secretly founded Islam, and orchestrated the Holocaust, so maybe historical accuracy isn't really his forte.
Lastly, there are the tracts that Chick has kindly created exclusively for black folks. These tracts are not based on any previously printed tract, except inasmuch as they all follow either the sinner-meets-Christian-sinner-gets-saved-you-probably-should-too or the sinner-meets-Christian-sinner-fails-to-get-saved-let-that-be-a-lesson formula. I won't go into those here, as they've already been covered by other reviewers, and somehow aren't as funny in concept as the repackaged one. As tempting as a work with lines like "If you weren't my grandma, I'd kill you where you stand! ALLAHU AHKBAR!" may be, I think I'll have to leave them alone.
So, will Chick win the hearts and minds of the African-American community with this series? Ummm, probably not. But he's given members of all communities something to think about (or at least amuse ourselves) and for that we should thank him. So thanks Chick, and happy Martin Luther King Day to you, too! Return to Main Index.
EVIL EYES Guest Review by real-life Satanist priest, Terrible Tommy Murray (www.churchofamalek.com)
Well, it had to happen: a tract blending all of Chick's most Anti-Catholic and Anti-Satanist conspiracies into one work of art... And here it is!
This tract centers on that evil Mexican form of Satanic Voodoo, Santeria. Perhaps Chick saw a TV program that mentioned Santeria or a recently-converted Chickite from a Hispanic culture told Jack their tangled tales and reinforced Chick's case-hardened Catholic-Satanism conspiracy terrors; or maybe the "Holey Spirit," whispered it to him in the night. Anyway, something attracted the gimlet eye of Chick and away we go! Arriba!
The tale starts with a bearded man visiting a corpulent woman, drawn in Chick's caricature version of Latino features. (No one but the Saved(TM) are pretty in Chick's world---that's a subliminal sales pitch, BTW: Accept Jesus and instantly become slimmer, prettier and have all your wishes fulfilled. But I digress.)
The hefty woman's house if full of scary idols, statues and Heathen fetishes galore, with several obviously Catholic saints prominently displayed. Bearded guy, it seems, has just come into some money and wants to spend it on "REVENGE!" But instead of hiring some beefy guys from the local gangs to rough his victim up, Mr. Beard wants Carlos, his intended target, not to be killed, but to be made into "a vegetable, to ruin his life." It seems that Carlos is "a relative" and this, apparently, forbids him from being killed outright. (News to me.) But messing up his life is acceptable; Ms. Pudgy De Latino declares: "I'm very good at ruining lives." (Let me guess; she marries the potential victim; then, on their wedding night---SQUISH!)
This tract reminds me a great deal of an early Christian anti-occult book, "I Talked With Spirits." In this book, the author was apparently an aficionado of Spiritualism, one of the biggest scams since Three-card Monte was invented. Either this idiot was totally taken in by a skilled scam artist or he was totally in on the scam himself. He claimed that, after years of witnessing "miracles" at séances---speaking voices, floating lights, ghostly music, all the tricks that Harry Houdini debunked---he was introduced to Protestant fundamentalism by a Christian witness and "dared" to ask the spirits: "Is Jesus Christ come in the flesh?" There was an "explosion," the spiritualist's floating megaphone flew up into the air and the medium was thrown out of his chair, unconscious.
Of course, in real life, nothing of the sort happens; explosions don't occur and phony mediums don't get tossed out of chairs at the quote of a Christian euphemism. I'm sorry, children, but it's true. Either Chick's source was a lying con-artist, who made up his story to sell books and to get himself church lecture dates and/or money (remember Mike Warnke?); or, just as likely, the author was a credulous boob who was taken in by a con-artist and completely added his "Jesus zaps the spooks" story from his own delusions.
Now, Enter the righteous Christian, in this case a bright-eyed young man named Roberto. Roberto's mother asks him to take a birthday present to her sister. Roberto happily agrees, saying he'd like to see "Carlos and Aunt Maria" again. Could this be the Carlos, victim-to-be of Evil Beard Dude and Senora Santeria Satanista? Naah--- Foreshadowing city!
Roberto gets on the bus to visit Aunt Maria and Carlos. As his mother waves goodbye, she thinks what a good boy Roberto is; it's too bad about him going "crazy on religion." Translation: Roberto is a Chick-style Evangelical Protestant who's been bugging everybody in sight with Bible verses, Jack Chick tracts by the handful and his constant comments that link nearly EVERYTHING to the KJV, the Second Coming and the need to be saved before a Faceless God roasts you forever because he loves you so much.
Anyway, Roberto sets out on a very important Chick mission; he's on his way to give Carlos his last chance, straight from the light bulb-head-God. This attitude, that the tract distributor's warnings are the victim's official Last Chance, means that Chick's minions will never doubt the urgency of their every witnessing mission nor worry when they regularly get yelled at or beaten up---nor will they fail to buy MORE AND JACK CHICK TRACTS!
Meanwhile, at the home of Carlos, our fore-doomed convert-victim, we see that Aunt Maria is very sick; she won't be going to "dance to the spirits" with Carlos, but she asks Carlos to pray to St. Lazarus for her. Carlos swears he will pray to ALL the saints. (Ha! As if THAT'S going to do any good in the Jack Chick universe!)
At the same time, the evil Satanista Witch is spewing rum over a rooster, while Chick solemnly warns: "(Carlos) has NO defense for what's coming."
Oh, yeah. Presidents needn't have wasted all those military resources in the Middle East: simply get an evil Voodoo Witch to spew a few mouthfuls of rum over a rooster, then cut off its head! Osama Bin Laden will keel right over! Hey, Obama , I'M available; but I must have Bacardi "Los Palmas" or it's a no go.
In the next panel, a bunch of wild Hispanics are jitterbugging to the Satan beat. Chick, it seems, actually looked at some pictures of Voodoo and Santeria rituals; there are actual Santeria items scattered throughout the tract, all spun and twisted into the distorted reality for Chick's fans. For instance, a cat lies in the offering area. I'd like to think that it's just sleeping, but, having read countless Chick tracts, it's a safe bet the cat was gutted in sacrifice for Satan.
Jack mentions that possession by the spirits packs an awesome buzz. (How would he know?) Then Chick declares: "The timing could not be more perfect." During this dance, a bolt of Satanic zombie death radiation zaps Carlos and he falls down in discombobulating dearth---"like a dead man."
The next day, a stereotypically-stupid-looking Catholic woman goes to see the local Catholic priest, Father Dominic, a square-jawed fellow who, it turns out, is also the "Santero" (Santeria priest). He goes to see Aunt Maria, who is in hysterics because poor Carlos is ZOMBIFIED!
Carlos is lying in the bed, stock stiff, with Little Orphan Annie-type circles where his eyes used to be. Needless to say, there are crucifixes and saint statues, Santeria fetishes of all kinds in prominent display. Father Dominic declares that Carlos is a zombie and that there is no hope for him.
"WRONG!" bellows Roberto as he bursts into the room; the door, fortunately, was unlocked, so he didn't need to kick it down. "My Jesus can!" declares Roberto and throws the false devil priest out the door. (Count your blessings, Carlos, at least it wasn't your "evil" secular doctor who got thrown out by Rebecca Brown!) Then Roberto starts tossing crucifixes and "Satanic idols" out after him, declaring that each image has a demon attached to it (another homage to Dr. Brown). Father Dominic starts talking up a lynch mob, saying that Roberto is the evil one and is causing all the problems. An unidentified friend or neighbor begs the crowd to give Roberto more time, explaining that "He's fighting a zombie!"
Inside, Roberto sees the gathering mob and prays to Jesus, reminding Jesus that he's promised to shield him in just such an emergency. (I shudder to think what happens to all the poor Chick fans that depend on such prayers for their safety. But I digress.) And, SURPRISE, one of those in the crowd shouting for Roberto to die is El Beardo Muy Tonto, with a big evil smile on his face.
Then Roberto declares: "Ugh! This place is infested with devils. Lord Jesus, please get them out of here." And an entirely new species of demons, the Striped-horny-slug demons, flee disconcertedly from the house. Then Roberto casts out the witch-for-hire's zombification demon, which leaves crying "Noooo!" in classic Jack Chick fashion.
Carlos sits up, healthy and clear-eyed and says "---is that you, Roberto?" Hallelujah, Carlos is saved! ...or is he?
Roberto immediately warns Carlos that the demons want to come back, with stronger allies this time, unless Carlos gets immediately born-again. Roberto then lays out the Jack Chick plan of Salivation, complete with bloody crucifixion scene.
Outside, the crowd grumbles threateningly, but gives Roberto his chance, proving the protective power of the Jesus-shield.
Carlos asks if he will have to give up Santeria and the Catholic church: Roberto says, "Yes!" Carlos objects that that is a pretty high price just to keep him de-zombiefied. Roberto asks (cue creepy Mexican soap opera music) "Do you want the devils back and to go to Hell?" Carlos says that he'll give Roberto his answer outside . Oh, the suspense!
Once outside, Carlos declares that it wasn't the evil Santeria Voodoo vibes doing him in---it was that evil Roberto's doings; they witnessed him throwing out holy objects and speaking blasphemy against Mother Church. In the background, Father Dominic goes "Gasp!" astounded at Carlos' bald-faced lie. (A secret Satanist priest who spreads demons and sacrifices kitty cats is astounded by a lie? He's gotta be one of the most inexperienced Satanists around!) The villagers tell Roberto to get on the bus and leave or be killed. The Striped-horny-slug demons come flying back with big smiles on their faces. Now Carlos is surely doomed to a life of demon-possession, zombification and, ultimately, going to Hell for his betrayal.
Oh well, to each his own.
Heading dolefully home on the bus, Roberto asks why the Lord sent him there; he was sure there was a soul to reach. And, speak of the devil, Father Dominic appears to ask if he can sit beside Roberto. Just as Chick always admonishes his readers, Roberto refers to the priest as "Mr. Dominic," a subtle kick at Catholics, complete with the Bible quote commanding that the Christian not call anyone on Earth "Father."
Ex-Father Dominic confesses that he hates this occult-drenched Satanic Catholicism he's practiced, that he's robbed and abused (sexually?) people, destroyed "millions of souls." He declares that Roberto's Jesus is alive and he wants to accept him.
Roll credits and mandatory black-and-white "Turn or Burn" panel.
This tract, like pretty much EVERY Jack Chick tract, reinforces the Christian cookie-cutter rules of salvation in spades.
The dream of the average tract pusher is to magically become a sort of born-again version of Superman: a "Salvation Warrior" who burst into rooms with shouted prayers and Bible quotes, sending bad spirits running while simultaneously curing sinners of pedophilia, schizophrenia and homosexuality! The evil Satanists will be powerless, except to cry out for Satan to save them and vomit on the floor. At least, that's the fantasy depicted in this tract.
My opinion? I LOVE it! It's so over-the-top, it (unintentionally) satirizes Christian Fundamentalism much better than I or any of my pointed headed satanic intellectual colleagues could. All Hail, Pope Chick, you've done it again!!!
RATING: "A+" for Another Anti-Catholic Classic! Return to Main Index.
THE BULLY Guest Review by real-life Satanist priest, Terrible Tamas Murray (www.churchofkali.com ) The completely wonderful thing about Chickite Christianity (and all Christianity in general) is the way they create their own little world and then force everybody else to live in it; meanwhile, the REAL world continues to exist, leaving the Chickite's life in a royal mess. As Chick would say, "Haw-haw!"
Chick's world is full of big bad bullies who despise Jesus. They are usually snake-eyed Catholics, scheming Witches and other demon-possessed villains, all "out to get you" in an enormous mega-conspiracy that encompasses everything from first grade teachers to the puppet master Pope. Meanwhile, the Real(TM) Chick Christian is a sort of radioactive Superman, busting in doors, casting out demons and curing serious mental disorders with the recitation of scripture.
Then readers are expected to go out and actually try to LIVE by this idealistic example. Some Chickites get bitterly disappointed while others get sickened and scared away from all Christianity forever. The rest get beaten to a pulp while witnessing to that gay biker gang, surprised when Magic Jesus doesn't swoop down and save them when things get dicey.
This attitude, this viewing of the world through Christ-colored glasses, is the very heart and core of Chick's latest effort, "The Bully."
The cover shows a scene which is never actually referred to in the tract, but probably illustrates the "upbringing" of the main character, the "Bully," whose real name is Harry, an abusive alcoholic father who hates Christianity so badly that he beats his wife every time she goes to church and is delighted when she dies so he can throw away her Bibles. (One wonders: Why'd he marry her in the first place? More importantly, why would she marry HIM?)
Remember, kids; the first principle of Chickite Christianity: Decide what reality is, then try to convince everyone else that your crazy beliefs are true. Come to think of it, that's the first principle of all religions (including mine) but I digress.
Harry, the "Bully" is drinking in the bar. One of his cronies suddenly laughs out loud. It turns out, according to Harry's bar buddy, that while they're sitting there getting soused on Satan sauce, Harry's daughter is at church. "No way!" screams Harry, declaring that he'd warned his daughter that he would beat her "within an inch of her life" if she dared to go to church.
No doubt, there are some angry neighbors and relatives of Fundy converts who really do threaten them after getting a Chick tract or hearing their Jesus spiel. I'm certain that Chick tract-missionaries get mocked or threatened all the time. Therein lays your root idea for this encyclical. The newly-flipped Chick convert can often act like a jerk, turning every conversation into a sermon, demanding truly-ridiculous amounts of prayer, Bible-reading and abstinence from such evil things as non-religious comic books, video games and Hannah Montana, maybe even banning TV and radio altogether and forbidding ANY music except "Sweet Hour of Prayer" type church hymns, played loud and proud at all hours of the day and night. Said Chickophile also pushes Chick tracts and the KJV as the cure for everything, while remaining blankly oblivious to offending anyone who's lifestyles might clash with their own. That may have worked back in the conformist 50s, but not in 2000 plus!
But enough of reality, let's return to what Mr. Rogers called "the land of make believe"... Harry irately demands how Andy (his bar fly bud) knew Harry's daughter was at church; seems Andy's wife hauled Harry's daughter to church. Harry tells warns his friend, "If my daughter gets religion, I'll kill you---and your family."
Meanwhile, Ashley, the daughter and Megan (Alcohol Andy's wife), are driving home. Ashley, it seems, didn't pray with the pastor. "I was afraid to" declares the abused Ashley. Then Megan notices something in front of Ashley's house: It's Harry, with a psychotic scowl on his face and a big stick in his hand... a stick with Ashley's name written in the wood grain. The car slams to a halt and Harry orders a sobbing Ashley into the house. He threatens Megan, the driver, that if she ever even talks to Ashley again "I'll burn your house down with YOU in it!"
Now that sounds like a cool sequel tract, doesn't it? Chick often names tracts after popular movies or songs. Imagine a roof with flames on the cover and the title Burning Down The House. The Talking Heads would be proud. But alas, it wasn't meant to be, as you'll soon see when the direction our protagonist takes an unexpected turn...
"One week later," Harry promises not to throw Ashley out into the street if she never reads the Bible or prays or get saved. Ashley, weeping and abused-looking, holds up her right hand and duly declares: "I swear, I'll never believe in Jesus as long as I live."
Grinning like Iago getting ready to betray Othello, Harry says: "Good girl. Have a beer!"
"Two years later," Ashley is passed out drunk at the kitchen table, so Harry decides to go to the bar by himself. While sucking on his first beer, Harry clutches his chest and keels over on the floor. In the next scene, Harry's on the table at the emergency room, where the doctors have just barely managed to resuscitate him. The nurse tells the doctor that the patient "claims he saw Hell." The doctor declares that to be nonsense. "Hell doesn't exist. He's delusional" the doctor says.
Obviously, this particular doctor never read Chick's 1982 tract, Back From The Dead. In it, Chick makes reference to how ER personnel hear such tales of Near Death Experiences all the time: While I was working in the ER and the ICU at the Naval Hospital is San Diego, I heard at least three myself. Aerospace training centers with centrifuges for high-gravity tests on pilots expect such "visions" of Heaven and Hell, bright lights at the end of the tunnel, burning torment and demons, to occur as a regular thing. What the person sees depends much more on the individual's personality than their religion or the state of their "soul." (Atheists and Buddhists have seen Heaven, born-again Protestants have seen Hell; the religion really doesn't matter.) So at the very least, we can expect to see this doctor's face pop up again in a hell scene within a future tract.
Later that afternoon, Harry appears at the house of the elderly pastor whom Harry, apparently, had beaten up in earlier years. The pastor's wife tells him that Harry is demanding to see him, whereupon the pastor warns his wife to "Get ready to call the cops again." (What happened to the Chick's usual calm and saintly demeanor in the face of physical violence? Why didn't Magic Jesus show up to prevent the first attack?)
In the next scene, Harry has the pastor pinned up against the wall, demanding help from the Pastor because Harry's going to Hell; he knows because he saw it. The pastor tells Harry that he "must be born again." "Are you nuts? Why?" demands Harry. The pastor explains the Calvinist Cruelty: You were born with original sin, whatever you did in the way of good karma doesn't count for moose squat and "you need a second birth."
Our old fiends, Fang and Tabby Cat are glaring at each other outside the window, as the pastor tells Harry that all sinners get tossed into Hell at death. But Jesus came down and died for us, to save us from the Hell He created and then condemned us to at birth. Pastor tells Harry that Jesus shed His blood to wash away all of Harry's sins. "Man, I can't buy that stuff!" declaims Harry. The pastor, showing some testicles for once, declares that Harry can forget about Heaven, since he just called God a liar. He quotes John 3:18 "---he that believeth not is condemned already---" This is the cue for the mandatory Chick gore shot of Jesus on the cross, John 3:16 and the resurrection three days later.
Suddenly, Harry is starting to glow with that jagged-edged radiation indicating imminent Chick salvation. Sure enough, in the next panel, Harry the Bully is on his knees with the pastor, smiling and declaring he feels different. He can't wait to tell his daughter. "She'll be thrilled!" But grim Pope Jack warns in the background: "You're in for a big surprise, Harry!" Danger, Will Robinson, Danger! The Jack Chick equivalent of an O. Henry ending is coming up!
Harry comes home to a trashy, messed-up house. Ashley is gone, so Harry calls Frankie the bartender. Frankie tells Harry that Ashley is in jail for drunk driving. When Harry arrives to take Ashley home, Ashley is hateful and abusive. The fact that Jack didn't work a few "@$#$" cuss words into her conversation is somewhat disappointing. (Maybe next time.)
Driving home, Harry tells Ashley "I got saved!" Ashley replies: "WHAT?? The guy who beat me for praying got holy? That's sick!" Then she says: "Papa Dearest, I've got something to tell you! But first, I need a stiff drink!"
Uh oh! You don't suppose all those years of relentless alcoholic abuse have taken a toll on Ashley? The suspense is KILLING us!
Back home, a hard-bitten Ashley drinks straight from the liquor bottle (and her "just saved" dad does nothing to discourage it). It seems her tests came back from the doctor's office: Ashley's dying of cirrhosis of the liver and has three weeks to live. Ashley told the doctor that she wants to die at home and he'd agreed. "So, you'll be my nurse, Papa---until I go to Hell---(hic!)" She goes on to tell Harry that she knew Hell would be her home ever since Harry had forced her to turn against God. (That's a somewhat better than the missionary couple in Flight 144 who'd loved and prayed to Jesus all their lives, only to burn forever in hell anyway. So at least Ashley knows the score!)
"9 days later" Holy Harry is on all fours, praying for help, when Ashley screams: "Papa! Come quick!"
Now comes our moment of Chick Zen: Ashley has begun to hear screaming, far away. Suddenly, her feet are getting hot and the screams are getting louder. (I haven't seen Chick stretch reality this far since he had Alberto Rivera flying around the room under demonic forces in The Force comic; then, when he grabbed a scissors and made a cross, which made the demons run away, it was "all a lie; the demons weren't scared, because the cross is a SATANIC symbol." Granted, I knew that in Chick's universe, practically everything is Satanic, but if even the cross is a sign of the devil, what the hell isn't?)
Back to poor, dying Ashley: She's getting terrified and desperate; her legs are burning and there's screaming all around. "Ashley, call on Jesus!" yells Harry. Sobbing and gasping, Ashley complies, and (dare I say "magically?"), the burning and the screaming suddenly stop.
Ashley's death scene is the next-to-last panel. Light streams in from above, while Ashley hears beautiful music, sees Mommy waving and Jesus with His arms out, ready to receive her. The last panel is the Jesus in His Mitra-the-bearded hippie disguise, quoting John 6:47 and concluding: "Heaven or Hell. The choice is yours."
Like I said, don't be surprised to be surprised. And alcoholic Ashley is in for a big surprise herself. What is she gonna think when she enters "Heaven" and realizes she can never have another drink... for all eternity!
RATING: B+ for Bitter Beer Face! Return to Main Index.
SOME LIKE IT HOT Guest Review by real-life Satanist priest, Terrible Tamas Murray (www.churchofkali.com ) Let it never be said of any Chick tract: "It can't get more controversial than THIS!" because, as soon as that's been said, out comes another one, even more in-your-face than before.
Our latest journey into the maelstrom which is Fundy Christianity is called Some Like It Hot. This tract is basically A Demon's Nightmare with more of Chick's conspiracy theories and Satanic plots tossed in for good measure. Every tale of Satanic horror, demonic nightmare, or devilish scheme, is stuffed into this tract like Lego parts crammed into a truck transmission.
So buckle your seat belts. You're in for a hellofa ride!
First off, let's remember A Demon's Nightmare (or ADN). ADN was a neat, inoffensive little tract, based on Protestant Fundy religion; which, admittedly, can be very offensive to other religions (especially Satanism). But as ADN was originally presented, it was a funny little tract, only the demons suffered and they seemed more like a joke than actual hovering, crawling evil spirits hanging around humans, enticing them to commit sin and reject Jesus. Now, after being drenched for decades in the paranoia of John Todd, Alberto Rivera, Rebecca Brown, Elaine Moses and William Schnoebelen, Chick has an entire encyclopedic assemblage of conspiracy theories and urban myths. So Chick takes what should have been a simple, acceptable Christian witnessing comic and flips it into a rabid In-Your-Face diatribe of dastardly demons and divine divisiveness.
The story starts off rather downbeat. Freddy meets his Grandpa in Hell. This isn't a real hard-core Hell though: cartoonish tortures, goofy pot-bellied devils and the various comic-horror garnishes makes this Hell seem much more like a cheap, lowbrow version of a Christian Hell House. But I digress.
Grandpa cries out "What in blazes are you doing down here?" (Re-PUN-zle! Re-PUN-zle!) To which Freddy replies "I thought Heaven was for sissies."
Contradiction alert! Chick declared in earlier tracts (like Hi There) that no one will be able to see anyone else in Hell except strangers and demons. Apparently, like the Catholic church's rescinding the damnation of all those Catholics who ate meat on Fridays, Chick has decided to let people meet friends in Hell, presumably after only a few quintillion years or so. So Grandpa and Freddy compare notes; it seems that literally EVERYBODY from their large, extended family is somewhere in the fiery pit. All except one: Henry (Freddy's dad and Grandpa's son) is not there. It seems that, out of the entire family, Henry was the only one who "---went nuts on that Bible thing."
And there you have it; the rest of the tract is an anticlimax. Without turning another page, we know Henry was saved, he witnessed to the family and was ridiculed for it. Given that it's a Chick tract, you can bet the Fundy father is now in Heaven, while Freddy and Grandpa toast in torment.
Suddenly, out of thin air, comes an airport-like announcement: "Bring Freddy and Grandpa to my office, immediately!" So Freddy and Grandpa are hustled along to Satan's office, past snarling demon dogs and scowling demon guards.
Chick must have had to change his underwear several times while doing the next few panels: Satan loudly and proudly declares: "In fact, I alone control every major religion in the world! Isn't that a pleasant surprise?" Subtlety, thy name is NOT Chick!
Next is Chick's sucker punch to the PC Police: A group of variegated religious types, from Hasidic Jews to Muslims to Buddhists, with a Catholic Pope and a Catholic priest in the foreground, are all standing in flames and looking upset or angry while shaking their fists at the sky, cursing God.
Now Chick plays out a fascinating little reverse version of This Was Your Life. Satan rages at the two inmates about the family member who escaped his clutches. He recalls to the two men how Henry had witnessed to them in life, but they had laughed at him.
Whoa, somebody hit the credibility buzzer! Anyone who has encountered a Chick-inspired Fundy for more than five minutes knows they are going to hear THE PLAN OF SALVATION at least a dozen times or more. Yet Henry only mentioned it ONCE in an entire lifetime?!! No way, Jose.
Anyway, Satan's screen projection isn't as big as God's, but sufficient to show an encapsulated version of Chick's Creation story. Lucifer quotes 1 John 5:7 (explaining the Trinity) even though he hates the passage. As Satan points out, "I find that verse very offensive. I won't tolerate it in my Bibles." Under this, Chick issues a raking broadside from astern: "Reader: Check out your Bible. It may be one of HIS!"
Next, a handful of angels fall downward, presumably into Hell. They are all cascading downward with expressions ranging from sad to outraged in a flurry of feathers, like downed carrier pigeons. These are Satan's allies who lost the battle with God. Lucifer keeps referring to "He" as the one who threw Him out of Heaven. But (are you READY for this?) even after all the preaching they got from Henry, and all the time they had to figure out how things work in the afterlife, Freddy and Gramps STILL have to ask: "Who threw you out?"
"Jesus, God's Son!" roars Satan. "It was so embarrassing, I swore I'd get even."
The next panel shows Satan enticing some stereotyped Jews into crucifying Christ. (For someone who "loves" the Jews, Chick sure does caricature them a lot. Where's the Anti-defamation League when you need them?)
Next, Jesus is hanging on the cross and getting attacked by a steady stream of shadowy demons, while Satan stands to the side, chin in hand and thinks: "This was too easy."
I'll let Satan tell the next part, uninterrupted and unexpunged: "When I saw the Creator of the universe dying on the cross, I thought, 'It's over! I won!... I felt the thrill of unlimited power... What could possibly go wrong?" SPOILER ALERT: Plenty!
Sure enough: "3 DAYS LATER "---disaster struck! Jesus rose from the dead!" Radioactive Jesus shines His light all around while Satan flees, sweating and screaming "I'm dead meat!" So Satan lays down the capper: "I can't touch Henry, but I can make you two pay for it!"
Talk about throwing salt in the wound! This is the classic Christian's threat of Hell amped up a notch. Now, not only will you burn for your sins, you will be punished even WORSE if someone in your family witnessed to you and failed. Boy, you better get right with Jesus FAST!
And here is the heart of this rotten little peach: The reinforcement of the idea that the very Master of All Bad Things, the Fallen Archangel, Lucifer, Satan, Bill Z. Bob, when not making up new fake religions or Christ-denying Satanic versions of the Bible, has only ONE thing on his mind: The individual Chickite witness, with his/her pockets full of tracts and a scriptural quotation for every occasion; the preacher, the nagger, the "bully-for-Jesus" whom we all know too well. That puffs up the ego of your average Chickite faster that the belief that the God of the Universe would come down and die horribly for them, just because he cares.
The next to last image shows two demons, leaning over a fiery precipice, laughing. One asks the other: "Have they hit bottom yet?" To which his companion replies: "Haw haw! They never will."
When the two demons in A Demon's Nightmare wound up at the very bottom of Hell and were handed shovels and told to start digging, that was funny and kinda cute. But this new tract brings up a more sinister consideration for tract pushers and preachers to ponder. It suggests (although unintentionally) that by promoting Jesus to your family and friends (and passing out Christian propaganda like Chick tracts), that you could actually be damning your loved ones even more than if you remained silent. Granted, you might save them and get them into Heaven, but if you fail, you'll piss off Satan more and he'll take it out on your relatives as soon as he gets the chance. So it's basically like a double-or-nothing gamble-- and you know what the Bible says about gambling...
Which leads to another impertinent question: If Freddy and Grandpa are thrown in a bottomless pit, is it better or worse than the alternative? I mean, if it actually has no bottom, then there is nothing to hit, and it's the impact that hurts the most, isn't it? (Just curious.)
In the final panel, Chick declares: "You don't have to go to hell." A sinner, presumably Henry, is shown on all fours praying to Jesus, and probably making Satan even angrier (not that upsetting Satan should concern you, unless of course, you happen to have a relative he'll be caretaking).
So you see, it all comes back to that classic Satanist credo: "Damned if you do, damned if you don't."
RATING: C+ for "Cool Cartoons, Corny Content" Return to Main Index.
CRAZY WOLF (Guest Review by Miriam).
This is a tract written especially for Native Americans, using an all Indian cast.
In the first panel, we see two ugly Native American women (hardly recognizable as females) talking about a traitor. No, this time it's not Ramu, the evil priest from the non-native Indian tract (THE TRAITOR). Instead, it's a woman named Old Mary who's considered crazy because she turned her back on the American Indian gods. (She probably found a copy of THE TRUE PATH tract somewhere and got saved.) Both women want Old Mary dead, but the local medicine man's attempts to curse her were futile. It seems some "strange power blocked him." (Elaine Moses claimed to have the same problem when she tried to send her spirits out to murder Jack Chick and his family-- See Closet Witches for more on that story.) But the taller one of the two women knows a very powerful witch. In a step towards gender equality in the Chick universe, this time the witch is a man. We have had several female witches already, plus women looking like witches (Ms Henn anyone?) The shorter woman (Margret) holds such a grudge against Old Mary that she is willing to pay the other woman's cousin to find that man, because only he knows where this witch named "Crazy Wolf" lives. Her motivation for wanting to murder Mary? Old Mary witnessed to one of Margret's children about her "white God." (The Horror!)
One week later, Margret provides Henry (the messenger who will seek out Crazy Wolf) some of Mary's personal items for Native American voodoo. This includes hair from poor Mary's comb, nail clippings and her picture, all conveniently stolen while she was at church. Hey, does that mean Mary doesn't clean up after clipping her nails? Because, if she nail clippings were in the trash, Margret wouldn't need to break in to steal them. Yuck!
Margret asks Henry if Crazy Wolf is a "Skin Walker"…contrary to Chick tradition, the word is not explained in a little text box below the panel. Henry says that Crazy Wolf killed his own brother and Margret better stop asking questions. Henry heads out on his six day round trip to find the Medicine/Hit Man. When he finds five snakes hanging from a clothesline, he know's he's close.
Henry enters Crazy Wolf's crazy cave. Crazy Wolf is expecting him, he'll come as soon as he's finished killing a trespasser with "corpse powder". A footnote explains this is "Ground up finger and toe tips and ear lobes of the dead". Apparently, it works wonders. All you have to do is to blow it from your palm into the face of the person you want to die. (Son only use it in a well-ventilated area, kids!) Luckily, Henry is not considered a trespasser, because he made an appointment, but how did he accomplish this, if he is the only one who knows where Crazy Wolf lives? (Maybe it was smoke signals.)
Some money and stale finger nails are deposited and Crazy Wolf sets to work. "On the full moon" he warns, "her heart will be in my hand!" Knowing what this guy does with earlobes and digit tips, it's a safe bet he won't be an organ donor.
Cut to the Injun…I mean, Native American village: Mary is being taunted by children…probably Margret's. Margret herself takes the opportunity to harass Mary even further. "Your God has white skin!" she screams, fuming with rage. (She should be in a better mood, knowing things will soon get real scary for Mary!) Old Mary tells Margret that Jesus was not white, but had brown skin. (Now where is that written in scripture? Again, no footnote!) Margret counters that her "sun god" is stronger (even though the attack is slated for the night of the full moon).
In the next panel, Mary is visibly distraught. In her humble wooden shack, Mary is talking into a cell phone…with her pastor, who happens to know that Crazy Wolf is a witch and a skin walker. May I remind politely that we still haven't been told what a skin walker is?
After sunset, Crazy Wolf summons an evil spirit and actually exits his physical body in the shape of a hideous werewolf-like demon. Mary is on her knees, praying in her shack. On the table is an open book (either the Bible or a very thick Chick tract) and a kerosene lamp. No electricity, eh? One wonders how she charges that cell phone...
The hideous werewolf Crazy Wolf has become is polite enough to knock on Mary's door. (Maybe he wants to save his sharp nails to bury in her face?) He also announces his intentions to kill Mary and to rip out her heart. (I guess that wolf snout doesn't handicap his ability to speak clear English.) He starts to enter while Mary prays for help. She could have at least helped herself a bit by locking her door. God would seem completely justified in ignoring someone's expectations for assistance, when they don't even bother to do the obvious things to protect themselves like locking the door. Instead, Mary lets thieves waltz in to steal her DNA, along with the werewolves seeking her heart, and expects God to do all the heavy lifting. Luckily, it's a slow night for the angles, so one shows up to help out in spite or Mary's blatant disregard for personal security. The massive angel throttles the big bad wolf, who begs for mercy the moment he get's a little roughed up (or is that "ruffed" for a canine?) As the angel continues to manhandle the monster, Crazy Wolf's spirit returns to his physical body, where Satan and his demons are waiting to take their turn at beating him to a pulp (for failing). What do you know? For once, God's Angels and Satan's Army are fighting the same enemy, and both are winning!
Old Mary thanks Jesus for helping her, but being so selfless and saintly, she also and prays for Jesus to save Crazy Wolf. Three weeks later, "an unexpected visitor is standing at Mary's door". (Unexpected? Not by regular Chick fans. We see this kind of boomerang behavior all the time!) Technically, the visitor (who of course is Crazy Wolf) is actually standing in Mary's door, which she left open yet again. When will she ever learn to lock up her home?
Crazy Wolf looks brutally beaten. I wonder which injuries were inflicted on him by the angel and which by Satan and his little helpers. Mary politely offers "Mr. Wolf" some chicken dinner — which he accepts. Then she invites him to receive Jesus. Crazy Wolf does not believe he can go to heaven. He committed murder, rape and other crimes. At least this guy seems to know what evil is! Mary tells the story of Jesus, the only righteous one, sacrificing himself for all men. And Crazy Wolf, whose real given name is revealed to be "Billie" accepts the free gift of salvation. However…the services which he failed to render, i.e. to rip out Mary's heart were not free. Margret and her associates remember paying good money for it. When she hears Crazy Wolf is next door playing a social call on the intended target, a demon urges Margret to get even. Margret obeys and fetches her shotgun. While Mary and Born-again Billie step outside to get into the truck, Mary returns instead to fetch her keys. Margret blows away Billie with both barrels of her shotgun. Any Chick fan can predict the rest: Billie goes to heaven, Margret goes to hell. The Lord tells Billie that he made it by the "skin of your teeth"…which reminds that I still haven't been told yet what a skin walker is.
RATING: C+ for "Crazy (Werewolf)" Return to Main Index.
GOING DOWN (Guest Review by Anneka.)
This tract opens with an exciting shoot'em-up scene. Judging by the costumes, it is set in the Old West. There is a lake or pond (one of the few in tracts that isn't on fire). Next to it is a man with a rifle and his horse taking a drink. Behind a large rock, the bad guy is lurking. He is unshaven, overweight and holding a pistol-- obviously an atheist or an undercover Catholic. "He's alone… now I can make my move," mutters the Bad Guy. He orders the Marshall to raise his hands and drop his rifle. (As if it's necessary to tell him to also drop the weapon. 1. Rifles are heavy and 2. Who's gonna allow a captive to hold a loaded gun?) Bad Guy introduces himself as Hank Dagget, the older brother of another bad guy the Marshall killed earlier, "like a mangy dog." So this is obviously a revenge thing.
The Marshall claims: "I ain't scared to die, you low down coward." Does this remind you of an earlier Chick tract? A thief breaks into the house of a Christian and confronts him at gun point… but the Christian guy is not scared to die? He says the thief would being doing him a favor killing him, because that would send him to Buellah country, where a mansion is waiting, complete with angels to serve him. I wonder if the Marshall had similar thoughts. He did not reveal them though, because Hank shouts "I'll see you in hell, Marshall" and blasts him to kingdom come. As the Marshall's hat is blown off by bullets (presumably with part of his brains), we see that he is bald. A witness in the foreground gasps in horror. (He's either shocked to see the Marshall had no hair, or he can't stand seeing a good hat ruined.)
Suddenly, Hank is surrounded by men with guns drawn who "saw the whole thing." Apparently, Hank picked a rather busy part of the desert to perform his ambush. Oops. He surrenders. The vigilantes caught him red handed and intend to hang 'em high. (And you thought the death penalty cost more than life imprisonment? Ha!) They proceed to toss a noose around Hank's head and saddle him up to take the final plunge. Bad Guy-- soon to be Dead Guy-- doesn't feel any remorse. He's glad he killed the Marshall, and he "ain't afraid of no Death Angel." (Technically speaking, the double negative means he IS afraid, but such humor is probably lost on Hank at this particular time in his every shortening life.) The vigilantes tell him that he will be in hell within a minute. Sure 'nuff, Hank is dangling dead in the next panel. One of his executioners quips, "God won't have mercy on his rotten soul." Another rejoins, "Yep, he'll burn down there forever!" (Them thar cowboys don't pussyfoot around talking fancy-like!)
The next page is a real shocker. It reveals that it was all just a television show with actors. No one really died-- we were punked! (Dad burn it!) A couch potato who suffers from male pattern baldness is watching the grim affair on TV. His wife admonishes him, "Horatio Evans! What on earth are you watching? Such dreadful language. Turn it off!" But all this talk about hell has Horatio wondering, does such a place really exist? His wife laughs at the question. "That's not even acceptable in the 21st century," she scorns. She obviously wears the pants in this family, not that it's going to help pad the pain any once Satan starts spanking her bare little butt. (They don't call it the bottomless pit for nothing! Haw-haw!) But let's not get too far ahead of ourselves.
Horatio decides he needs a second opinion. He visits his pastor, Reverend Brinks, to ask if sinners really burn forever in hell. At first, Brinks is speechless. "Gasp…Uh…Cough, cough." Then he composes his demonic denial: "Horatio, haw, haw, that belief came out of the Dark Ages. Come on! God's too loving to put anyone in a place like that… Trust me!" Better not, bud! Whenever you notice a gospel cartoonist sketching you, it's a terrible time to start trusting Reverend Wonderfuls!
Sure enough, a mere four nights later, Evans gets his car flattened by an 18 wheeler. (Ouch! That's nine wheels per passenger!) Emily "Such dreadful language" Evans bites the big one, and Horatio, her hell-hunting-husband, is left in critical condition. Or so says an anonymous phone call to Reverend Brinks at 2.00 AM. Interesting detail: The Rev sleeps alone in a double bed and doesn't seem to have any 2:00 AM shadow. (A single man who shaves twice a day? This pastor acts like he's expecting late night company!)
Brinks races to the hospital in 40 minutes flat, where Horatio tells him he was dead for six minutes and saw hell, then they brought him back. Then he died again, only to be brought back again. (So does that mean he was born again, again?) According to Evans, he was in hell, and his wife was there, too. He accuses the Rev of lying and claims he and his wife will be waiting for Brinks in Hell. A nice looking (but rude acting) nurse interrupts, "Please wait outside. Your 5 minutes are up." Now that sux: They wake the Rev at 2:00 AM, he races to the hospital at break-neck speed, and then he's only given five minutes to talk with a dying parishioner? (This must be one of those Satanic hospitals that Rebecca Brown had to perform exorcists on to drive out the evil spirits!) Sure enough, just six minutes later, (there's that demonic number 6 again), Horatio is pronounced dead, and this time, he's not performing any encores.
Brinks is bummed. He had his sleep interrupted, he just lost two parishioners, and on top of that, it's raining outside. What could be worse? Whoa! Stop the Chick presses-- the cute nurse is waiting for him outside the hospital to give him a phone number. Maybe that double bed won't be empty much longer after all! No wait, this is Chick Gospel tract, not a hot chick tract. It turns out that the nurse is giving Brinks her Grandfather's phone number, since he's a retired pastor. She wants to help Evans with his afterlife issues-- but not anything else. (So it's back home to the empty bed for our young hotshot.)
The next several nights, Reverend Brinks suffers from the same nightmare. He sees Mr. and Mrs. Evans burning in torment and yelling at him for not telling the truth about hell. They warn Brinks that he'll be joining them in the devil's hot tub real soon. (That's Lava Lake, for those of you who are hip-handicapped.)
At 3:15 AM, Brinks still can't sleep (or find a bed mate) so he decides to pay the nurse's grandfather a visit in the morning. He goes to meet the retired pastor. The old man doesn't look at all like his granddaughter. He has big Howdy Doody ears, if you remember who he was (or Barack Obama ears, if you don't). Pastor Frank Thompson seems to have a halo around him all the time as he explains to Brinks (who obviously never read the book of Ezekiel) the facts of eternal life. What follows is the usual John 3:16 stuff. So we'll cut to the chase: Brinks repents, accepts Jesus as his savior and is willing to warn his congregation about hell. He doesn't care if it will be tough because he loves them too much not to warn them. (He might as well downsize to a single bed while he's at it, 'coz his popular pastor days are over.)
In the last frame, Brinks addresses the reader directly by breaking the fourth wall. (Anyone remember Reefer Madness? "And YOU!!!") Brinks tells us if we want our sins forgiven, we must do what it says on the inside back cover (and recite the sinner's prayer).
Hey, wait a tick. If Brinks knew we were watching, then he knew this was all a cartoon. So he was only acting like a jerk-off for dramatic effect, and no one was really killed. That would mean his entire saga was a phony set-up, just like the TV show at the beginning. We've been punked-- again! That's TWICE in ONE TRACT! Oy vey!
Grade: B+ for Bring Brinks Back from the Brink-- of HELL! Return to Main Index.
"LOVE THAT MONEY" (Guest Review by Real-life Satanist, Terrible Tommy. )
First, we have a classic Chick set-up scene: An elderly granny woman is telling a younger woman, standing at a drug-store counter to wait outside. The younger girl warns her elderly mother to be careful and not fall again. "I'll try not to," the grand-ma replies.
(Guess what's going to happen? Oh, look, it happened. GASP!)
Sure enough, in the next panel, Granny is lying sprawled just outside the door. Now, the real star of our tract walks on: He is a plump, moustached image of The Sinner, from a mind whose moral compass is stuck firmly in the mid-1950's, when even bums and saddle-tramps always wore suits and ties. Granny holds up a hand and feebly begs Mr. Sinner for help. Needless to say, Mr. Sinner doesn't care a dime for the poor old lady lying on the pavement and growls: "Hey, you old drunk, get out of my way!"
Of course, we see evil people walking over humble, saintly invalids who have fallen in their paths all the time. There's even an expensive Italian shoe made especially for rich businessmen to trample over those less fortunate---(although I'm still trying to find it on-line to order it). Just like the child in Somebody Loves Me, unsaved people regularly step over injured and dying people while they beg for help, right? And clinging cockroach demons crawl out of rock records and turn people into homos and believe in evolution, too!
In response to Granny's plea for help, Mr. Sinner snarls "No, I don't want to get involved! Just crawl over to the wall, so I can get through, okay?" Mr. Sinner's face is so distorted with hate that it looks like a Halloween mask. Granny agrees and literally crawls before Mr. Sinner like a wounded dog. As Mr. Sinner turns to go into the drug store, Granny, obviously a full-blown Chickite Christian says:
"Thank you anyway. God bless you. I'll be praying for you." Mr. Sinner snarls back: "Pray for yourself, you little old creep."
Here we have an essential part of the Chickite's grab-bag of Spiritual Weaponry (believe at your own risk): The belief that, no matter how badly pummeled, mistreated and abused, the disciple of St. Chick continues to love, bless and pray for the sinner who mistreats them, firm in the knowledge that they will someday get to see the bad person crawling before Jesus-Hovah-Bird the Light-bulb-headed, just before being dragged off by a regretful-looking angel to plummet into Hell, going: "YAAAHHH!!!" Now THAT'S revenge! Talk about the Ultimate "I told you so!"
While Mr. Sinner (pat. pending) stalks into the store, Granny, still sitting on the sidewalk, prays: "Dear Lord, I don't know his name, but You know him. He's in deep trouble." (This gal really relishes the role of Martyr!)
The daughter comes out and helps Mom up. While this is happening, a shadowy demon figure hovering nearby declares: "She was praying! I heard her! Where's Molech?" Thus, we introduce another ego-boosting Chick belief: That demons flee in panic over the simplest True Christian Prayer, especially if the prayer comes from a true "Prayer Warrior" who is trying to convert one of Satan's "special" people. This salves the wounded egos of Christians who might have begun to doubt in the power of their Magic Genie God. Chick here reinforces the delusion that the entire hierarchy of Hell, up to and including Satan Himself, always scramble in panic trying to avoid the all-powerful prayers of the mighty, magical men and women of God.
Snoopy shadow demon is apparently a supervisor, for when he finds Molech, he chews him out: "Where have you been? Where's your assignment, Joe Bronson?" [Mr. Sinner's real name]. Molech explains that he was resting in the car while "Big Joe" was in the store. "You DON'T rest! Stay with him 24-7. Big Joe is our treasure! We can't lose him!"
Okay, this is a classic Chick; we've seen this dozens of times before: The soul of "Big Joe, Satan's Treasure" is so important that Satan himself will stop floating tables and tripping teenage girls in gym class, just to keep those nasty thoughts whispered in Big Joe's ears. (What a guy!)
The next panel is definitely a keeper: The Christian daughter drives by with her injured mother waving and smiling from the window, calling out that she'll never forget The Sinner. "There goes that old broad," snarls Evil Joe, while Molech asks his superior who the old broad is. "Oh, NO!" cries the elder devil, "That's Annie Taylor! I thought she died in China!"
Here we have another ego booster to all those poor, battered Chickites who have really tried to live by every rule of of Chick's theology, blessing bullies through a busted mouth, only to have no one see the light, get saved or even be mildly impressed. More likely the Chickite gets beaten up and bullied regularly, once his peers realize that he is an easy mark; take it from a fool who really tried to live by the "turn the other cheek" principle from childhood through my teenage years. Chickites, especially, young or newly-converted ones, have an enormous recidivism rate, about as bad as 12-step programs do. Others drift into some less-odious version of Christianity, while many will deliberately turn away from Christ altogether and seek their religious satisfaction elsewhere (guilty as charged!).
But just when the newly-redeemed Child of God is thinking about giving it all a miss, St. Chick tosses his bruited and abused doggies a bone: What good Chickite could resist being the terror of demons worldwide, plus the Magic Jesus Superpowers: Entire bands of angels to do their bidding and Jesus Himself to answer every question and keep them safe from every peril. And when they get suckered, battered, beaten, raped and robbed, when the hopeless alcoholic/addict, child molester, with bi-polar or other disorders, tries to self-treat themselves with prayer and scripture reading or when their life is devastated and the "magic answers from Above" don't help any (or actually make things worse), they only have to remind themselves:
"Satan Himself knows my name and the very devils tremble at my witnessing and prayers, no matter that I get beaten up and robbed all the time, have never been laid and had my leg amputated in that car accident last week---That's all just a deposit on my Heavenly Mansion. I can't wait to die and live forever young!" What a super-ego trip!
Now, as Joe drives away, his personal demon mutters in his ear: "Joe, doesn't she remind you of Aunt Louise?" Joe glaringly declares: "I HATE Aunt Louise!" The demon tells him to remember their plan: "Today we destroy Wilson." (Could Aunt Louise be a pivotal character later? In a Chick Tract? You bet!)
Here, the story falls into a two-dimensional office drama that resembles a really sucky episode of a bad 1950's drama, maybe one of those "educational" black-and-white 16mm things from elementary school; the characters have all the depth of tissue paper and the plot couldn't be more obvious if it was all spelled out in flashing neon signs.
Big Joe makes an unexpected appearance at the office, being sour and unpleasant to the underlings, who mutter about how much they hate him. Joe sticks his head into the boss' office with a smile like a lipless baboon. He's holding up a gift-wrapped present and wishes the boss a happy birthday. The boss invites him in to sit down; apparently, Joe has been brown-nosing the boss for some time. Joe asks to close the door and lets the cat out of the bag on the transgressions of a co-worker---Wilson, of course. Apparently, Wilson has done the unthinkable. He---he---I can't say it---he TALKED BADLY about the boss behind his back! (GASP!)
Next frame, Joe and Molech are driving away with Molech congratulating Joe over the way the boss had taken the bait. It seems Joe's boss is slightly more gullible than Silly Putty and will fire anybody over the simplest hearsay; their years of dedication and hard work don't count for squat. (Maybe he works in the Whitehouse? Haw-haw!)
At the top of the panel is a time notation: 7 pm. This is a common Chick device to make the potential convert feel pressed for time. Joe is grinning like a hungry wolf as he anticipates stealing Wilson's job. Molech reassures him that "we're family" and "We'll take care of you." (Kids, if a demon starts to talk to you to say how much he loves you, do NOT believe him! Even Satanists know this is a signal from below to back-off on the drug use.)
Monday morning, sure enough, Wilson has been fired and declares Joe a good friend and that it was just a necessary cut-back. (Apparently, Mr. Casey never even his employee a chance to hear or respond to the charges.) Now, grinning so hard that his remaining hair stands on end, Joe is called into Mr. Casey's office and---guess what---is given Wilson's old job.
Another time mark says "6 months later" and Mr. Casey has died. The worried-looking workers declare that if Joe becomes the boss, they'll all quit. But no, it seems he's been kicked upstairs to "top management in New York."
Meanwhile, down in the pit, Satan Himself, who looks like an anti-Semitic caricature from 1930's Nazi propaganda, instructs a bowing Molech: "Molech, Joe Bronson will become our star in politics. He will have incredible wealth! You'd better keep your eye on him, because he is invaluable to us." Trembling in abject terror, Molech answers: "Yes, Master!"
"5 Years Later," evil Joe is sitting in a mansion, with a stereotypical Butler standing by. His wife yells that his Aunt Louise is on the phone. "NO!" screams Joe, "I won't talk to her. I hate her!" Joe's wife lies and tells Aunt Louise that Joe is out. "Okay," say Aunt Louise over the phone, "just tell him that I love him."
Here we have Chick's anodyne for all those believers who have former friends and family members who, now that they've become "right with the Lord," can't stand to be around them anymore. Chick interprets this as the terror and rage of the demon-obsessed, unsaved world against the glowingly-radioactive powers of the True Born-again Christian: I guess that's a lot more palatable than the notion that the Christian themselves may have had a little something to do with their own lack of popularity. (Ya think?)
In the next panel, we have our old victim, St. Annie the Fallen-and-can't-get-up, who is still praying for Joe, months after meeting him from below on the sidewalk. Chick shows Annie casting her extra-special, super-duper Christian curse: "Do whatever it takes to save him."
This is a threat that was played on me a lot as a child and which is a popular threat in Christianity's arsenal of mind-control weapons: I'll "pray for you," generally said with a sadistic grin and a gimlet glare. (I'm sorry, kids, but according to SSt. Isaac Bonewits, that's still cursing.)
And, being a Chick tract, the Chickite's wish is God's command: "1 week later," Joe's wife is screaming that the market has crashed and they are broke, ruined. Chick, apparently, is trying to be "current" by linking his fairy tale to the current economic times.
The next two panels show Joe's degradation: First, Joe and wife are forced to beg his wife's father to let them move into the father's ramshackle, rat-infested shot-gun shack; next, Joe is in line for a soup kitchen, thinking morosely: "I can't get any lower." (Oh yes we can! Just wait and see where Chick tosses you!)
Back in Hell, Satan growls at a cowering Molech: "If you give up on Joe Bronson, I'll destroy you." (How, one wonders. Wouldn't extinction be preferable to an eternity of suffering; or does Satan mean that Molech will be demoted to the ranks of screaming sinners, shouting "Jesus is LORD!" and "Where are the missionaries?" forever and ever? Only Chick knows for sure!) Molech declares that Joe needs money and asks that Joe win the lottery. "That's been overdone," snarls Satan, who commands Molech to come up with a better idea. (Brace yourself, the "solution" is even more overdone!)
Now we find Joe sitting on the sidewalk, with a sign on his lap that says: "Will Work for Food." Molech, standing nearby, has apparently just hit on a plan. Just as this happens, we get to see a stock character in Chick comics: The Friendly Christian Stranger (FCS) who is there to give Joe his official last chance. This trick is an excellent psychological terrorist tactic: "What if this gabbling Christian who's warning me about hell is actually my LAST CHANCE? I better get saved! I might die any second! Better hurry!!! (PANIC!!! PANIC!!!)"
As FCS starts to witness to Joe, ruggedly-handsome-not-a-homo angel with a sword grabs Molech by the neck and hauls him away, scowling disapprovingly. Here we have another, more subtle, ego booster to the hard-core Christian witness: The very angels appear and shoo the demons away when they witness; and EVERY opportunity to witness is always of the utmost importance, because it might be THE SINNER'S LAST CHANCE!
FCS asks Joe how he's doing. "Lousy," answers Joe, "I wish I were dead." This gives Friendly Christian his chance to leap in and really heap on the suffering and terror, warning Joe that his soul lives on in screaming, burning torment, because Jesus loves him so much. Despite the fact that America has been SATURATED to the breaking point by Christian religious beliefs for the past two centuries, Joe is almost completely oblivious to the concept of an afterlife or the Christian plan of salvation.
Now comes the obligatory John 3:16 money shot, an unusual one, this time; instead of already hanging off the cross, Jesus is nailed to the cross and being raised by the Romans. I'm actually surprised that there aren't streams of blood and gore coruscating off of him, like in most Chick crucifixion scenes. The obligatory "I am the Way---" quote and the warning to accept this "Gift" is given. Whereupon, Joe pulls the old Chick dodge which always results in the sinner going to Hell: "I'll give you my answer tomorrow." (Dramatic and vaguely-threatening orchestra music.) FCS warns Joe that tomorrow may be too late, to which Joe replies: "Ha ha! I'll take my chances." (NOTE: Not "Haw haw haw!" A bad omen?)
Walking home, Joe thinks about the possible truth of FCS's words, while faithful little Molech tugs at his coat and warns: "Joe, don't swallow that baloney!" Meanwhile, a seriously strong windstorm is kicking up.
As Joe arrives home, his wife is calling for him to come answer the phone; it's "some lawyer" calling to tell him that someone has died. And it's TA-DAAAHH!! AUNT LOUISE! (The same Christian that loved Joe until the end, but forgot to teach him anything about Christ.) "So why are you calling me?" asks Joe of the lawyer. It seems that in leu (as in Lucifer) of telling Joe about Jesus, Aunt Louise left Joe two million dollars.
This, apparently, was Molech's plot to make Joe rich again. But how did he do it? Did he get a message to God, asking Him to kill Aunt Louise; or do the demons know in advance when people are going to die? They were taken by total surprise by the Resurrection, they'll be caught with their Spandex down when the Rapture occurs, but they can set it up for a good Christian to die, just so an evil man can inherit their money. Hmmm---
With his arms in the air and glowing with jagged-edged electricity like a new convert, Joe declares that Aunt Louise has saved him and he'd always loved her. And then the capper: "I don't need Jesus! It was Aunt Louise who saved me! I'm Rich! Money---money---money---I love it!"
Now the final curtain falls---or should we say, tree. In our last time notation, Chick notes ominously: "2:47 am-winds hit 100 mph." With a loud crash, the tree outside of father-in-law's shack falls over. The next panel shows Joe's wife discovering him impaled through the heart by a tree limb. The mandatory quotes about "Thou fool, this night thy soul shall be required of thee," to really let the trembling, sweaty terror of Jesus and His Fiery Playground really sink in, good and proper.
We don't get to see Joe trembling before the giant Light Bulb Head God on the throne, nor the obligatory "YAAAAHHH!!!" into Hell, but we know they happened because Molech and Satan are talking about it. "Congratulations, Molech," says Satan, as the medics carry out Joe's sheet-draped cadaver, "Joe's soul is in Hell, screaming and cursing at Aunt Louise. That was a close one." Molech smiles and says: "We won because most people love money more than Jesus." Satan smiles back and says: "Amen!"
Last panel is a Chick classic: Both Satan and Molech glare out of the panel, with flames festooned about them, while Satan says: "We're after your soul! And we're gonna get it, if it's the last thing we do!" Cue classic Chick back-panel with the plan of salvation and marching orders for the next religious recruit!
RATING: Double D for "Dementedly Delightful." Return to Tracts Page.
"WHO IS HE?" (Guest Review by Real-life Satanist, Terrible Tommy. )
It’s really very simple: In the Chickiverse, only true Born-AgainTM Christians are pretty or have any intelligence at all. Everyone else is usually ugly, stupid and never even HEARD the name “Jesus.” This is in utter abeyance to the fact that many (not all, but many) “good Christians” are not exactly rocket scientists OR swimsuit models; but one of Chick’s favorite propaganda tools is portraying sinners becoming instantly prettier and smarter, practically omniscient, once they get saved.
This little offering is a total screed for that stereotype, set against the usual Chick backdrop of revisionist “religious history.” We start off with a room full of confused, contentious, UGLY people, gabbling about Jesus with all the comprehension of extras in a really bad 1950’s laxative commercial. We hear such erudite commentary as: “Jesus was a Muslim!” “Liar! He’s the Christmas baby!” “Jesus---isn’t that a swear word?” A spitting-image caricature of Louis Farrakhan declares: “He was a revolutionary and a black man!” One obviously effeminate chap, with an earring and a martini, declares “I believe he was Buddha’s cousin.” The only half-way decent looking person in this bunch of distorted dim-bulbs is one short-haired bespectacled nerd who seems to actually know something about Jesus. My favorite is a biker dude, with a picture of Fang on his jacket, who declares: “Jesus Christ never lived. It was all a hoax.” (The Fang Riders? Fang’s Puppies?)
Here we have the fanatical Protestant’s view of the unsaved world and the central reason for the child-like desperation of the Chickite: The unsaved world, in addition to being evil and totally run by the Vatican, knows slightly less about Jesus and True Christian salvation than it does about medieval French literature or nuclear physics. The fact that “the world” has been saturated and OVER-saturated with Jesus and the plan of salvation doesn't even enter into the equation. The Christian (especially the Chickite) really thinks if they mention Jesus just one more time, give the wavering sinner one more Chick tract, the floodgates of Heaven will open and the sinner will accept Jesus and magically glow with “Salvation Radiation” (pat. pending.)
It seems to have completely escaped the notice of Chick that he has already sold over 800 MILLION TRACTS! Even if we assume that 50% of these tracts get tossed, that’s still 400 MILLION tracts! Does Chick think that these tracts were all for nothing? Apparently, yes. Why else would he need to produce millions more with additional straw man sinners to knock down with such smug, contrived arguments?
This formula, more often than not, makes anyone who doesn't "see the light" look like an absolute idiot. We run into that very situation in the next page following the confused crowd scene. Chick has a word panel that declares: “He is the MOST IMPORTANT PERSON you will ever meet. Whatever you do with Him determines whether you go to heaven or hell.”
Well, never accuse Chick of being shy about sharing his loving message: “Believe in Jesus or burn in Hell forever.” Sure enough, in the next panel, Radioactive Jesus is glowing like a microwave while Chick declares: “Jesus did things that only God can do.” He then goes on to list an entire stack of miracles performed by the God-man: Curing the blind, healing lepers, casting out demons and raising the dead.
According to Biblical skeptics, however, there are three major problems with Chick’s story: One, the “miracles” he attributed to Jesus were all originally attributed to a Messiah figure known as Apollonius of Tyana; the cribs are completely unmistakable. Second, Jesus himself said that his followers would be able to do all that he could do “and more so.” (That didn't quite pan out now, did it?) Finally, Chick starts off claiming all of Christ’s miracles as proof that he was God---and that’s the biggest problem of all. I have checked with numerous Jewish websites and they all agree: The Messiah was NEVER supposed to be anything but an ordinary human being, born of human parents, with direct descent from King David by way of his FATHER: Mary’s heritage, which wasn't through Solomon, anyway, was not qualified to provide the necessary Patriarchal succession. If Joseph was Jesus’ PHYSICAL father, then he wasn't any kind of “God-man”; he was never supposed to be.
Here we have the essential split between Peter’s branch of Christianity, where Jesus was just a God-anointed man, with the strictly Jewish sect run by Jesus’ actual brothers and immediate disciples, versus the proto-Osirian, Paganized Pauline version, run by Paul, who borrowed bits of a dozen Pagan “rebirth” sects to make his messiah supernatural, the same magical messiah presented by Chick.
An old Witch’s proverb might be apropos at this point: “The more a man endeavors to persuade you to his opinion, the less truth that opinion is sure to hold.” This is Chickite Christianity in five black aces. The sweating desperation to witness and convert us Heathen to Heaven, by whatever means are necessary.
Here, Chick presents the long list of supposedly-fulfilled prophecies about Jesus from the Old Testament. “The chances of fulfilling all of them are about a zillion to one. He is what He claimed to be---The Son of God!”
But again, the Biblical scholars make some compelling arguments: They point out that almost all of these prophecies are not about a Messiah figure, but represented the people of Israel themselves. And the few that actually ARE Messiah properties, Jesus failed to fulfill. His own prophecies also came to naught, making Jesus a false prophet, at least by Old Testament standards. Case in point: “There will be some standing here, which shall not taste of death, till they see the Son of man coming in his kingdom.” Oops! Somebody Goofed!
If you don’t believe me -- a self proclaimed Satanist who enjoys and collects Chick tracts (and sometimes even writes about them for a pro-Chick site), then, I strongly recommend that you check out “Matthew---A gospel for Messianic Jews,” to be found at http://www.jesusneverexisted.com/matthew.htm. It completely debunks the Messianic prophecies about Jesus in greater detail (at least in my humble none-Christian opinion).
Now we have one of the most truly oddball panels in all of Chick's tracts. Light-bulb headed Jehovah is sitting on the Throne, with Jesus, who is ALSO a glowing faceless giant, standing beside him. (But where is Bird God, the Holy Ghost, one wonders?) The divine duo is “surrounded by an army of angels to serve and worship Him.” Talk about narcissistic, Jehovah-Jesus is the Poster Child for self adulation.
Now Chick really slathers on the “fear of God” terror trip so well rehearsed in true Fundamentalist tradition. He goes into salivating detail about the powers of old Three-in-one: “IT’S AWESOME!” he declares mistily, quoting the verse about “All things were created by him and for him.” Chick shows a montage of beings, from flowers and ants, up to a sword-wielding angel contending with a demon and stars and planets. “What holds the universe from flying apart? It’s Jesus!” Astrophysicists should not be allowed to read that line, less they hurt themselves from laughing too hard. Chick portrays the solar system resting in Jesus’ nail-pierced hand. (But wouldn't the sun fall through the hole?)
Then Chick shows the glories of Heaven and heaps on the guilt: Jesus left all that, just so He could be born, die and rise again, just to save you from the sin of Eve eating the pomegranate. He shows Baby Jesus allowing Himself “to be born in a smelly stable.” Under a picture of an angel announcing the birth to the startled shepherds in the fields, Chick asks: “Why on earth do we need a Saviour(sic)?” Chick's answer, of course, is that Jesus came to save us from ourselves. (Satanists don't buy that, and we're not the only ones. But I digress...)
Chick lays on “The Only Hope” trip hot and heavy here: He shows a spot-lit naked sinner, trembling before God, then a repenting sinner on all fours, begging Jesus for forgiveness. In the next panel, an angel is holding the door to Heaven and welcoming the jubilant soul inside.
Then, as if Chick enjoys gore and degradation, he shows several scenes depicting the trial and crucifixion of Jesus. Chick apparently loved Mel Gibson’s “Passion of the Christ,” because his comic scenes seem to have been lifted straight from the movie. Mel may be a demon-obsessed, Hell-bound Catholic, but that doesn't mean that Chick can’t borrow some of his masochistic mojo. After all, a good 80% of Chick’s doctrines were borrowed from those same Satan inspired Catholics, so what's another 1%?
He concludes this epic with the risen Jesus being “seen by over 500 witnesses.” (But wouldn't it have been great if some independent source confirmed this, along with all the dead saints who supposedly came out of their graves at the same time? Surely, a few Jews or Romans should have noticed that!) It’s at this point that Chick shows Heaven lined with happy saints, declaring that the saved will get to return with Christ to “reign with Him.” As if to kill the buzz, Chick then warns: “JESUS IS COMING SOON, SOONER THAN YOU THINK!” Of course, Chick has been preaching the same “any second now” sermon for sover 50 years---and Christianity has been preaching it for about 2,000 years! You can bet that in a million or so years, whenever the sun finally does explode, the smug doomsday Christians will be just dying to say, "See! I told you so."
“Whether you accept Him or reject Him, there’s one thing you can’t get away from---you will face Jesus.” With this last needle of fear inserted into the prospective convert’s heart, Chick closes with the usual back-panel, with instructions on how to guarantee that the Lord won’t roast you forever since He loves you so much (assuming you recite his step-by-step prayer).
Grade: A+ for Apoplectically Adroit. Return to Tracts Page.
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