Jack Chick: One Man’s Comic-Book Crusade For Humanity
Chick Career: one man’s comic-book crusade for humanity
Are you worried about the growing menace of the Homosexual-Catholic-Islamic-Satanist-Masonic-Alien conspiracy to promote evolutionism, fornication, pornography, pornography, paedophilia, pop music, alcohol and drugs?
Well in that case, it’s high time you got acquainted with Jack Chick – crazy name, crazy guy – and his body of enlightening works.
I first became aware of Jack when I purchased This Was Your Life for a few pence in a Christian bookshop many decades ago. Its primitive and unsubtle visual style intrigued me, as did the way it crudely homed in on the childlike insecurities that lurk within us. Here it is, animated for your convenience (with an extra ending that is definitely NOT in Jack’s original)…
But if the theme of the prodigal son is a familiar one, Jack’s other work takes us to nightmare scenarios far beyond the normal scriptural pastures, where the very existence of the human race hangs in the balance…
So who is Jack Chick? And how did this unlikely evangelist embark on his pioneering cartooning career?
According to his website, ‘As he grew, Jack was constantly drawing, and honing skills that God would later use in a great way.’
A great – some might say mysterious –way indeed.
Jack got off to an inauspicious start: ‘While in high school, none of the Christians would have anything to do with him because of his bad language. They all agreed not to witness to him, convinced that he was the last guy on earth who would ever accept Jesus Christ.’
After high school, Jack studied drama, went in the army, and eventually became an actor.
Then one day his mother-in-law insisted that he listen to Charles E Fuller’s Old Fashioned Revival Hour on the radio, during which Jack fell to his knees ‘and my life was changed forever’.
First he borrowed $800 from the credit union to fund the initial printing of Why No Revival?
Then, while out driving, Jack spotted some teenagers on the street. ‘At the time, I didn’t like teenagers or their rebellion,’ he recalled. ‘But, all of a sudden, the power of God hit me and my heart broke and I was overcome with the realisation that these teens were probably on their way to hell. With tears pouring down my face, I pulled my car off the road and wrote as fast as I could, as God poured the story into my mind.’
The result? A Demon’s Nightmare
Jack’s boss told him that the Chinese people had been won over to Communism through mass distribution of cartoon booklets, and this planted the seed of a plan in his fertile mind.
When invited to speak at a local prison, he prepared a flip chart to illustrate his speech. So successful was his performance that ‘nine of the eleven inmates present trusted Christ as their Saviour’.
The artwork from his talk formed the basis of This Was Your Life, the seminal ‘Chick Tract’ mentioned earlier.
The early tracts were not an instant hit.
‘A lot of the bookstores were really outraged at some guy using these cartoons to present the gospel,’ remembered Jack. ‘They thought it was sacrilegious.’
Half a century later, however, with hundreds of tracts translated into a hundred tongues, Chick claims a combined sales figure of 750 million: ‘His burden has always been to get the gospel into the hands of millions of lost people around the world. He wanted to be a missionary himself, but his new wife wanted no part of missionary life. Her aunt had been a missionary in Africa. While pregnant, she was being carried across a river on a stretcher, when one of those carrying her lost a leg to an alligator. But God had other plans. He wanted Jack to stay home and produce effective gospel literature that missionaries could use to win the lost. As a result, many missionaries love Chick tracts and use them to reach multitudes they could never reach one on one. Today, over fifty years after writing his first tract, God is still giving Jack Chick new gospel tracts. In fact, he is now producing some of his most popular work. As of this writing, five of the ten most popular Chick tracts in stock have been written in the last year or two.’
Jack’s tracts bring new and vivid illustrations of Christian tenets. In The Execution, a murderer is spared the gallows – only to discover (to his horror) that his own mother offered to be hanged in his place, just as Jesus died for our sins. In Flight 144, a Christian couple who have spent 50 years doing good works around the world in God’s name are killed in a plane crash and refused entry to heaven because good works don’t save sinners – only God can. In Heart Trouble, a man visits a cardiologist who tells him that he will die (‘everybody dies’) and that everyone is born with a heart problem: ‘the ugly things down deep in your heart that we can’t see… But God does.’ In Lisa (now no longer available but posted online by Chick’s detractors) a doctor informs a father that he has given his young daughter an STD – then saves his soul by introducing him to Jesus. In Big Daddy? a crazed teacher throws a boy out of his class for questioning the theory of evolution.
And so on. Targets range from the world’s biggest religions, science, abortion and homosexuality through to Santa Claus, Halloween, Harry Potter, and Dungeons and Dragons.
Many people seem to find it amusing to republish the distinctive Chick Tracts online, with amended text that ridicules Jack’s urgent message.
Some claim that Jack is a bigot and a hater. Others, that he is delusional and mad.
The latter share their delight in Jack Chick’s nightmarish visions at The Chick Tract Club.
But for the real thing, and the fount of all such wisdom, visit the home of Chick and count your blessings.