Jack Chick died this Sunday, at age 92. The reclusive, L.A.-born cartoonist was best known for evangelical tracts that became a key point of reference for Jim Shaw, Mike Kelley, and artists of the Abject School.
In his pocket-sized religious tracts, Chick railed against feminists, scientists, Catholics, Mormons, Muslims, gays (including “Stewie” of The Family Guy), rock and roll, Christian rock, punk, Communism, role-playing games, pornography, drugs, Halloween, Harry Potter, and (especially) Satan. Chick’s tracts were so often labeled “hate speech” that this inspired a rebuttal tract (Who’s the Real Hater?)
Many Christian bookstores refused to sell Chick tracts. Yet Chick’s graphic skills are impressive; were it not for the subject matter, he would be lionized by the the comics/graphic novelist establishment.
Described as the Thomas Pynchon of Christian comics, Chick refused interviews or photographs. “I’d be thrilled to get some original Chick art,” Jim Shaw said, “but it’s probably impossible. I’ve never heard of anyone owning any.”
In Nov. 1999 Brill’s Content magazine wrote, “To some, Chick tracts are American folk art, or even a form of religious pornography, titillating and somewhat dangerous. Chick is the ultimate underground artist: single-minded and self-published, passionately committed to his message without regard for external social forces.”
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