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The Third Man
One of the operators at Chick Publications claimed all artwork in the tracts were produced by either Jack Chick or Fred Carter, except for one tract (maybe even two)-- the title of which they can't currently recall. We've devoted this wing to considering which tract is from this unknown Third Man. Please email your comments or theories to us as well.
I have a couple of theories about this third artist that didn't work out. I agree with you about The Fool, it's definitely a possibility. I think the Tahitian version of This Was Your Life might be another, because of the art changes on the cover. I am also thinking about The Last Generation as another possibility. The artwork inside in too complex for Jack, yet it seems kind of sloppy for Fred's work considering that he did tracts before and after The Last Generation came out and they are all better quality work. What do you think?
Dear John H,
Your guesses are actually the same as mine. In fact, I already ran them up the flag pole at Chick but nobody saluted. Once I saw that Tahitian version of TWYL, I thought for sure that was the 3rd Man's, but I was told it was Carter. Apparently, Chick did The Fool himself. Occasionally, the Chickster can be a trickster! The Last Generation looks to be painted instead of illustrated, hence the obvious difference from clean line art so common in Carter's other tracts. The point that also undermines Last Generation from being a candidate is that several panels have changed over time and yet the style appears identical. (Though Carter is probably good enough to copy another artist's style.)
The only clue I can think of that might help provide an answer is that I was told the third man "didn't work out." That would suggest his quality wasn't up to par. The other hint I was recently provided is that the third man did Bible Story tracts around 1987, and that Fred Carter redid the art. So it's very possible it's a rare variation of a tract we're familiar with in another form. The plot thickens! Any other theories?
(John's response) I have some info about the possibilities for this "third artist". You said it was about 1987, and it was a Bible tract. I've included a list of all of the Bible tracts from 85-89. This should narrow down our discussions.
1985 - FIRST JAWS, THE
1986 - FIRE STARTER?
1986 - TERMINATOR?
1987 - GREATEST STORY EVER TOLD
1987 - MISS UNIVERSE
1989 - Doom Town
Good guesses John, but we were given wrong dates. It was apparently more recent, like 1989 through 1991! I was told "the faces didn't look quite right". Sure enough, if you examine the tracts below, you'll notice different facial characteristics... they are longer and skinner, more plain and less attractive, more cartoonish and not as realistic, the noses tend to be long and skinny on top and knobby at the bottom. Many of these tracts have since received a "face lift" by Fred Carter, who literally replaced faces or entire panels! Check 'em out:
Burn Baby Burn- The story of Shadrach, Meschach, and Abednego (©1991): Unchanged except for page 19 (somewhere between "A" version and 6.6).
Doom Town- The story of Sodom (©1989 and again in 1991): Original cover featured a crumbling city on the cover. Then it was changed to a skull and cross bones floating over the horizon of a city line. Sometime after the "E" version (1991), the story was completely redrawn by carter and encapsulated within the modern context of a Gay rally.
The Dreamer- The story of Joseph (©1990 and again in 1991): After the original "A" version, many of the faces were redrawn. Joseph now looks more handsome and similar to Michael Landon. The weird part is that the original "A" version was copyrighted 1991, and the newer revamped version was copyrighted 1990!
Earthman- The story of Adam and Eve (©1990): Sometime between the "A" and "F" version, much of the tract was redrawn by Carter (especially the faces).
Empty Tomb- The Resurrection of Christ (©1990): Sometime after the "C" version, the tract was modified by Carter (mostly replacing faces of Jesus).
Killer Storm- The story of Noah (©1991): The art looks unchanged from the original.
Outsider- The story of Ruth (©1991): This one is tough to judge. Some of the faces look like Carter's in the original "A"version, while others don't. It's possible this one was modified from the very start (it was released 1991, the last year the third artist did any work for Chick.) This may have been the last tract he did and therefore, subject to modifications before every being released. Other minor changes appeared in the "C" version.
Plagues- The story of Moses, part 1 (©1991): Sometime after the "B" version, several panels were redrawn by Carter, especially ones of Pharaoh.
Royal Affair- The story of David and Bathsheba (©1990 and again 1993): The original artwork was completely redrawn by Carter after the "B" version (in 1993). The story was given a more modern opening scene with a court room trial for sexual harassment. Chick reissued this tract during the impeachment of President Bill Clinton. Coincidence?
Superman- The story of Samson (©1990): The art remains unchanged from the original, although Carter apparently redrew the Charles Atlas silhouette and replaced it with a detailed image of Samson pulling down the temple walls.
Latest developments: We were informed (through old records found at Chick Publications) that the third artist had the same name as a man very famous in commercial art, and the style could be a match as well. However, that man's agent denies he ever did work with Chick Publications. Of course, he might be denying it to avoid controversy, or who knows why. So we have a name, but not necessarily a positive identification! The entire mystery/ controversy over who exactly was the third artist to work at Chick Publications is covered in our book in great detail. If you would like to follow up on all the details of this hotly debated question, or view all the evidence as to who the mysterious artist is, read the chapter called "Mystery Men." It will amaze you!
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