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Happy Birthday, Jack Chick!
April 20, 2007 12:32 AM   Subscribe

Happy Birthday, Jack Chick! Belated Birthday Greetings! The undisputed king of kings of Christian Comic literature, the inventor of “Chick Tracts” -- Jack is 83 years young this year and still cranking out those little comics So where is the love?! Finally some films are being made of his work: "Titanic" “The Thief” "One Way" and "La Princesita" are but a few. The question remains -- Can any of these every surpass Jack’s own masterwork "The Light Of The World"
posted by Strawman (62 comments total) 8 users marked this as a favorite

 
Yay. Happy Birthday Jack! The fact that you're alive and Devil Worshippers like Kurt Vonnegut are dead proves there is a God and you're doing the right thing.
posted by seanyboy at 12:42 AM on April 20, 2007


Wow, I didn't know there was a 'King James Only Movement'. Isn't it just a translation?
posted by Firas at 1:12 AM on April 20, 2007


In a way, none of us want to be Elfstar. Deep down, we all want to be Debbie. He showed us that.

Here's to you, Jack.
posted by Simon! at 1:26 AM on April 20, 2007


That's for giving me nightmares throughout my childhood, you fucked up old freak.
posted by Optamystic at 1:33 AM on April 20, 2007


Hey - Have some respect for the old. He's done so much for so many of us.
posted by seanyboy at 1:58 AM on April 20, 2007


No film of "This was your life" yet, then. Ho hum. Still, I'm glad it's not just me who is vaguely obsessed with Chick's collected works.

On a related point, here is a link to Robin Ince and Stewart Lee discussing the wonders of Jack Chick, amongst other things.
posted by greycap at 2:26 AM on April 20, 2007


'Wow, I didn't know there was a 'King James Only Movement'. Isn't it just a translation?

Yeah... depending on whom you speak with, it's mostly driven by people who speak neither Greek nor Hebrew... which is a bit foolish, given those are the source languages for it. This has been the subject of debate forever, but it's pretty clear that, beautiful those the KJV is, it does contain some fairly significant mistranslations and quirks.

I wouldn't despense with it entirely, and there is no, one definitive English translation, but an amateur theologian would do well to check out a few of them, if s/he is not willing to read the texts in their original languages.
posted by psmealey at 2:55 AM on April 20, 2007


I am forever indebted to Jack Chick for ensuring that my particular faith is not to be taken too seriously.
posted by pax digita at 3:01 AM on April 20, 2007 [2 favorites]


beautiful those the KJV is beautiful though the language in the KJV is
posted by psmealey at 3:02 AM on April 20, 2007


there is no, one definitive English translation
I'd argue that the William Tyndale version of the new testament could be regarded as definitive. Esp. considering that later versions were basically rips (or to use the vernacular, mashups) of Tyndale's original with a few pictures of the King/Queen/Bishops added to quieten those with power.

More on Tyndale.

Considering that Tyndale supposedly coined the following phrases,
- let there be light
- the powers that be
- my brother's keeper
- the salt of the earth
- a law unto themselves

I'd say that his version should be treated as definitive.
posted by seanyboy at 3:04 AM on April 20, 2007


The reason I found it remarkable is that if you're going to be a Biblical literalist and then use one particular instance of the Bible to be all literal about, it's just… um, see my point? You're according divine status to an arbitrarily-chosen humanly derived instrument.

It also seems to be indicative of a cognitive archetype (I was born Xtian, so screw other religions! I was born Protestant, so screw Catholics! I have a certain 'literal' understanding of the scripture, so screw those with other interpretations! Oh and the text I happen to literally interpret is the KJV, so screw other translations!)
posted by Firas at 3:16 AM on April 20, 2007 [1 favorite]


it also seems to be indicative of a cognitive archetype

It is. Realizing that there are differences, however subtle, between translations could lead to cognitive dissonance. And, we can't have that. Better to choose one, and proclaim all others if not false, then lesser.
posted by psmealey at 3:32 AM on April 20, 2007


Wow, I didn't know there was a 'King James Only Movement'. Isn't it just a translation?

There are people who, believe it or not, hold that the KJV is actually a divinely-inspired translation, and therefore the only accurate one.

These people usually get upset when you point out that King James was a notorious sodomite.
posted by EarBucket at 4:06 AM on April 20, 2007 [1 favorite]


Heh, anyone interested in the KJV (mis)translation could do worse than reading Bart Erhman's _Misquoting Jesus_.
posted by absalom at 4:25 AM on April 20, 2007


Plus, we have some records of the translation process; it was a deeply political process, and merged Bibles from the Puritan and Catholic traditions. It was, from the sound of it, pretty fractious, political, and well, human.

This is a review of a book about the process of creating the King James Bible.

As an example: the Puritans believed that margin notes were essential; they understood that translations were inexact, and they were trying hard to get at the meaning of the original words as closely they could. It was each worshiper's duty to understand the Bible as closely as possible. Thus, their Bible was full of explanations and alternate translations.

The Catholic Church, on the other hand, was of a very different opinion. Laypeople weren't really supposed to read the Bible. Ff you did, you could challenge their authority, and that was clearly unacceptable. You were supposed to rely on your local priest to tell you what it said, not read it yourself.

During this 'merging' of Puritan and Bishop bibles, the extremist Puritans (the ones that wanted a Presbyterian-like system) were excluded from the process, and the Puritan beliefs in general did not survive into the KJB. King James' political goals were better served by the Church's ideas, and most of the Puritan ones appear to have been dropped, including margin notes, which were one of their most central beliefs.

This particular link doesn't get into it very much, but there were many other quite notable changes made in this process; the KJB was modified to suit the political goals of King James in a number of different places. I haven't run into a source for the exact nature of what changed, though, so I can't quote specific examples.

It's also interesting to note that it wasn't very popular at the time. It didn't become widely accepted until everyone who was alive during its creation had died out.

Note also: the link I quoted is much less negative about the KJB than I am; their slant is the exact opposite of mine. It's worth reading.
posted by Malor at 5:05 AM on April 20, 2007 [3 favorites]


Oops. I said 'Catholic Church' when apparently I should have said 'Protestant'. Sorry. :)
posted by Malor at 5:06 AM on April 20, 2007


If the King James was good enough for Jesus then it's good enough for me!

The rest of you heathens are going to burn in Hell!

And quit asking me which of the 26 versions of King James is the divinely inspired and inerrant one!!!
posted by nofundy at 6:07 AM on April 20, 2007 [1 favorite]


This reminds me, I have to get around to working on those Jack Chick/Tijuana Bible mash-ups I was planning.
posted by Alvy Ampersand at 6:23 AM on April 20, 2007


My favorite one was the anti-Catholic one that called communion "The Death Cookie."
posted by dances_with_sneetches at 6:23 AM on April 20, 2007


Firas, if one can go as far as treating the whole Bible as literal, it's really a small step to treat a given specific translation as literal.
posted by Hubajube at 6:26 AM on April 20, 2007


I'm more interested in the Occult Book that James I wrote:

[wiki]

James's visit to Denmark, a country familiar with witchhunts, may have encouraged his interest in the study of witchcraft, which he considered a branch of theology.[37] Soon after his return from Denmark, he attended the trial of the North Berwick Witches, in which several people were convicted of using witchcraft to send a storm against the ship that had carried James and Anne from Denmark. James became obsessed with the threat posed by witches and witchcraft and in 1597 wrote the Daemonologie, a tract in favour of the existence of witchcraft;[38] but later, his views became less extreme, tending more towards scepticism on the matter.[39]

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/James_I_of_England
posted by chuckdarwin at 6:39 AM on April 20, 2007


You down with KJV? Yeah, you know me.
posted by staggernation at 6:50 AM on April 20, 2007 [1 favorite]


GALACTUS IS COMING!

WHO WILL BE EATEN FIRST?
(Originally at http://www.howardhallis.com/bis/cthulhuchick/, but slapped down for copyright violation)

HI THERE SAILOR! (NWS for harsh language)
posted by ken_zoan at 7:02 AM on April 20, 2007 [1 favorite]


I can't understand slackers' obsession with Jack Chick books, unless it stems from a fundamental suspicion/fear that they might, in fact, be true.
posted by Faze at 7:05 AM on April 20, 2007


Ya know, I don't get the Chick thing at all. Most Christian demoninations believe that redemption/salvation is only possible through receiving Christ into your heart and accepting him as the savior of mankind (or however you'd like to put it). Chick and his ilk almost completely sidestep that in favor of fear tactics. If you're proceeding down a certain path only because you have mortal dread of what will happen to you if you do otherwise, that's not exactly true belief. This very similar to what the Roman church has propagated through the ages.

I don't think Chick is all that far from the thing he hates.
posted by psmealey at 7:06 AM on April 20, 2007


OK, I know this post was more about the videos, which is great. But I can't resist taking this opportunity to point out a few of my personal favorite Tracts.

Soul Story. "Guess who's home for good!" "Oh, no!... It's Leroy Brown!"

Where's Rabbi Waxman? Let me guess... Hell?

The Death Cookie. Thought this would be about Google buying DoubleClick, but no: communion wafers.

The Trick. Halloween in Chickland: "Brenda, don't forget which of those candy bars are injected."

Gomez Is Coming. "Tonight, we'll serve you a taco supreme... Because tomorrow, you'll never have to worry about eating again."

The Gay Blade. "Send them out that we might know them (sexually)."

The Little Bride. Li'l Susy debunks Islam.

Dark Dungeons. "I used the mind bondage spell on my father. He was trying to stop me from playing D&D."

I could go on. But you should just browse for yourselves.
posted by staggernation at 7:10 AM on April 20, 2007 [1 favorite]


I really wanted to stay away from it, but this shit's too easy.
posted by Uther Bentrazor at 7:19 AM on April 20, 2007 [3 favorites]


I really wanted to stay away from it, but this shit's too easy.

You'd think the Holy Ghost would know better than to consider withdrawal as a reliable method of contraception.
posted by psmealey at 7:22 AM on April 20, 2007


Finally!, Something decent to masturbate to. I put the website right next to popwhore on my favorites bar... might not get out of the house today.
posted by Wonderwoman at 8:04 AM on April 20, 2007


My favorite Chick parody (other than Chtulhu) is Antlers of the Damned - of course one needs a passing familiarity with Space Moose. WARNING - EXTREMLE NSFW - Not safe for the easily offended.
posted by jkaczor at 8:43 AM on April 20, 2007


How on earth can he be anti-D&D? That Light of the World cartoon is like the most D&D thing I've ever seen.
posted by The Straightener at 8:43 AM on April 20, 2007 [1 favorite]


I can't understand slackers' obsession with Jack Chick books, unless it stems from a fundamental suspicion/fear that they might, in fact, be true.

Then let me impart some understanding for ya, no charge: It stems from the fact that they're FUCKING HILARIOUS!!
posted by LordSludge at 8:43 AM on April 20, 2007


For those seriously interested in the subject of Bible translations and the ways that bias can be indicated (by a comparison of 9 English translations of Greek scripture) I highly recommend "Truth in Translation" by Jason BeDuhn (a professor of religion -and graduate of Harvard Divinity School- at the university of Northern Arizona). It is a scholarly work yet quite understandable to the average person. Controversial for the serious implications for "orthodox" "Christian" doctrine that was adopted in the centuries following the establishment of first-century Christianity (which is news to most orthodox believers). I found it very enlightening.
posted by spock at 8:47 AM on April 20, 2007 [1 favorite]


This thread makes me want to cry because of the lack of IMG tag.

Anyway, here's my all time favorite Chick tract, The Last Generation, in which Christians are persecuted and a pagan government rules all.

It's so thoroughly insane, and the fact that a lot of Christians evidently think we live in the world of this tract makes me giggle every time I read it.
posted by Pope Guilty at 9:29 AM on April 20, 2007


-1 to Jack Chick for ruthlessly striking down any parody challengers to his little fundie cartoon throne.
posted by JHarris at 9:32 AM on April 20, 2007


But the tracts make Witnessing to strangers (heathens) so easy. Why would you want to bother with having to explain your faith and be open to questions when instead you can just leave them on a bus seat, or pass them to a stranger waiting in line and not have to worry about that messy human interaction thing.
posted by Burhanistan at 9:36 AM on April 20, 2007


IT'S JACK CHICK'S BIRTHDAY - SMOKE A BOWL!
posted by Sticherbeast at 9:51 AM on April 20, 2007


You know who else's birthday it is today?
posted by psmealey at 9:53 AM on April 20, 2007 [9 favorites]


Tiny Shoes is my favorite, hands down.
A little boy dies from infected feet because his dad drank all the family savings. Comedy gold!
posted by 2sheets at 10:16 AM on April 20, 2007


If I wished that man dead he would return as a zombie to haunt the living with his mumbling crap.

Thank you for informing me of this event. I will adjust my dourness accordingly.
posted by munchingzombie at 10:28 AM on April 20, 2007


If I wished that man dead he would return as a zombie to haunt the living with his mumbling crap.

Eponysbraaaaaaaaaaiiiiiiiins
posted by Pope Guilty at 10:35 AM on April 20, 2007


Anyway, here's my all time favorite Chick tract, The Last Generation

FREE DRUGS
posted by Snyder at 11:17 AM on April 20, 2007


I must also thank Jack Chick inasmuch as my reaction to various enthusiastic distributors of his product ensured that my faith journey, which was pretty thoroughly in stasis at the time I was first exposed to his works, did not proceed further until much later in my emotional and intellectual maturation.

I mean, I know Southern Baptists who laugh out loud at Chick tracts. Southern Baptists!
posted by pax digita at 12:20 PM on April 20, 2007


I thought laughter led to dancing...
posted by ROU_Xenophobe at 12:52 PM on April 20, 2007


Fred Carter is the fucking man. Just a tremendous illustrator.
posted by Scoo at 12:57 PM on April 20, 2007


Why don't Southern Baptists make love standing up?

They don't want people to think they are dancing.
posted by Burhanistan at 1:20 PM on April 20, 2007


Wow. I just read the "Who is Allah?" tract. You know, I live in a neighborhood with a lot of Christians and a lot of Muslims. If I scattered a bunch of those things around, I wonder if I could start a holy war.
posted by Faint of Butt at 1:25 PM on April 20, 2007


FoB: the "Allah had no Son" tract makes most Muslims laugh because to them it shows the silliness of reducing God to a person or thing.
posted by Burhanistan at 1:44 PM on April 20, 2007


It's stoner new years ... and there's an FPP full of hilarious Xtian scribbles ... and I'm out of weed.

Say, that might be a tract story right there!
posted by EatTheWeak at 3:16 PM on April 20, 2007


Wow. FOB, I just read that "Who Is Allah" one because of your comment. It terrifies me that people actually believe this stuff. And I know there are people who DO believe it because I have 3 born again siblings (2 fundamentalist). And I'm currently learning Arabic. An interesting combination of circumstances to say the least.

What I've been discovering is that, at this point in time, Arabic is the only language where the mere ACT of educating oneself of it inspires people to judge and tell you all about their deepest political and racist beliefs. Unfortunately, it has forced me to come face to face with some hidden/ugly sides of more than a few people... strangers, friends and family alike. What I've found is that how someone reacts to the phrase "I'm learning Arabic" says EVERYTHING about them. It's an amazing little test. Nobody does that when you learn French. Or German. Or even Japanese. Oh, but Arabic is a WHOLE nother kettle of kabab.

I'm learning it because it's challenging and it's interesting and because I want to communicate when I go to Egypt next time and be able to get deeper into the culture. But upon the initial news of me taking classes in the language, some people very literally freak out. "WHY!? What are you THINKING!?" As though my Arabic teachers will recruit me to the darker side of Allah & I will soon join a Shia militia and become a suicide bomber or something. As though every Arabic speaker on this earth is a terrorist. When I tell people "Arabic is the 4th most spoken language on Earth. German is 10th. Italian is 21st." they are in shock, because so few people even TRY to learn anything about these cultures beyond what they see on the news, they don't even realize how many people on this Earth live in an Arabic-speaking world. And that if anything THIS is the time where people SHOULD be learning about these cultures & try to communicate. Unfortunately most people thrive on having strong opinions backed up by ignorance, though.

Fundamentalism NEEDS xenophobia & ignorance. It THRIVES on xenophobia & ignorance. It EXISTS because it inspires terror in people, where they're afraid of everyone that doesn't agree with them and then they never have to question themselves. What I've learned over the last year is that it isn't Christianity or Islam or any other religion that's a problem, it's fundamentalism & xenophobia & ignorance. 100%.

When I was young I used to make fun of those Chick tracts, I used to see them as hysterical. Unfortunately, nowadays I don't see the hatred they preach as very funny anymore. I wish I could. It's just too hard for me now.
posted by miss lynnster at 3:26 PM on April 20, 2007 [3 favorites]


By some strange coincidence* my husband picked up a Chick Tract today as we were leaving the grocery store. It was Here, Kitty Kitty in which we learn that you don't have to kill sweet baby kittens in order to get good grades. I never would have recognized the thing for what it was, but he is an avid collector having gotten hooked on them in his childhood. They were a popular "treat" handed out to little kids at Halloween. A good Chick Tract filled with cartoons that could be rewritten and doodled on was easily worth 3 fire balls.


*Ooooo you don't think we are about to be saved, do you? Oh Jesus fucking christ I hope not!
posted by Secret Life of Gravy at 3:33 PM on April 20, 2007


I'm more interested in the Occult Book that James I wrote
I have a copy; you can get it from Amazon. Pretty damn weird.
posted by Paragon at 3:37 PM on April 20, 2007


I think the Chick obsession comes from Chick exposure. Fundies leave them at the post office. Fundies pass them out when they're out of copies of the New Testament. They're the perfect size for slipping into, say, D&D rulebooks to surprise new purchasers. Why do people mock them? The human tendency to push back when pushed. Shove propaganda at me, expect ridicule, not stony silence.
posted by adipocere at 4:40 PM on April 20, 2007


The thing that gets me most about Chick is that he clearly lives in a demon-haunted world. Magic is real, witches and demons are real, and Jesus is a real, physical defense against their malicious power. His thought processes seem to be near-indistinguishable from those of a paranoid schizophrenic.
posted by mr_roboto at 5:23 PM on April 20, 2007


Wow!

I feel like I should be sodomizing a Catholic (possibly with this (NWS)) while playing D&D and eating a death cookie, or something. While high.
posted by Many bubbles at 6:12 PM on April 20, 2007


I really wanted to stay away from it, but this shit's too easy.

Which tract was that from? It looks like they 404'd the image. (For those who missed it, it's Mary kneeling with her hands clasped as this white light sprays on her and the caption is "God came upon her and she conceived.)
posted by Firas at 12:49 AM on April 21, 2007


I found the webpage for most of these films. It's called "Hot Chicks" -- that was the trailer up top. Turns out it played at a bunch of film festivals, including the LA Film Festival. They have 9 films on DVD. It's worth a look -- all kinds of stuff, like an art show and images. It's www.john316now.com.
posted by Strawman at 12:53 AM on April 21, 2007


(For those who missed it, it's Mary kneeling with her hands clasped as this white light sprays on her and the caption is "God came upon her and she conceived.)

I... wow. Bible bukkake was not something I ever wanted to have in my head.
posted by Many bubbles at 2:12 AM on April 21, 2007


(For those who missed it, it's Mary kneeling with her hands clasped as this white light sprays on her and the caption is "God came upon her and she conceived.)

Here it is not hotlinked

(The tract is 'Creator or Liar', btw)
posted by Uther Bentrazor at 6:58 AM on April 21, 2007


I'm in San Francisco for APE Con (any SF locals, come on out tomorrow - Sunday 4/22 - I'm way in the back left at table 263, doing caricatures, heh) and, swear to God, there is a Jack Chick booth at the con. There is an oldish guy with longish white hair sitting at the booth with tons of these tracts.

I almost went up and asked him if he is actually Jack Chick. But I got scareded. The tracts are bad enough, getting the hellfire straight from the man himself would be overwhelming!

I'll try to get on from the con, there's public wireless available but I couldn't get on it from my table today...
posted by zoogleplex at 10:55 PM on April 21, 2007


If I wasn't at a photoshop seminar in S. San Fran today, I'd totally go check that out, zoogleplex. Maybe greet Jack Chick with some handy Arabic phrases... :)
posted by miss lynnster at 1:00 PM on April 23, 2007


Sadly, even if it was actually him - I went and checked, it was just a guy who works for him - APE Con closed yesterday at 6PM.

I get the impression Jack himself is something of a recluse. Probably not a bad thing.

I was actually shocked to find those tracts actually cost money! People used to hand them to me for free!! :D
posted by zoogleplex at 1:32 PM on April 23, 2007


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