Wednesday, March 11, 2009

Jack Chick - Religious Fundamentalism at its Best!

For the most part, The Last Call is an edited reprinting of a sermon written by Charles G. Finney, heavily illustrated with thought provoking cartoons by Jack Chick, cult hero of the religious tract.

Jack Chick, for those not familiar with his work, is a fundamental Protestant Evangelical artist and publisher. Since 1970, Jack T. Chick has published over two hundred palm-sized comic books (known affectionately as Chick Tracts) written with the purpose of preaching the word of God, as well as warning innocent souls against the demonic evils that lie hidden in modern music, roleplaying games, the hippie movement, evolution theory, and homosexuality.

Jack Chick has gained a large and loyal fan base over the year. Ironically, many (if not most) Chick Tract fans don't share his views. Rather, they find his over-the-top dogmatic philosophies, myopic world view, and unintentionally humorous art downright hilarious.

The problem with The Last Call is that it is essentially two different books. If reviewing the text, then what you have is a passionate and heartfelt instructional sermon on how to organize religious revivals. There is nothing in Finney's original text worthy of being mocked or ridiculed.

On the other hand, Jack Chick's cartoons and illustrations paint a paranoid and heavy-handed picture of an oppressive world filled with boorish heathens and unwitting blasphemers. If the cover illustration, featuring a man with a pick axe attacking a large heart filled with words like 'Greed' and 'No Prayers', doesn't give you an idea of what to expect, then you need look no further than page two.

The opening comic consists of four panels. In the first panel, a mother and son stand at the door as a police officer asks them how many bibles their family owns. Dad, observing from his easy chair, thinks to himself how odd this question is. The fourth panel, after a progression of events, depicts a long shot of a religious concentration camp, in a row of people are lined up before a firing squad while a soldier asks if any of them would like to deny Jesus.

This book might only be palatable to two kinds of people; devout evangelicals looking to start up their own revival, and fanatical collectors of Jack Chick's maniacal cartoon rants. I must admit to being a fan of the latter, and so that is the only basis on which I can recommend it. Which, needless to say, I do.

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