The first Chick Tract I was ever exposed to was the infamous Dark Dungeon. If you’ve never heard of or experienced a Chick Tract you are missing out one of the singular most ridiculous and hilarious things you will ever be exposed to. The man’s work is something you have to experience at least once in your life.
*Note: As I’m sure you’re all too well aware of by this point I’m an agnostic atheist. With that being said when I first stumbled into Mr. Chicks wild ride I was a very religious kid. I tried to do what I thought God wanted me to do and not hurt anyone else in the process. But even Jesus-Freak-Josh knew these comics were nothing but hate filled bullshit, it took Teenage-Angry-Josh to see them as the (I hope) unintentional comedic genius they are.
If you’re not in any way familiar with Jack Chick and his “Holy Work” I’m providing the substance of the Wikipedia entry on him for your enjoyment. It’s long and I considered truncating it but honestly the more I read the more fascinated I became. It’s a scary rabbit hole and once I escaped I was uncertain whether Jack Chick is a real person or if he was created by the universe to act as a lightning rod of insanity.
Secretly I hope he’s an insane ultra Christian Batman. In my mind Jack is a crotchety old industrialist who only comes out onto his balcony to wave at reporters but at night he fights crime… by making asinine judgmental comics.
Okay, Jack Chick is not in any way like Batman.
Jack T. Chick – (Wikipedia)
Jack Thomas Chick (born April 13, 1924) is an American publisher, writer, and comic book artist of evangelical fundamentalist Christian tracts and comic books. His comics have been described by Los Angeles magazine as "equal parts hate literature and fire-and-brimstone sermonizing".
Chick's company, Chick Publications, claims to have sold over 750 million tracts, comics tracts and comic books, videos, books, and posters designed to promote Protestant evangelism from a Christian fundamentalist perspective or point of view. Many of these are controversial, as they accuse Roman Catholics, Freemasons, Muslims, and many other groups of murder and conspiracies, while Chick maintains his views are simply politically incorrect.
Chick's views have been spread worldwide, mostly through the tracts and now online. They have been translated into more than 100 languages. As evidenced from his writings and publications, Chick is an Independent Baptist who follows a premillennial dispensationalist view of the end times. He is a believer in the King James Only movement, which posits that every English translation of the Bible more recent than 1611 promotes heresy or immorality.
Chick was born in Boyle Heights, California. His family later moved to Alhambra, where Chick was active in the high school drama club. Chick's official biography notes that he was not religious in high school and was in fact avoided by Christian students, who believed "he was the last guy on earth who would ever accept Jesus Christ". After his graduation, he continued his drama education at the Pasadena Playhouse School of Theater on a two-year scholarship.
In February 1943, Chick was drafted as a private into the U.S. Army. He served for three years in the Pacific theater of World War II, serving in New Guinea, Australia, the Philippines, and Japan. Chick credits his time overseas for inspiring him to translate his tracts into many different languages and said he has "a special burden for missions and missionaries".
After the war, he returned to the Pasadena Playhouse and met his wife while working on a production there. Lola Lynn Priddle (1926–1998), a Canadian immigrant, came from a very religious family, and Chick's official biography describes her as "instrumental in his salvation". Priddle and her parents introduced Chick to the Charles E. Fuller radio show, the Old Fashioned Revival Hour, and Chick relates that he was converted while listening to an episode of this show. They married in 1948 and had one child, Carol, who died in 2001. In February 1998, Lola Lynn died, and Chick remarried.
In a 2005 issue of his company's newsletter, Battle Cry, Chick reported that he had suffered a life-threatening health emergency at some point in the previous two years, between 2003 and 2005. He gave further details of the circumstances: "My flu turned into pneumonia, my blood sugar dropped to 20 (I am diabetic)... I was going into a coma. My wife called 911 and while they were on the way, I had a heart attack. A day or so later I had to undergo a triple bypass."
Very little is known about Chick; he has given only one known professional interview since 1975. The lack of available public information about him has created some speculation that he was a pen name for unnamed author(s) or ghostwriters. Several audio cassettes of his preaching distributed to his subscribers purport to contain his voice. While he has never released a photo of himself for publication, purported photos of Chick have been published by others.
From 1953-1955 Chick drew a single panel cartoon (authored by P. S. Clayton) entitled "Times Have Changed?" which thematically predates both the "B.C." comic strip and The Flintstones animated cartoon. These were syndicated by the Mirror Enterprises Co. in Los Angeles area newspapers.
After converting to Christianity, Chick wanted to evangelize others, but was too shy to talk to people directly about religion. Chick heard from missionary Bob Hammond, who had broadcast in Asia on the Voice of America, that the Communist Party of China had gained significant influence among ordinary Chinese in the 1950s through the distribution of small comic books. Chick also began working with a prison ministry and created a flip chart of illustrations to use with his presentation. He hit upon the idea of creating witnessing tracts, which could be given to people directly or indirectly.
While working for the Astro Science Corporation in El Monte, California, he self-published his first tract, Why No Revival?, with a loan from his credit union in 1960 and wrote his second tract, A Demon's Nightmare, shortly afterward. He decided to create more tracts and began "using his kitchen table as an office and art studio." Christian bookstores were reluctant to accept the tracts, but they were popular among missionaries and churches.
Chick Publications was officially established in 1970 in Rancho Cucamonga, California. Initially, Jack Chick wrote and illustrated all of the comics himself, but in 1972 he hired another artist to illustrate many of the tracts. Fred Carter illustrated tracts anonymously until 1980, when he was identified in an issue of Chick's newsletter Battle Cry. Carter also painted the oil paintings seen in The Light of the World, a film Chick produced that relates the Christian gospel. The Smithsonian Institution's National Museum of American History included several Chick tracts in an exhibit on American pop culture.
A scene in Hell from the 1972 Chick tract "A Demon's Nightmare".
Chick Publications has released over twenty-three full-color "Chick comics" since its founding. They are full-size comic books and most were first published between 1974 and 1985. The first eleven form the Crusader comics series, which follows the stories of two fundamentalist Christians and addresses topics such as the occult, Bible prophecy, and the theory of evolution. Six comics present the testimony of anti-Catholic activist Alberto Rivera, who claimed that, as a Jesuit priest, he had become privy to many secrets about the Roman Catholic Church. Among Rivera's claims: He credits Catholicism with founding the Islamic religion, The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, as well as the Jehovah's Witnesses; starting the Holocaust; founding Communism, Nazism, and the Ku Klux Klan; starting the World Wars; masterminding the 1917 Russian Revolution, the Great Depression and the assassinations of U.S. Presidents Lincoln and Kennedy. There are also three independent comics, one telling stories from the King James Version of the Bible (Chick is pro-King James Onlyism), one relaying the claims of Charles Chiniquy regarding Catholicism, and one detailing Chick's opinions on Joseph Smith and the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints.
Chick Publications also distributes "Chick tracts", small comic tracts with religious messages. Most can be viewed in their entirety on the company's web site. The most popular Chick tract, "This Was Your Life", has been translated into around 100 languages, and many other tracts are available in widely spoken languages such as Arabic, German, Spanish, and Tagalog.
Chick's tracts cover subjects such as abortion, homosexuality, non-Protestant Christianity, the occult, rock music, left-wing politics, popular culture, J.K. Rowling's Harry Potter series, anti-Semitism, and the theory of evolution, generally in a very negative and conspiratorial light. Chick believes many of the world's problems are deliberately caused by the Roman Catholic Church.
Several of Chick's tracts have been translated into more obscure languages as Blue Hmong, Huichol, Ngiemboon, Tshiluba, and the artificial language of Esperanto.
Chick also claims that Satan and demons promote the occult through mystical and New Age beliefs, rock music (including Christian rock), Wicca, and fantasy role-playing games such as Dungeons & Dragons to deceive people and send them to Hell. Chick is opposed to abortion and preaches against pre-marital sex. He believes strongly that homosexuality is sinful, and makes reference to the Biblical story of Sodom and Gomorrah in tracts pertaining to homosexuality. He also is a Zionist, and claims that the Catholic Church is Israel's worst enemy. He also opposes attempts to resolve the Israeli–Arab conflict until Israel gets significantly larger than its current size, and also blames American support of those attempts for natural disasters that have struck America.
Chick's views have been criticized by some of the groups he targets, including neopagans and Catholic organizations. Wiccan author Kerr Cuhulain describes Chick and his theories as "anti-feminist" and "anti-pagan", notes that a Chick Publications comic book was the source of a Rapid City, South Dakota, police detective's presentation on the history of Satanism given in 1989, and describes him as "easily the least reputable source of reliable information on religious groups".
Many Catholic and Protestant organizations consider Chick to be intensely anti-Catholic, based on his various claims about the Roman Catholic Church. Chick responds to these accusations by saying he is opposed to the Roman Catholic Church as a sociopolitical organization but not to its individual members. On his "Roman Catholicism FAQ", Chick says he began publishing his theories about the Roman Catholic Church because "he loves Catholics and wants them to be saved through faith in Jesus". Catholic Answers calls Chick "savagely anti-Catholic", describes Chick's claims about the Catholic Church as "bizarre" and "often grotesque in their arguments", and calls for the tracts to be pulled from the market and corrected. In the early 1980s, Chick's stance on Catholicism led some Christian bookstores to stop stocking his tracts, and he withdrew from the Christian Booksellers Association after the association considered expelling him. Christianity Today described Jack Chick as an example of "the world of ordinary, nonlearned evangelicals", for whom "atavistic anti-Catholicism remains as colorful and unmistakable as ever". Michael Ian Borer, a sociology professor of Furman University at the time, showed Chick's strong anti-Catholic themes in a 2007 American Sociological Association presentation and in a peer-reviewed article the next year in Religion and American Culture.
To be honest I’d more or less forgotten about my bizarre fixation on Chick Tracts in the late 1990’s. Yes, I realize that is almost twenty years ago… I’m old, fuck you!
Sorry about that, my daughter just turned eighteen and it’s getting to me.
Anyway earlier in the year I discovered a YouTube channel called The Bible Reloaded. On this channel two guys, Hugo and Jake, read from the bible offering commentary as they do so. They also answer questions, offer commentary on events, and most importantly do audio performances of Chick Tracts. If you have never checked out Hugo and Jakes antics and genius please follow the link and give them a look-see before finishing this essay.
Or don’t, I’m not your fucking father.
So after all of that I have to inform you that my new favorite thing is NOT The Bible Reloaded or Hugo and Jake. If I’d been doing this series earlier in the year, the duo and their channel would have been on this list in a Detroit second. Alas that is not the case, but something they did more than qualifies as my new favorite thing.
In the Chick Tract Entitled “The Little Bride” we are introduced to the single greatest fictional religious character since Jesus, Eye Patch
Grandpa! To be fair Jesus is only better because he cursed a fig tree that one time. Eye Patch Grandpa, from here on out referred to EPG, is the person little Suzy goes to when her friends Beck and Tashana are thinking about converting to Islam. Follow the link, watch the video, and I swear to Tesla you’ll get some chuckles… and maybe wet yourself.
Hugo & Jake were good enough to answer a few of my questions.
1. How long have you guys been doing The Bible Reloaded?
Ummm, about 2 years now
2. How many Chick Tracts have you performed?
The short answer to that is we have done far too many, the shorter answer is about 23
3. Which ones were your favorites?
That’s hard to answer because all Chick Tracts are utterly insane in their own unique ways but if we have to pick it comes down to a 3 way tie. “Big Daddy” which includes every false bit of information ever put out by creationists, “Gomez is Coming” for it’s ridiculous characters and racial stereotypes, and third any of the tracts that include an appearance by that Eye patch Grandpa.
4. Did you read Chick Tracts as kids?
If by reading Chick Tracts you mean “suffer from crippling social anxiety that destroyed all my hopes for the future” then yes….but the more accurate answer to the question is no, no we did not.
5. Would you want to meet Jack Chick in real life?
Absolutely, not only that but we would by him a drink with the money we make riffing his life’s work. He will either be a senile old man or a mentally stable old man with crazy conspiracy theories; you can’t go wrong with those odds.
6. If you could ask him any ONE question what would it be?
The most important question, Kirk or Picard? We have a sinking feeling he might be a Deep Space 9 kind of guy though, and that is the one kind of person we will not tolerate.
7. Did you realize how great Eye Patch Grandpa is the first time you encountered him?
The first time we met him wasn’t even in a Chick Tract, we met one night in a New Orleans restaurant bar. He offered me a bite of his Jambalaya, the cayenne pepper tingled on my lips. The drink warmed my belly, and his single eye glistened while the tune of jazz flutes filled the air. Then, Eye Patch Grandpa touched my leg, ever so tenderly. Filled simultaneously with trepidation and lust, I reciprocated with an open mouthed kiss. His tongue tasted like the jambalaya mixed with the scotch we’d been toasting. We had our time in New Orleans, me and Eye Patch Grandpa… those were the good times… before Jack got his hands on the love of my life. To this day, I still look at the picture I took of Eye Patch Grandpa, still asleep in my bed after 17 straight hours of Earth-shaking coitus. I still have a limp, but it’s my limp. Our limp.
8. Is he your favorite Chick Character?
9. Do you think Jack Chick should do a spinoff series of comics staring Eye Patch Grandpa?
Only if he teams up with Harold Penisman, another classic Chick character. No one could stop that team.
10. Do you know his real name?
I don’t remember his name, just the way his lips tightened around my throbbing manhood. (our throbbing manhood? Tenses are hard)
11. Who would win in fight, Eye Patch Grandpa or a bear?
Does the Bear also have an eye patch? If so still the bear, it’s a fucking bear.
12. What if the bear had a machete?
Then Eye patch grandpa wins, bears lack the dexterity for such tools.
13. And body armor?
That implies Eye Patch Grandpa would be using a gun, which is an incorrect assumption. Bare hands all the way…or Bear hands, whichever
14. Do you think Jack Chick based Eye Patch Grandpa on himself?
Jack Chick wishes he could be as suave as Eye Patch Grandpa
15. What if the bear had a flamethrower?
Looks like Eye Patch Grandpa is going to have to disarm the bear to ensure the nearby orphans can feast upon roasted bear corpse…again
EXTRA BONUS MATERIAL!!!
Q&A With Eye Patch Grandpa
I managed to track down Eye Patch Grandpa a few weeks ago and he was kind enough to answer some questions. Actually I had to swear I wasn’t an agent of the Bilderberg Group or the Trilateral Commission before he’d agree to sit down with me. He also demanded a bottle of 50 year old bourbon.
Hi EPG, can I call you EPG?
- You can call me anything you want as long as you keep the bourbon flowing.
Can you tell me how you lost your eye?
- Didn’t you watch the damn video?! That damn olive skinned Muslim woman took it out with an ice pick!!!
I heard you lost it in brothel outside Saigon because you refused to pay for a half and half.
- … (Just stares blankly at me with his one good eye.)
Not going to answer that?
- Boy, just because I only have one eye doesn’t mean I can’t still shoot a gun.
Alright then, can you answer to the allegation that you’re actually Jack Chick?
- That man wishes he was me! I met him once, it was in Ethiopia in the 1980’s and we were taking food from orphans. That bastard forgot it was okay to steal from the brown people but you never screw over the white man! Sumbitch stole one of my Twinkies so I kicked him in the tally whacker!
So the two of you stole food from kids in a famine torn country?
- Hell yeah we did, the two of us and Sally Struthers! We ended the trip doing body shots off Sally’s ass while Jack iced his jumpin beans!
Are you saying Jack Chick used you in his comics without your permission?
Yes Sir, you are a character in at least two of his Chick Tract religious comics.
- That son of a whore!
*It was at that point when EPG flipped the table we were sitting at and stormed out of the coffee shop. All I heard as he left was something about getting his gun and dog and finding that Twinkie stealing bastard. I wish him well in his endeavors.
I hope I’ve made my case for why EPG is my new favorite thing. I’ve shown the video to everyone I can force to sit and watch and by the time Grandpa starts going on about the olive skinned woman they have been laughing their butts off.
Till next time Boils and Ghouls!