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Jack Chick

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Jack Thomas Chick (April 13, 1924-) is an American publisher, writer and comic book creator, and has been called the most published comic book author in the world. His company, Chick Publications, claims to have sold over 750 million comic book-style tracts (known as Chick Tracts), comic books, videos, books, and posters designed to promote Protestant evangelism from a fundamentalist point of view. Many of these are controversial, as they target beliefs and cultures in what many perceive as a negative manner.

His views have been spread worldwide, mostly through the tracts and now online have been translated into more than 100 languages. As evidenced from his writings and publications, Chick is an Independent Baptist, follows a dispensational premillennialist view of the end times, and is a follower of the King James only movement.

Biography

Chick was born in the Boyle Heights section of Los Angeles, California, the first of two children of commercial artist Thomas Chick (1903–1973) and his wife Pauline (1903–1991). The family later moved to Alhambra where Chick was active in the high school drama club. Chick's official biography notes that he was not religious in high school and was in fact avoided by Christian students, who believed "he was the last guy on earth who would ever accept Jesus Christ."

After his graduation, he continued his drama education at the Pasadena Playhouse School of Theater on a two-year scholarship. In February 1943, Chick was drafted as a private in the U.S. Army. He served for three years in the Pacific theater, serving in New Guinea, Australia, the Philippines and Japan. Chick credits his time overseas with inspiring him to translate his tracts into many different languages and says he has "a special burden for missions and missionaries".

After the war, he returned to the Pasadena Playhouse and met his wife while working on a production there. Lola Lynn Priddle (1926–1998), a Canadian immigrant, came from a very religious family, and Chick's official biography describes her as "instrumental in his salvation". Priddle and her parents introduced Chick to the Charles E. Fuller radio show, the Old Fashioned Revival Hour, and Chick relates that he was converted while listening to an episode of this show. They married in 1948 and had one child, Carol, who died in 2001. In February 1998, Lola Lynn died and Chick has since remarried. In a 2005 issue of Battle Cry, Chick reported that he had suffered a heart attack while being transported to the hospital suffering from hypoglycemia. Shortly thereafter he had a triple coronary artery bypass.

Very little is known about Jack Chick; he lives a reclusive life and has given only one known professional interview since 1975. His reclusiveness created speculation in the past that he was a pen name for an unnamed author or authors. Several audio cassettes of his preaching distributed to his subscribers purport to contain his voice. He has never released a photo of himself for publication, although photos purportedly of Chick have been published by others.

Career

After converting to Christianity, Chick wanted to evangelize others, but was too shy to talk to people directly about religion. Chick heard from missionary Bob Hammond, who broadcast in Asia on the Voice of America, that the Communist Party of China had gained significant influence among ordinary Chinese in the 1950s through the distribution of small comic books. Chick also began working with a prison ministry and created a flip chart of illustrations to use with his presentation. He hit upon the idea of creating witnessing tracts, which could be given to people directly or indirectly.

While working for the AstroScience Corporation in El Monte, he self-published his first tract, Why No Revival?, with a loan from his credit union in 1960 and wrote his second tract, A Demon's Nightmare, shortly afterward. He decided to create more tracts and began "using his kitchen table as an office and art studio." Christian bookstores were reluctant to accept the tracts, but they were popular among missionaries and churches.

Chick Publications was officially established in 1970 in Rancho Cucamonga. Initially, Jack Chick wrote and illustrated all of the comics himself, but in 1972 he hired another artist to illustrate many of the tracts. Fred Carter illustrated tracts anonymously until 1980, when he was identified in an issue of Chick's newsletter Battle Cry. Carter also painted the oil paintings seen in The Light of the World, a film Chick produced that relates the Christian gospel.

The Smithsonian Institution's National Museum of American History included several Chick tracts in an exhibit on American pop culture.

Chick Publications

Chick Publications has released over twenty "Chick comics" since its founding in 1970. The first eleven form the Crusader comics series, which follows the stories of two fundamentalist Christians and addresses topics such as the occult, Bible prophecy and the theory of evolution. Six comics present the testimony of anti-Catholic activist Alberto Rivera, who claimed that, as a Jesuit priest, he had become privy to many secrets about the Roman Catholic Church. Among Rivera's claims: the Catholic Church created Islam (the "Vatican Islam conspiracy") and masterminded the 1917 Russian Revolution, and the Holocaust and started World War II. There are also three independent comics, one telling stories from the King James Version of the Bible, one relaying the claims of Charles Chiniquy regarding the Catholic Church, and one detailing Chick's opinions on Joseph Smith and the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints.

Chick Publications also distributes "Chick tracts," small comic tracts with religious messages. Over 200 have been published, and most can be viewed in their entirety on the company's website. The most popular Chick tract, "This Was Your Life," has been translated into around 100 languages, and many other tracts are available in widely spoken languages such as Arabic, German, Spanish, and Tagalog.

Chick's tracts cover subjects such as abortion, homosexuality, non-Protestant religions, the occult, rock music, politics, popular culture, J.K. Rowling's Harry Potter series and the theory of evolution, generally in a negative light. Chick believes many of the world's problems are deliberately caused by the Catholic Church. He credits the Catholic Church with founding Islam, The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints and the Jehovah's Witnesses, persecuting Jews and starting the Holocaust, and the Inquisition

Chick also claims that Satan and his demons promote the occult through New Age beliefs, Rock Music (including Christian Rock), Wicca, role-playing games like Dungeons and Dragons and the celebration of Halloween to deceive people and send them to Hell. Chick is opposed to abortion and preaches against pre-marital sex. He believes homosexuality is a sin and makes reference to the Biblical story of Sodom and Gomorrah in tracts treating homosexuality.

Chick's views have been criticized by some of the groups he targets, including Pagans and Catholic organizations. Wiccan author Kerr Cuhulain describes Chick and his theories as "anti-feminist" and "anti-Pagan," notes that a Chick Publications comic book was the source of a Rapid City police detective's presentation on the history of Satanism given in 1989, and describes him as "easily the least reputable source of reliable information on religious groups."

Many Catholic and Protestant organizations consider Chick to be anti-Catholic, based on his various claims about the Roman Catholic Church. Chick responds to these accusations by saying he is opposed to the Roman Catholic Church but not its individual members. On his "Roman Catholicism FAQ," Chick says he began publishing his theories about the Roman Catholic Church because "he loves Catholics and wants them to be saved through faith in Jesus." Catholic Answers calls Chick "savagely anti-Catholic," describes Chick's claims about the Catholic Church as "bizarre" and "often grotesque in their arguments," and calls for the tracts to be pulled from the market and corrected. In the early 1980s, Chick's stance on Catholicism led some Christian bookstores to stop stocking his tracts, and he withdrew from the Christian Booksellers Association after the association considered expelling him. Christianity Today described Jack Chick as an example of "the world of ordinary, nonlearned evangelicals," for whom "atavistic anti-Catholicism remains as colorful and unmistakable as ever."

Further reading

Fowler, Robert B. (2001). The world of Jack T. Chick: (the history of the world according to Jack T. Chick), Last Gasp, ISBN 0867195126.

Ito, Robert (2003) "To Hell With You" Independent on Sunday Jul 06, 2003

External links

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This page uses content from the English Wikipedia. The original article was at Jack T. Chick. The list of authors can be seen in the page history.

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