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Haw Haw Haw!


Demented fundamentalist comic-tract impresario Jack Chick, arguably the most widely circulated comic-book artist in history (with 750 million copies of his tracts sold, according to Chick Publications' website), died Sunday at the age of 92 to go to be with his beloved lightbulb-headed God. A message posted Monday on the company's Facebook page informs us that Chick "passed away Sunday evening, October 23, peacefully in his sleep" and promised fans,

Nothing changes:

The Method

The Vision

The Purpose

Here is lightbulb-head God welcoming Chick home:

The message said Chick will "be interred in a small private ceremony," although we feel it might have been truer to his mission in life if his ashes were scattered at an assortment of bus station restrooms, left on diner counters in lieu of tips, and distributed to disappointed children on Halloween.

Chick's comics are, of course, classics of American Crap/Folk/Fundamentalist art, in which an astonishing number of characters have never once heard of this "Jesus" fellow or His ability to grant eternal salvation. In Chick comics, Satan and demons are very real, and trick people into damnation through occult stuff like Dungeons and Dragons, Ouija Boards, the celebration of Halloween, and TV shows like Bewitched that make light of witchcraft. Other tracts warned of the spiritual dangers of teaching evolution, the gay rights movement, and even the environmentalist cult of Gaia that totally made up "Global Warming." Other instruments of the Devil include false religions like Catholicism, Mormonism, and of course any non-Christian faith -- while Chick's favorite boogeyman was always Catholicism, since 9/11 he substantially expanded his offerings condemning Islam as well, while dropping references to International Communism as a threat to God and America.

Pretty much the entire Chick oeuvre -- even the out of print ones! -- is available to read online, so you can get saved and maybe order a few hundred copies to distribute at church and to your unsaved friends. There are also entire websites devoted to analyzing and mocking the tracts, because they're so deliciously warped in their very simple "everything will send you to Hell" messages, like the one up top, the surprise twist ending to "Somebody Goofed!" in which we find out that the rational-talking Bible debunker who's been telling the main character he doesn't need Jesus is in fact Satan Himself!

One of our personal favorite Chick Tracts is "Dark Dungeons," in which a mild-mannered game of Dungeons and Dragons turns out to be a secret recruiting ritual for real actual witches, who apparently can do real actual magic, like Debbie here. But beware: your face might get stuck like that!

The problem with Chick's anti-witchcraft agenda -- he hated the Harry Potter books, too, needless to say -- was of course that if D & D really were the gateway to people casting real spells, there'd be a hell of a lot of nerds out there actually practicing magic and doing wizardry, instead of just rolling 20-sided dice. Despite the supposed pervasiveness of witchy covens, there seems to be a real dearth of people being turned into frogs. Also, we are reasonably sure the number of teens committing suicide because their D & D character dies in a raid is near zero. We don't have the stats (or the stats sheet), but we'll just call it unlikely.

When the news of Chick's passing was announced on Twitter, fans were quick to mourn:

You'll also be delighted to know that in 2014, "Dark Dungeons" was adapted into a movie, with Jack Chick's permission, in a remarkably faithful adaptation which Wired praised for not being noticeably a parody: since the source material is insane to start with, playing it completely straight makes it funnier.

Chick saw threats from demons and secularists and Catholics and Mormons at every turn, and his "scientists" are some of the most hilariously intolerant morons ever to see print. You see, science is just a false religion anyway, so of course they're idiots, like this biology teacher who threatens to call the police on a Christian student who mentions that the Bible says evolution isn't true:

Or these wacky climate researchers who reject Christ but happily admit they worship pagan idols:

We're especially impressed that Chick went to the trouble of pixelating the "Venus of Willendorf's" naughty bits. So stop worrying about CO2 emissions -- Jesus has His hand on the thermostat, and nothing we do could ever make the planet unlivable.

If you really want to go into the weeds and learn far more about Chick than any sane person should know (which we like to think is a fairly typical profile of a Wonkette reader), go check out Daniel Raeburn's exhaustive 1998 exploration of all things Chick in Issue 2 of his zine The Imp. Raeburn delves into Chick's bizarro conspiracy theories about the Catholic Church's domination of history (including his claim that the Vatican maintains a computer database of every Protestant in the world, for nefarious purposes), as well as what Raeburn calls Chick's "hardcore Protestant pornography," in which Chick adapts many of the tropes of porn (minus the nudity) to the service of stories filled with degradation and humiliation, eventually leading to "the inevitable seduction and submission to Jesus Christ." It's good stuff, and the summary of one of Chick's earliest tracts, the horrific (but allegedly moving) "Somebody Loves Me" is spare but 100% accurate: "A child is beaten to death by his father and goes to heaven. The End. It’s the worst thing Chick has ever done; it’s also as effective as anything he’s ever done. In fact, it’s really well-done." If you're into Salvation snuff comix, at least.

We're glad to know that the inheritors of Jack Chick's legacy promise to keep churning out more of the same batshit insanity he devoted his life to. And we're delighted to know that Lightbulb God welcomed him to heaven. At least we assume He did. Maybe.

As Sarah Jones notes at New Republic, "At least he was spared another Halloween."

[Chick Publications / Chick Publications on Facebook / "The Nightmare World of Jack Chick" / Christianity Today / Wired / The Imp #2 / New Republic]

Doktor Zoom

Doktor Zoom's real name is Marty Kelley, and he lives in the wilds of Boise, Idaho. He is not a medical doctor, but does have a real PhD in Rhetoric. You should definitely donate some money to this little mommyblog where he has finally found acceptance and cat pictures. He is on maternity leave until 2033. Here is his Twitter, also. His quest to avoid prolixity is not going so great.

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