Then it happened. Tyler finally croaked.
October 15, 2019 3:35 PM   Subscribe

"In celebration of reaching 5,000 followers on Twitter (@No_Context_JTC) here are 50 images of sudden, horrible deaths in Chick Tracts."
Images 1-10 | Images 11-20 | Images 21-30 | Images 31-40 | Images 41-50
posted by Atom Eyes (53 comments total) 28 users marked this as a favorite
 
I'm always very thankful that I live in a heathen city, and rarely see these in the wild, but we got sent some tracts in the mail a few years ago (trying to figure out who snail mailed them to my house is still a topic of investigation on my part). My wife had never seen one before and had no idea what they were, this panel had us both rolling on the ground.
posted by furnace.heart at 3:48 PM on October 15, 2019 [9 favorites]


Oh! More context for the they hated Jesus because He told them the truth memes I keep seeing on tumblr.

(I too am thankful I have yet to see these in the irl wild, and luckily have yet to ever receive them via snail mail or other means...)
posted by rather be jorting at 3:55 PM on October 15, 2019 [1 favorite]


So many previouslies.
posted by Bee'sWing at 3:57 PM on October 15, 2019 [1 favorite]


The death of Tyler vs. the life of Sluggo

Just say: "No"
posted by chavenet at 3:59 PM on October 15, 2019 [2 favorites]


A Twitter mutual was posting pictures from their favorite Chick Tracts recently, one of which was the Rock Music tract. In it, manager Lew Siffer (very subtle) picks up a promising young rock band and uses them to spread sin and discord, explaining that his grand scheme is to slowly introduce more and more outrageous beats to human music during the 20th century to corrupt and destroy all human music, including Christian music thanks to the insidious Christian Rock.

The band in question falls apart thanks to AIDS and drug overdoses, until the last despondent band member remembers something in his jacket pocket that leads him to rebuke Lew Siffer and return to Christ. What is this miracle object that saves this fallen musician? Could it be a letter from a godly family member? A pocket New Testament?

NO. IT IS A CHICK TRACT. Jack Chick had the incredible hubris, the audacity, to make HIS OWN COMIC the instrument of God's Divine Grace, and do so in ANOTHER ONE OF HIS OWN COMICS.
posted by Mr.Encyclopedia at 4:13 PM on October 15, 2019 [43 favorites]


YAAAH!

That is all.

Wait...one moment...I'm also being told "AYEEE." Yes, "AYEEE."
posted by East14thTaco at 4:30 PM on October 15, 2019 [12 favorites]


Gah, those things. If I could have back half the nights of sleep they stole from me as a child.
posted by The Underpants Monster at 4:32 PM on October 15, 2019 [7 favorites]


I don't want to be Elfstar anymore!
posted by tclark at 4:44 PM on October 15, 2019 [14 favorites]


Well joke's on you then because being Elfstar is awesome!
posted by East14thTaco at 4:49 PM on October 15, 2019 [8 favorites]


I saw some Chick tracts in the wild recently! A small stack of them left by the escalator at my subway stop. It looked like a new Halloween one - a kid and his mother move into a new neighborhood, near a local guy who always sets up a DIY "haunted house" at his place each Halloween. He goads the kid into checking it out, taunting him with "are ya chicken?" The kid doesn't like it and of course reports back to Mom, who gives him the Chick-perspective on Halloween and says they should try to bring their neighbor to church. Mom invites him, the neighbor refuses, but the quick-thinking kid taunts him "are ya chicken?" and gets the guy to come, where hurrah he is saved.

A rare happy ending!
posted by EmpressCallipygos at 5:03 PM on October 15, 2019 [9 favorites]


A small market near my house here in east Tennessee has a stack of the tracts on the counter at checkout. i guess they've never stopped printing them?
posted by Mr.Pointy at 5:09 PM on October 15, 2019


I have a theory that many Jack Chick tracts are thinly disguised pastiche-adaptations of metal songs. I give you Motörhead's Shoot You In The Back, Metallica's Ride The Lightning, Ministry's Jesus Built My Hotrod, and of course (very niche, this one) TISM's Greg! The Stop Sign!
posted by Fiasco da Gama at 5:13 PM on October 15, 2019 [4 favorites]


They're like Peeps. They were all made years and years ago and warehoused in Missouri, with a trust set up to properly titrate them to the public for the remainder of our Godless nation's existence.

Now, as for the tracts,
posted by hototogisu at 5:17 PM on October 15, 2019 [10 favorites]


Make your fun now, heathens, because you seriously never do know when you might be run over by a strangely phallic tornado!
posted by Serene Empress Dork at 6:57 PM on October 15, 2019 [5 favorites]


1 YAAAH
2. Surprising number hit by trains
3. Number dying in car crashes seems legit
4. At least four freak impalements, seems unlikely
5. "That night, Grandma choked on her pills and slid straight to Hell,"
posted by emjaybee at 7:43 PM on October 15, 2019 [11 favorites]


"That night, Grandma choked on her pills and slid straight to Hell”

The unsurprisingly not-as-successful follow-up to “Grandma Got Run Over by a Reindeer”
posted by Atom Eyes at 7:51 PM on October 15, 2019 [20 favorites]


"I saw Mommy kissing Santa Claus, and then her soul shot down to hell faster than lightning..." come on, sing with me! What's the matter, are you people UPTIGHT or something?
posted by Sing Or Swim at 8:12 PM on October 15, 2019 [4 favorites]


YAAAH!

HAW HAW!
posted by GCU Sweet and Full of Grace at 8:17 PM on October 15, 2019 [5 favorites]


Excellent, Needs MementoMoriOctober tag.
posted by Johnny Wallflower at 8:23 PM on October 15, 2019 [1 favorite]


.
posted by giltay at 8:50 PM on October 15, 2019


You can really see the influence of manga on Chick’s later work
posted by Jon_Evil at 9:32 PM on October 15, 2019 [3 favorites]


I will always want to thank Metafilter and the US Internet in general, because if not, I literally wouldn't understand what the heck I was reading in 2007, thanks to an overenthusiastic newly evangelical friend (and in Muslim-majority Malaysia at that). I was like, oh my god, is this Jack Chick? And she was like, oh my god, yes! Do you know him?? He's so interesting!

Me: Doesn't one of them say that Allah is a moon god?
Her: ... oh I'm sure it's not meant exactly that way.
posted by cendawanita at 10:54 PM on October 15, 2019 [7 favorites]


Someone handed one of us at work one of these while they were working cashier and boy howdy is it good I wasn't the one working reg that day because my reaction to being handed one of these on the job would have probably gotten me fired. As it was one of my coworkers was much more diplomatic and once the offender left we just passed around the terrible and giggled at the stupid. But seriously, who hands these out seriously?
posted by Homo neanderthalensis at 11:08 PM on October 15, 2019 [2 favorites]


I grew up evangelical. My childhood spanned the 70's and 80's. Chick tracts were everywhere then. Even when I was young, I found them to be bleak little things. They convinced me from an early age that the universe is vast and uncaring. Even with Chick's universe including God. Or maybe because it included God. Everything is going to die, and then be subjected to eternal torment. And no one cares. Not God. Not the comic's author. Certainly not the universe. Combine that with my childhood nuclear war terrors, it's no wonder I ended up being a stereotypical gen-x nihilist.

Seriously, the most horrifying thing in all the Chick tracts wasn't the gruesome deaths. It was the inevitable ending with the divine judgement. It was the faceless God sitting on his throne. Coldly looking at you in the last pain-free moments of your existence. And then nothing but darkness and flames and screams forever.

But, at least there was some spirit to the whole endeavor. The comics were a glimpse into a world outside of the evangelical bubble. All sorts of (ill-fated) adventures were to be had. And there was a life to them that was absent from the usual tracts or Sunday School lessons. There's something about them I liked, despite their crudity, but I can't quite put a finger on it.

And they were useful for killing a day of work once. Back when I lived in Utah, I discovered you could order a huge collection of the tracts online for not much money. Had a box sent to my office. Shared them with my Mormon friends & co-workers who had never seen a Chick tract before. Nothing was accomplished that day. They were equal parts horrified and fascinated. Whatever problems they might have had with the LDS, they were thrilled they didn't have anything like Chick tracts.
posted by Teegeeack AV Club Secretary at 11:35 PM on October 15, 2019 [15 favorites]


Seriously, the most horrifying thing in all the Chick tracts wasn't the gruesome deaths. It was the inevitable ending with the divine judgement. It was the faceless God sitting on his throne. Coldly looking at you in the last pain-free moments of your existence.

Yep, that's the guy. That's the one who used to show up in the nightmares.

They used to hand them out at the Baptist primary school I attended, along with the sincere, heartfelt, smiling chats about how all your loved ones would be going to Hell if they weren't saved, and ha ha, no, of course being a good person and believing in God or belonging to a different religion isn't being saved, no, it's Hell for them, and no, of course animals don't have souls either. And then a few decades later your psychiatrist suddenly gets religion and informs you that you'll never get better until you get back in touch with God, and you're in the pharmacy opening up your envelope of prescriptions and you pull out a copy of "Heart Trouble"...
posted by The Underpants Monster at 2:43 AM on October 16, 2019 [9 favorites]


someone gave me one on the ttc last week, in Spanish.
posted by PinkMoose at 3:27 AM on October 16, 2019 [2 favorites]


In college, there was someone who would hand out a selection of the specifically anti-Catholic ones in front of the Catholic chapel. Classy!
posted by Halloween Jack at 4:35 AM on October 16, 2019 [5 favorites]


A small market near my house here in east Tennessee has a stack of the tracts on the counter at checkout. i guess they've never stopped printing them?

Yup.
posted by Thorzdad at 4:55 AM on October 16, 2019 [1 favorite]


A faceless, uncaring god shouting "GUILTY" from its throne. Why would anyone believe in such a thing?
posted by 1adam12 at 5:00 AM on October 16, 2019 [1 favorite]


>Everything is going to die, and then be subjected to eternal torment. And no one cares. Not God. Not the comic's author.

It certainly seems to me that the author cares. Seems like it's all he's livin' for--he wants people tortured with fire while he goes "HA HAA!! I TOLD YOU SO!!" and that's his idea of being a Good Christian. THEY THOUGHT THEY WERE SMARTER'N ME BUT THEY'LL BE SORRY WHEN THEY'RE BURNIN'. God makes fallible creatures so he can torture them if they get something wrong, and the way Paradise works is, you'll be content in heaven while half your loved ones fry in hell. I guess I'm lucky that nobody who was ever in charge of me as a child told me to believe this kinda stuff; the thing that gives ME nightmares is that a large number of people apparently find this at least half-credible. (On preview, what 1adam12 said.)
posted by Sing Or Swim at 5:02 AM on October 16, 2019 [7 favorites]


In college, there was someone who would hand out a selection of the specifically anti-Catholic ones in front of the Catholic chapel. Classy!

Ah, yes. The Alberto series of comics. Anti-Catholic, Anti-Semitic, Islamophobic nonsense, with a side helping of Technicolor nightmare fuel. Based on the lies of Alberto Rivera, a conman who claimed to be an ex-priest. Funny that in "blowing the lid off of the sins of the Catholic Church", he seems to have found them to be guilty of every conspiracy imaginable, with the notable exception of the main one that they were actively engaged in at the time.
posted by Optamystic at 5:05 AM on October 16, 2019 [6 favorites]


A faceless, uncaring god shouting "GUILTY" from its throne. Why would anyone believe in such a thing?

It's not a matter of "belief". From the ages of 2-18, that was the only reality that I knew. The preacher preached it in his sermons, the church school reinforced it with their Abeka curriculum, and if church or school got boring, there were always Chick tracts on hand to read to pass the time. It's a complete immersion in apocalyptic imagery, and it fucks you up, hard.
posted by Optamystic at 5:19 AM on October 16, 2019 [9 favorites]


I think part of the fascination of Chick tracts, apart from their godawful message, is the conviction and relative talent with which the "artwork" is rendered. The older ones have a very folksy almost R. Crumb quality. And usually any art connected with Christianity (church bulletins, home-school lessons, etc.) is just terrible and soulless, so these things stand out for that reason. (I used to work a library job and would find Chick tracts stuck into random books in the stacks.)
posted by jabah at 5:33 AM on October 16, 2019 [6 favorites]


the specifically anti-Catholic ones

Oh, man. I had until now forgotten the existence of The Death Cookie.
posted by Mr. Bad Example at 5:46 AM on October 16, 2019 [2 favorites]


I keep meaning to look up the Jack Chick version of the Awful Disclosures of Maria Monk, as that's actually relevant to my work. It's not clear from the descriptions if it's a comics version (oh dear) or just a straight reprint of the text.
posted by thomas j wise at 5:53 AM on October 16, 2019 [1 favorite]


Having never heard of these until this thread, I thought Chick Tracts were somehow meant for young girls instead of being named for the artist who illustrated them. A brief moment of sadness prior to Googling wherein I wondered why young women were being persecuted with bad art about God's Wrath.
posted by Lipstick Thespian at 6:15 AM on October 16, 2019 [5 favorites]


"That night, Grandma choked on her pills and slid straight to Hell" is my favourite Godspeed You! Black Emperor B-side.
posted by slimepuppy at 6:17 AM on October 16, 2019 [6 favorites]


I've never seen a Chick Tract in the wild, but I definitely read Dark Dungeons. Honestly, it might have been Chick tracts that convinced me that Heaven would be a genuinely torturous place to spend eternity - look at all the souldead people who end up there in the Chick tracts! 50,000 of the most boring people on the planet and, depending on your interpretation, hundreds of millions of aborted babies.

Wherever Mahatma Ghandi, Albert Einstein and Shigeru Miyamoto end up. Take me there.
posted by Merus at 6:47 AM on October 16, 2019 [1 favorite]


The best antidote to Chick-tract-Christianity is watching The Good Place.

I think what's fascinating about things like these tracts, and Left Behind Books and similar bits of evangelical "art" is that they contain the seeds of their own destruction. When laid out in black and white, with rules followed to their logical conclusions, their religion looks terrible: hokey, prudish, unjust, hateful. There is very little about love, faith, hope, compassion, and lots and lots about Hell and how eager/willing the "loving" God is to send you there.

There is no thought, because thought is dangerous. There is only absolute obedience or eternal torture. And you're supposed to be happy about that.
posted by emjaybee at 7:18 AM on October 16, 2019 [10 favorites]


"That night, Grandma choked on her pills and slid straight to Hell,"

Y'all are leaving out the best part, she slid into hell faster than lightning. Grandma was so eivl she couldn't take the normal pace.
posted by GoblinHoney at 8:04 AM on October 16, 2019 [9 favorites]


A faceless, uncaring god shouting "GUILTY" from its throne. Why would anyone believe in such a thing?

It's not a matter of "belief". From the ages of 2-18, that was the only reality that I knew.


Yeah, it can't be understated that in certain strains of the evangelical movement, that for kids especially, there's just no other alternative narrative presented or how damaging this is. For children, it operates like a cult; you can't leave, you're told that if you don't behave and think/believe in a certain prescribed way, you will be punished (sometimes on earth, sometimes after, why not both!?). You're told, directly or indirectly, everyday that you're going to be tortured forever if you don't believe a certain way. For lots of children, this leaves a deep anxiety that they're not right...because, how do you prove belief? How does a child know that they believe. I mean, philosophers with decades of thought and writing can't always suss that question out, let alone a kid. I'm almost 20 years out of the church, and still am finding brand new weird vestigial emotional patterns and leftover shit from being raised this way. Every other alternative narrative towards living a good life is countered with "but they're going to hell; you are going to hell if you question this."

I was shown shit like this from an abusively early age. Like, I saw Thief in the Night when I was 9 maybe? I have a kid around that age now, and I'm even more upset that adults who were given supervision over me allowed me to see that movie at all. I still have nightmares about it. Chick tracts are just one piece of this huge reinforcing machine to make you feel wrong-no-matter-what.
posted by furnace.heart at 8:06 AM on October 16, 2019 [14 favorites]


What I gather from these images is that if you're a good Christian you will never go near a car because they're fucking deadly!
posted by charred husk at 8:09 AM on October 16, 2019 [2 favorites]


...there's just no other alternative narrative presented or how damaging this is. For children, it operates like a cult; you can't leave, you're told that if you don't behave and think/believe in a certain prescribed way, you will be punished (sometimes on earth, sometimes after, why not both!?). You're told, directly or indirectly, everyday that you're going to be tortured forever if you don't believe a certain way. For lots of children, this leaves a deep anxiety that they're not right...because, how do you prove belief? How does a child know that they believe. I mean, philosophers with decades of thought and writing can't always suss that question out, let alone a kid.

Uh... PREACH!

I've been anti-authoritarian to the core of my being since jump, and the constant, CONSTANT bombardment of this "YOU"RE GOING TO HELL!" message from 6 to adulthood nearly overcame me in my 20s. It was Chick tracts, fundamentalist Pentecostal Sunday school and thrice weekly bible study, being preached at at home, and being forced to read "The Late, Great Planet Earth" by Hal Lindsey when I was 9, so I thought I'd be in hell by the time I was 18 at the earliest, because Jesus was coming (with a sword!) and he was going to send billions of people to hell, including me for liking pop music and not wanting to go to church all the time.

Chick tracts made me angry as a kid. Jack Chick was a sanctimonious, self-righteous sadist, and I twigged that early without fully understanding the concept, but I thought he must have liked showing people die horrible deaths and being coldly turned away by a faceless god, that he wanted to see people in hell forever, and I wondered why he was so eager to see people condemned to eternal pain and torment? Why do people like him demand that everyone to believe what they do—or else?! What about the bit I read in the bible about everyone seeking out their own soul's salvation, was that a lie, then?
posted by droplet at 8:51 AM on October 16, 2019 [4 favorites]


And people wonder how Evangelicals could have ever embraced a leader as immoral and compassionless as trump when—for the majority of them—this same sort of deranged folklore and iconography is the very air that they have breathed since birth.
posted by Atom Eyes at 9:29 AM on October 16, 2019 [7 favorites]


droplet: Why do people like him demand that everyone to believe what they do—or else?!

I imagine there's an interesting psychological study in this, if anyone could pull this off. While I notice this most with people who don't share the same viewpoint as I do (I wonder how much money people spend to make their trucks roll coal, or why people are so invested in try to sway people to be anti-choice by printing out big pictures of fetuses), but I also see similarities in people who spike trees to destroy chainsaws and potentially kill loggers (I feel more kinship for people set on saving the world from people, but I don't think anyone should die in the process).

More generally, "you're either with me or against me" is sadly not that uncommon of a viewpoint, and can even result in people shouting at each other over small differences in beliefs.

But yeah, religious extremists can really fuck with people's lives, especially young people who are indoctrinated by their family. Where is your loving god? Or do you think He only loves those who have some how earned his love? For Christians, didn't Christ die for our sins, so that we don't have to get so hung up over our human failings?

[And a nudge to include the MementoMoriOctober tag]
posted by filthy light thief at 9:30 AM on October 16, 2019 [1 favorite]


Done.
posted by Atom Eyes at 9:33 AM on October 16, 2019 [1 favorite]


Why do people like him demand that everyone to believe what they do—or else?!

As Peter Gabriel once said:

"There's safety in numbers when you learn to divide,
How can we be in when there is no outside?"
posted by EmpressCallipygos at 9:41 AM on October 16, 2019


>she slid into hell faster than lightning. Grandma was so eivl she couldn't take the normal pace.

I think that IS the normal pace. One of the other panels shows a guy dying and saying, "I'm starting to burn..." I think you're supposed to believe that God hates you so bad he can't WAIT to start frying you.
posted by Sing Or Swim at 9:49 AM on October 16, 2019 [2 favorites]


Yesterday I saw the movie "Judy," and today I saw this.
posted by JimInLoganSquare at 10:11 AM on October 16, 2019 [1 favorite]


Slyman's deli, a local Cleveland favorite, has some Chick Tracts on a shelf along the back wall at their original location. They're next to a stack of 5 (!) well-worn King James Version bibles so presumably the Tracts aren't there ironically. It made me grateful that you don't have to talk directly to the owner to get a sandwich.
posted by Tehhund at 11:13 AM on October 16, 2019


Dunno if any of the ones that I saw had to do with Alberto Rivera (they were the regular tract format, not full-sized color comics); I remember "The Death Cookie" and, I think, this one, which does a deep delve into the supposed origins of Catholicism in a Babylonian mystery cult of Semiramis. Looks like the origin of that is probably The Two Babylons, an 1853 pamphlet by a crank named Alexander Hislop.
posted by Halloween Jack at 12:02 PM on October 16, 2019


50,000 of the most boring people on the planet and, depending on your interpretation, hundreds of millions of aborted babies.

I can't even stand one crying baby, so there is no way (in hell) I want to go where there's a billion of them. THIS is the Bad Place!
posted by fiercecupcake at 3:21 PM on October 16, 2019


And not only do you HAVE to believe it, it is absolutely required that you be HAPPY about it. Being happy is how you show the world that everything is good and right, and everything IS good and right, RIGHT, so you MUST be happy. You learn really quickly and really young to lie about being happy and everything being great, but that must be wrong so then you learn to believe your own lies.
posted by The Underpants Monster at 5:43 PM on October 17, 2019


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