Monday, July 03, 2006

Jack Chick: The Man, The Myth, The Legend

When I was a young man just starting to explore the darker fringes of American politics, I had the good luck to stumble onto the works of Jack Chick. Chick is the author of hundreds of Protestant evangelical tracts (small comic books) notable for their melodramatic tone and bizarre conspiracy theories. Chick Publications had a deal at the time where you could send in seven dollars and they would mail you a single copy of every Chick tract in print (which was then was around fifty titles). On of my most treasured possessions in my library of fringe publications is my shoebox full of Chick tracts. I can’t even estimate how many hours I’ve spent hunched over one, laughing hysterically all the while. So I was quite thrilled to recently discover that Chick operates a website which allows users to see full versions of all of his current tracts, as well as many that are now out of print. Some of my personal favorites are listed below:

(It should probably be noted that Jack Chick doesn’t really qualify as a political extremist, at least not in the way I use the term on this site. He’s more concerned with saving individual souls than with instituting a theocratic regime in the U.S. However, his monolithic conspiracy theories and extreme Protestant fundamentalism put him close enough to the theocrats to warrant his inclusion here.)

This Was Your Life-This is the classic Chick tract. It lays out his views on sin and salvation, the basic themes that reoccur in all of his writings.

The Beast-The anti-Christ comes to earth and leads humanity down a path of wickedness. Apparently, some people get to become vampires and werewolves too, which is pretty cool.

The Death Cookie-An example of Chick’s extreme anti-Catholicism.

The Last Generation-Another classic. The “New Age Healers”, a group of pagan thugs, help the U.N. to institute a satanic one-world government.

Angels?-Shows how Christian rock is just another tool of the devil. I always wanted write a song whose main chorus was lifted from this tract: “We’re going to rock, rock, rock with the rock!”

Dark Dungeons-You know, I played Dungeons and Dragons as a kid. I can’t for the life of me remember ever being inducted into a pagan cult as a result.

The Gay Blade-Self-explanatory. I just want to add that I think the two queens on the fourth panel are hot.

The Hunter-Explains how Satan controls the illegal drug trade. I’ve seen a lot of people on drugs in my time. But I have never seen a person stare off into space for hours at a time while screaming “Yaaaaaaaahhh!”

Chick himself is a mysterious and reclusive figure. He’s currently about eighty years old, and has not granted an interview since 1975. The only known photo of him is from his high school yearbook. It’s possible that after he is gone, his company will close shop, as America’s Christian fanatics look for more sophisticated ways to spread their gospel. Ironically, those who may keep Chick’s memory alive for future generations are the sarcastic non-believers who now collect Chick tracts for their kitsch value. Chick, I’m sure, would not be pleased.


Blogger Elizabeth said...

Gotta love Chick...
The only time I was ever "in trouble" in high school was when I went head to head with my choir teacher for passing out Bibles with Chick tracks in the front and back. I remember one was the classic "AIDS is a scourge on the gays" track. Won that one pretty squarely.

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