Although many of Chick's tracts express views that are generally accepted within Christian theology, such as the Incarnation of Christ, several tracts express controversial viewpoints. Most notably, Chick is known for his strong anti-Catholic views, which are expressed in 20 of his tracts (along with several full-length comic books). Some of his tracts are shown in the Smithsonian Institution.
- 1 Chick Publications
- 2 Style and themes
- 3 Parodies and popular culture
- 4 Criticism
- 5 Notes
- 6 References
- 7 Further reading
- 8 External links
Chick Publications produces and markets the Chick tracts, along with other comic books, books, and posters. Chick Publications has its headquarters in Rancho Cucamonga and has an Ontario, California mailing address.
The company estimates it has printed over 800 million tracts during the first fifty years of business. On its website they note that "Our ministry is primarily publishing the gospel tracts of Jack T. Chick, but we do occasionally publish a manuscript in book form." They state that if the content "educates Christians in one of the areas for which we have a tract, we would love to see it" and cite several examples; the online store lists nearly a dozen book categories.
Most of Chick's tracts, and several excerpts from his full-length comics, can be read without charge at the Chick website. While many older tracts are out-of-print, Chick Publications will perform a special printing run of most of the out-of-print tracts upon a request of at least 10,000 copies.
Over time, several of Chick's tracts have undergone variations in art and text, which have in some circles come to be collected by fans.
As of 2012, Chick Publications had produced over 235 different titles, about 100 of which are still in print.
Style and themes
The tracts themselves are approximately three inches high by five inches wide in dimension, and approximately twenty pages in length. The material is written in comic book format, with the front panel featuring the title of the tract and the inside back panel devoted to a standard sinner's prayer. The back panel features contact info for Chick Publications, but Chick Publications allows churches and ministries to customize the back panel as part of a special order.
The storyline commonly features at least one Christian person and one or more "non-Christians". Depending on the storyline the "non-Christian" may be 1) a stereotypical "wicked person" (such as a criminal; an example being the eponymous character of the tract Bad Bob!), 2) a member of a "false religion" (as Chick defines such; an example being the Mormon missionaries from The Visitors), and/or 3) a "moral person" depending on "good works" to gain eventual entrance to Heaven (as opposed to salvation through Jesus Christ; an example is the marshall in Gun Slinger). In these storylines, the Christian attempts to convert the non-Christian to Christianity (and may also feature a contrast where another character, often the "moral person", does not), with the convert receiving entry into heaven, while the person rejecting the message is condemned to hell. The endings may feature a recycled scene in which Jesus Christ (portrayed as a giant, glowing, faceless figure sitting on a throne) condemns or welcomes a character, an angel taking the believer to Heaven, and/or the non-believer meeting demons upon his/her arrival to Hell.
Several tracts include a spiritual warfare theme underlying the action (or occasionally as the main storyline itself). In these themes, the presence and actions of angels and demons manipulating or attempting to manipulate a situation is shown to the reader, but the actions are unnoticed by the human characters in the tract. The Assignment, a tract telling about the upcoming death of the main character, is an example of the use of spiritual warfare as both the main storyline and also underlying the actions of the human characters.
In some tracts (especially within the now out-of-print Bible Stories series) the entire tract may be devoted to a retelling of a Biblical story, or a framing device may be used where a regular storyline incorporates such a retelling. Tracts dealing with "false religions" may be told from a pure narrative standpoint (an example is Are Roman Catholics Christians?).
The comics are often drawn simplistically yet effectively, with dialog and thought bubbles present during conversation. Profanity is often used in the words of demons and non-Christians, obscured completely by random punctuation marks (grawlixes).
Chick tracts end with a suggested prayer for the reader to pray to accept Jesus Christ. In most of these tracts it is a standard sinner's prayer for salvation. In the tracts dealing with "false religions", the prayer includes a clause to reject these religions. Included with the prayer are directions for converting to Christianity, which is also repeated on the inside back panel along with steps to take should the reader convert to Christianity.
Strips, Toons, and Bluesies, written by Douglas Bevan Dowd and Todd Hignite, stated that "it's safe to assume Chick saw at least some" Tijuana bibles since the books and, according to Dowd and Hignite, Chick tracts were "strikingly similar" to Tijuana bibles; like Tijuana bibles the tracts mostly targeted youth of lower socioeconomic classes and "were loaded with stereotypes." The book stated that Chick tracts contained "way-out, wild" portrayals of recreational drug usage and portrayed "the sexual revolution." In addition the comics included supernatural elements, occult rituals, torture, and cannibalism.
Numerous Chick tracts have storylines presenting a conflict between Christianity (as Chick defines it) and other religions. Virtually every major world religion has at least one Chick tract devoted to it.
Chick has addressed certain Christian groups that have been labeled as "cults", such as Mormonism (The Visitors), as well as other groups or movements with which he disagrees, such as Freemasonry (That's Baphomet?) and Ecumenicalism (Four Angels?).
However, of all the major religious groups, no one group has been the subject of more of Chick's tracts and other writings than has Catholicism.
No fewer than 20 Chick tracts have Catholicism as their subject or as a major theme, including Are Roman Catholics Christians? (arguing that they are not), The Death Cookie (a polemic against the Catholic Eucharist), and Why is Mary Crying? (arguing that Mary does not support the veneration given to her by Catholicism).
Chick also expounds his anti-Catholic views in several comics and other books. Most notably, he has defended the controversial Alberto Rivera in at least one book and in an entire series of six full-length comics.
Chick also asserts that the Catholic Church, in a grand conspiracy, created Islam, Communism, Nazism, and Freemasonry.
In The New Anti-Catholicism, religious historian Philip Jenkins describes Chick tracts as promulgating "bizarre allegations of Catholic conspiracy and sexual hypocrisy" to perpetuate "anti-papal and anti-Catholic mythologies". Michael Ian Borer, a sociology professor of Furman University at the time, described 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.
Catholic Answers web published a response to the claims of Chick Publications against Roman Catholics and a criticism of Chick Tracts in general called The Nightmare World of Jack T. Chick, detailing the inaccuracies, factual errors, and how a "typical tactic in Chick tracts is to portray Catholics as being unpleasant or revolting in various ways".
Chick tracts are unequivocal and explicit in their opposition to homosexuality, and repeatedly employ two anti-homosexual themes:
- the belief that God hates homosexuality and considers it to be sinful, and
- the true nature of homosexuality is revealed in the Christian fundamentalist interpretation of the biblical Sodom and Gomorrah story.
According to Cynthia Burack, Chick's earliest anti-gay tract, The Gay Blade (originally written in 1972, revised in 1984 and now out-of-print except by special order), borrowed several of its frames from a 1971 Life Magazine photo-essay on the Gay Liberation movement, but with the images altered to make the gay men look more dissolute or stereotypically feminized.
However, critics point out that the Big Daddy tract mainly uses Kent Hovind as a reference, despite the fact that Hovind has no degrees from accredited institutions in the relevant fields, that the thesis referred to is considered to be of very poor quality, and that his claims are at odds with the published statements of experts in the field.
In fact, Big Daddy is presented in the 2007 book Evolution: what the fossils say and why it matters as a "typical of the genre" example of just how "misleading and dishonest" creationist presentations are. The examples of the "deceptive and misleading" distortions, misrepresentation, and fabrications presented in that work regarding Big Daddy are "Nebraska Man" (the misinterpretation of which was corrected after only a year and its existence was debated from the beginning), "New Guinea Man" (which is actually Homo sapiens), and the implication "Cro-Magnon" man was viewed as different from Homo sapiens. Many of these points are reiterated in the satire tract Who's Your Daddy? It attacks recapitulation theory, as if this is an integral part of current evolutionary theories, when in fact it is now rejected by biologists.
Hovind's referenced claim in Big Daddy, "It has never been against the law to teach the Bible or creation in public schools," is both misleading and false as "the U. S. Supreme Court case of Edwards v. Aguillard found that teaching Creationism alongside Evolution in the classroom was unconstitutional, violating the establishment clause."
King James Only
Chick is an ardent proponent of the King James Only movement. One entire section of his website  is devoted specifically to the topic of "Bible Versions" and includes "frequently asked questions" (the response to which in some cases is provided by KJV-Only theologian David Daniels), as well as tracts, books and DVD's available from Chick Publications on this subject.
In addition, Chick also wrote a full-length comic, Sabotage (the comic is part of Chick's Crusaders series of comics) dealing with this particular subject. Sabotage is described by theologian James R. White (an opponent of the KJV-Only movement) as "a classic rendering of King James Only propaganda", wherein the protagonist loses his faith, and becomes a "drugged-out hippie" on being told that "the Word of God is found only in the original manuscripts, and they've all been lost", only to have his faith restored by a King James Only advocate.
Furthermore, the inside back panel of each Chick tract includes a recommendation to new converts to "[r]ead your Bible (KJV) every day to get to know Christ better."
Views on Satanism and Satanic Influence
As mentioned above, the theme of spiritual warfare is portrayed within Chick tracts.
Chick considers all forms of witchcraft to be demonic, regardless of whether it is "white witchcraft" (i.e. purportedly using such gifts for good) or "black witchcraft" (i.e. purportedly using such gifts for evil). Gladys is an example of one of Chick's tracts on this issue. Consistent with his views on demonic influence, Chick also considers Halloween to be "the devil's holiday" and opposes Christians celebrating it, with one notable exception – Chick does not oppose Christians engaging in the traditional Halloween custom of passing out candy to neighborhood children, considering it to be an opportunity to present the Gospel message via his tracts (as portrayed in the tract The Little Princess, the story of a terminally-ill girl who receives a Chick tract from her neighbors on Halloween, accepts Christ and has the neighbors share the Gospel with her family, before dying later that night).
Based on Chick's views on Satanism and Satanic influence, Catholic Answers states that "Chick portrays a world full of paranoia and conspiracy where nothing is what it seems and nearly everything is a Satanic plot to lead people to hell."
Chick's claims about conspiracies are based in large part on the testimony of people who claim to have been members of these groups before converting to Evangelical Christianity, most prominently Alberto Rivera and William Schnoebelen. Many of Chick's critics consider these sources to be frauds or fantasists. One such case was "The Prophet" where the fantastic tale related by Rivera of how the papacy helped start Islam turned out to have no basis in reality.
Parodies and popular culture
Some cartoonists have published parodies of Chick tracts that mimic their familiar layout and narrative conventions. Examples include "Devil Doll?" by Daniel Clowes, Antlers Of The Damned' by Adam Thrasher, Jesus Delivers! by Jim Woodring and David Lasky, Demonic Deviltry by "Dr. Robert Ramos" (actually Justin Achilli of White Wolf Game Studios), Ploy to the World? by Chrissy Spallone, and A Patriarchy's Nightmare by Keith Mayerson.
Issue #2 of Daniel K. Raeburn's zine The Imp, which consists of a lengthy essay on Jack T. Chick's work and a concordance of terms and concepts used in his comics, has dimensions and covers that imitate a Chick tract.
The blog "Enter the Jabberwock" has a section called Chick Dissection, where the blogger takes select Chick tracts and comments on them panel by panel. Similarly, Boolean Union Studios has a section where the site creators comment on Chick tracts. The same website also features an animated version of Dark Dungeons.
Why We're Here by Fred Van Lente and Steve Ellis is a Cthulhu Mythos-themed comic that parodies Chick's visual and proselytistic style as though it were promoting the theology of a cult from one of H. P. Lovecraft's stories. Where a Chick Tract, for example, would typically insert an inter-title box containing a pertinent Biblical verse, "Why We're Here" instead references verses from the Necronomicon and other fictional Mythos-linked books. Another Cthulhu-based parody is Who Will Be Eaten First which teaches that the most we can hope for when the Elder Gods return is to be eaten first.
Galactus is Coming is a parody of Chick Tracts based on Marvel Comics' planet-eating cosmic god Galactus, published online by the website Your Mom's Basement. In it, a bunch of children ask Reed Richards of the Fantastic Four if Galactus is real and might eat the Earth one day, and Richards proceeds to explain in typical Chick fashion, only using references to classic Marvel Comics in lieu of biblical quotes. The blog entry presents the forged tract as a long-lost collaboration between Chick and Marvel Comics founding editor Stan Lee for humorous effect only.
Chick Tracts depict Paganism and Neo-Paganism as a form of Satanism. As a response to this, a comic strip in the style of a Chick Publication called The Other People was written by Oberon Zell Ravenheart of the Neo-Pagan Church of All Worlds, with art by Don Lewis, in which fundamentalist Christians ring the doorbell of a Pagan family, and get a Bible lesson from the Neo-Pagan point of view.
Big Daddy was satirized by Who's Your Daddy?, Somebody Loves You was satirized by Somebody Loves You?, and Gun Slinger was satirized by The Good, The Bad, and the Fundy by the Jack T Chick Parody Archive. At least one satire website (Jack T Chick Parody Archive) has claimed copyright claims by Chick Publications to remove parody tracts.
Lance Bangs's 2003 documentary Let America Laugh details comic David Cross and his tour of small alternative rock clubs. The chapters of the DVD are taken from the titles of Chick tracts, such as Is There Another Christ?, Gomez Is Coming and This Was Your Life. (David Cross is a self-professed atheist.)
The Hindu American Foundation put out an electronic PDF paper called Hyperlink to Hinduphobia: Online Hatred, Extremism and Bigotry Against Hindus which contains a section on Chick's site; the paper ends with the statement "Chick Publications promotes hatred not just against Hindus, but also towards Muslims, Catholics, and others as is evidenced by the following titles of their tracts: “Last Rites – When this Catholic dies, he learns that his church couldn't save him”; “The Little Bride – Protect children against being recruited as Muslims. Li'l Susy explains that only Jesus can save them”; and “Allah Had No Son – The Allah of Islam is not the God of creation" (in both these anti-Islamic tracts Allah is revealed to be a pagan moon god).
The content of That Crazy Guy! was changed after the rise of the AIDS crisis (the tract was originally about herpes). Also, the ending to The Poor Little Witch (in which a little girl is murdered by Satanists after forsaking Occultism and converting to Fundamentalist Christianity) was changed because the urban myth, which states that "every year in the U.S. at least 40,000 people... are murdered in witchcraft ceremonies" (about twice the entire reported homicide rate for the USA), turned out to be false and was removed from the tract. Chick Publications depict Paganism and Neo-Paganism as a form of Satanism, a position Neo-Pagans and other observers strongly dispute.
The Chick Publications website is blocked in Singapore. In December 2008, a Singaporean couple was charged with sedition for distributing the Chick tracts The Little Bride and Who Is Allah?, said to "to promote feelings of ill-will and hostility between Christians and Muslims in Singapore".
In October 2011, the Northview Baptist Church in Hillsboro, Ohio gave out copies of the Chick tract Mean Momma along with candy at Halloween. The tract told the story of a mother who scornfully rejects the church and refuses to fear God, only for her three children to die (one of them shown hanging himself) while a caption quotes that "the Lord gave, and the Lord hath taken away". The church received complaints from parishioners, and its pastor apologized for issuing the tracts, saying that, "Our church does not endorse this type of extreme methodology that was represented in this particular tract, and we can assure you that we will not let this happen again... our church is a loving church that loves souls and wants to do all we can in our community to help as well as spread and share the Gospel message of Christ."
- Charlie's Ants, Jack Chick, 1997.
- "Chick Publications Tracts Chick's Comics Christian Christians". Economicexpert.com. Retrieved 2013-12-02.
- "Chick tract - Definition". WordIQ.com. Retrieved 2013-12-02.
- Chapman, Roger (2010) Culture Wars: an Encyclopedia of Issues, Viewpoints, and Voices, Volume 1 M E Sharpe, p. 84
- "Company Profile:Chick Publications, Inc". Dun and Bradstreet, Inc. 2007. Retrieved 2008-02-25.
- "FAQ: Will Chick Publications publish my book?". Chick Publications, Inc. 1984–2008. Retrieved 2008-02-25.
- Bivins (2008) p. 41
- "Bad Bob!". Chick.com. Retrieved 2013-12-02.
- Jack Chick (w). The Visitors (1984)
- "Gun Slinger". Chick.com. Retrieved 2013-12-02.
- "The Assignment". Chick.com. Retrieved 2013-12-02.
- "Are Roman Catholics Christians?". Chick.com. Retrieved 2013-12-02.
- "The Nightmare World of Jack T. Chick | Catholic Answers". Catholic.com. Retrieved 2013-12-02.
- Dowd, Douglas Bevan and Todd Hignite (2006). Strips, Toons, and Bluesies. Princeton Architectural Press. p. 40.
- Jack Chick (w). Allah Had No Son (1994)
- Jack Chick (w). Camel's In the Tent (2012)
- Jack Chick (w). That's Baphomet? (2011)
- Jack Chick (w). Four Angels? (2006)
- Jack Chick (w). Are Roman Catholics Christians? (1985)
- Jack Chick (w). The Death Cookie (1988)
- Jack Chick (w). Why is Mary Crying? (1987)
- Akin, Jimmy (2008). The Nightmare World of Jack Chick. San Diego: Catholic Answers.
- Sidney Hunter. Is Alberto For Real?. ISBN 9780937958292.
- The compelling testimony of Alberto Rivera, a former Jesuit priest
- "Comic List". Chick.com. Retrieved 2013-12-02.
- Jack Chick (w). Mama's Girls (2012)
- Jenkins, Philip (2004). The New Anti-Catholicism. City: Oxford University Press, USA. p. 24. ISBN 978-0-19-517604-9.
- Borer, Michael. (2007) "Drawing Religious Battle Lines: The “Culture Wars Work” of Jack Chick’s Anti-Catholic Cartoons""Drawing Religious Battle Lines: The “Culture Wars Work” of Jack Chick’s Anti-Catholic Cartoons" paper presented at the annual meeting of the American Sociological Association, New York, New York City, Aug 11, 2007
- Borer, Michael Ian; Murphree, Adam (Winter 2008). "Framing Catholicism: Jack Chick's Anti-Catholic Cartoons and the Flexible Boundaries of the Culture Wars". Religion and American Culture 18 (1): 95–112.
- The Nightmare World of Jack T. Chick
- "The Gay Blade". Chick.com. Retrieved 2013-12-02.
- Burack, Cynthia (2008). Sin, Sex, and Democracy. Albany: State University of New York Press. pp. 33–66. ISBN 0-7914-7405-4.
- "Big Daddy?". Chick.com. Retrieved 2013-12-02.
- Moore, Randy; Decker, Mark D. (2008). More than Darwin: an Encyclopedia of the People and Places of the Evolution-Creationism Controversy. Greenwood Press. p. 56. ISBN 978-0-313-34155-7.
- Vickers, Brett (1998). "Some Questionable Creationist Credentials". Retrieved June 24, 2009.
- Bartelt, Ph.D., Foley (2001). "The Dissertation Kent Hovind Doesn't Want You to Read". Archived from the original on 2007-07-18. Retrieved June 24, 2009 (archive).
- Foley, Jim (August 31, 2001). "Fossil Hominids: Big Daddy?". talkorigins.org. Retrieved June 24, 2009.
- Fowler, Robert B. (2001). The World of Jack T. Chick. Last Gasp. pp. 2–10. ISBN 0-86719-512-6.
- Wolf, John; James S. Mellett (1985) "The role of "Nebraska man" in the creation-evolution debate" Creation/Evolution 16:31-43, National Center for Science Education
- Prothero, Donald R.; Buell, Carl Dennis (2007). Evolution: What the Fossils Say and Why It Matters. Columbia University Press. pp. 334–335. ISBN 0-231-13962-4.
- Matson, Dave E. (1994). "How Good Are Those Young-Earth Arguments? A Close Look at Dr. Hovind's List of Young-Earth Arguments and Other Claims Miscellaneous Topics". talkorigins.org. Retrieved June 24, 2009.
- Spinney, Jacob (November 2004). "A Close Look at Dr. Hovind's List of Young-Earth Arguments and Other Claims". Skeptic Report. Retrieved July 18, 2011.
- "FAQ's Concerning Bible Versions". Chick.com. Retrieved 2013-12-02.
- "Sabotage? - by Jack T. Chick". Chick.com. Retrieved 2013-12-02.
- "Comic List". Chick.com. Retrieved 2013-12-02.
- 'A Critique of the King James Only Movement', James R. White, chapter in Translation that openeth the window : reflections on the history and legacy of the King James Bible. Atlanta: Society of Biblical Literature. 2009. p. 200. ISBN 1-58983-356-2.
- "Gladys". Chick.com. Retrieved 2013-12-02.
- "The Little Princess". Chick.com. Retrieved 2013-12-02.
- "The Nightmare World of Jack T. Chick". Retrieved July 31, 2010.
- Hodapp, Christopher; Von Kannon, Alice (2008). Conspiracy Theories & Secret Societies For Dummies. For Dummies. p. 105. ISBN 0-470-18408-6.
- Camp, Gregory S. (1997). Selling fear: Conspiracy Theories and End-Times Paranoia. Baker Pub Group. p. 189. ISBN 0-8010-5721-3.
- Lewis, James R. (2001). Satanism Today: an Encyclopedia of Religion, Folklore, and Popular Culture. ABC-CLIO. p. 46. ISBN 978-1-57607-292-9.
- Jack Chick (w). The Prophet 6 (1988), Chick Publications
- Thrasher, Adam. "Antlers Of The Damned". The Jack T. Chick Parody Archive.
- "The Other People". Aquarian Tabernacle Church. 2004. Archived from the original on 2007-11-15. Retrieved June 24, 2009 (Internet Archive).
- "Active General Hate Groups". Southern Poverty Law Center. Retrieved 2011-01-13.
- Hyperlink to Hinduphobia: Online Hatred, Extremism and Bigotry Against Hindus
- "That Crazy Guy". Chick.com. Retrieved 2013-12-02.
- Monsterwax (2000). "Jack T. Chick's Museum of Fine Art REVIEW WING". Retrieved June 24, 2009.
- "The Poor Little Witch". Chick.com. Retrieved 2013-12-02.
- Homicide victimization, 1950-2005, United States Bureau of Justice Statistics, United States Department of Justice, July 11, 2007
- Tim (03/06/2008). "Homophobic Evangelical Comics, Now Available in Singapore!". Trevvy. Archived from the original on July 17, 2011.
- Chong, Elena (December 4, 2008). "Couple on sedition trial". Straits Times. Retrieved June 24, 2009.
- Chong, Elena (December 6, 2008). "No ill will intended". Aquarian Tabernacle Church. Archived from the original on December 7, 2008. Retrieved June 24, 2009.
- Mean Momma, Chick Publications.
- Wilmington (OH) News-Journal: "Pastor apologizes for pamphlet handed out to trick-or-treaters", October 31, 2011.
- Bivins, Jason (2008). Religion of Fear : the Politics of Horror in Conservative Evangelicalism. Oxford New York: Oxford University Press. ISBN 978-0-19-534081-5.
- Prothero, Donald R. (2013) Evolution: What the Fossils Say and Why It Matters ( Columbia University Press)
- Fowler, Robert (2001). The World of Chick?. San Francisco: Last Gasp. ISBN 0-86719-512-6.
- Kuersteiner, Kurt (2004). The Art of Jack Chick. Atglen, PA: Schiffer Publications Ltd. ISBN 0-7643-1892-6.
- 'Jesus was Not a Weak Fairy: Chick Tracts and the Visual Culture of Evangelical Fear', chapter in Bivins, Jason (2008). Religion of Fear : the Politics of Horror in Conservative Evangelicalism. Oxford New York: Oxford University Press. pp. 41–88. ISBN 978-0-19-534081-5.
- Colonel V. Doner Christian Jihad: Neo-Fundamentalists and the Polarization of America (Samizdat Creative, May 23, 2012)
- Chick Publications official website
- The Jack Chick Museum of Fine Art
- "God's Cartoonist: The Comic Crusade of Jack T. Chick," —Documentary film on Chick and Chick comics.
- "The Nightmare World of Jack Chick," Catholic Answers
- Critical Muslim view at www.bismikaallahuma.org
- Critical view by Freemasons